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General Assembly Palestinian Statehood Vote

 General Assembly Palestinian Statehood Vote - by Stephen Lendman


Earlier articles discussed it, accessed through the following links:






They explain that in 1987, Law Professor Francis Boyle was Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) legal advisor in drafting its 1988 Declaration of Independence.


In the late 1980s, he was asked, "Why should the PLO crate an independent state?" He responded, saying:


If you don't, "you will forfeit the moral right to lead your people."


The second link discusses his "CREATE THE STATE OF PALESTINE" Memorandum of Law, describing characteristics for world community recognition. Palestine easily qualifies for statehood and full de jure UN membership. 


Delay is neither wise nor right for all Palestinians who deserve it. The time to act is now, no matter how Israel and/or America will contest.


A recent article also said the following, repeated below to explain what's important to understand:


(1) Last March, Israel told UN Security Council members and other prominent EU countries it will act unilaterally if the General Assembly grants Palestine de jure membership in September inside 1967 borders, 22% of historic Palestine.


(2) If granted, Israel will likely deny recognition, continuing its illegal occupation, this time against a sovereign country. Moreover, expect it to accelerate West Bank/East Jerusalem land seizures, isolating Palestinians on smaller portions of worthless scrub land.


(3) While rhetorically favoring Palestinian statehood, Obama categorically rejects PA officials seeking it unilaterally. Instead, he wants Israel to decide its terms, size, locations and timetable. In other words, he supports Israeli veto power over Palestinian rights, including sovereignty. It's an unacceptable/illegal condition under international law.


In a White House statement, he also "emphasized that a vote at the United Nations will never create an independent Palestinian state" even though defying a two-thirds majority General Assembly affirmation is illegal.


Despite his and congressional opposition,  Washington earlier provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent nation. According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it can't reverse its position by vetoing a Security Council (SC) resolution calling for Palestine's UN admission. 


Any veto is illegal, subject to further SC action under the Charter's Chapter VI. Ultimately, the SC only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a two-thirds majority. At this time, enough support exists to get it.


Moreover, UN Charter Article 80(1) and others empower the General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood and take all necessary measures to end Israel's illegal occupation. If sovereignty is granted, it's more than ever essential to do so, holding Israel fully accountable for not complying.


Up to now, however, Washington's threatened Security Council veto prevented de jure membership, despite its illegality under international law and its pledge not to do so against any state seeking UN membership.


In fact, the General Assembly has sole authority to admit new members, not the Security Council. If Washington uses its veto as threatened, the GA can circumvent it under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution. 


Legal Opinion Believing UN Statehood Threatens Palestinian Rights


On August 24, Ma'an News said:


"The Palestinian team responsible for preparing the United Nations initiative in September (got) an independent legal opinion (warning about) risks involved with its plan to join the UN."


It claims transferring PLO representation to a newly established statehood "will terminate" its legal status held since 1975 as "the sole legitimate" Palestinian representative.


It says doing so will remove an "institution" able to represent "the inalienable rights" of all Palestinians, including diaspora/refugee ones, adding that they'll be "disenfranchise(d)," unable to return home.


Oxford University Professor of Public International Law Guy Goodwin-Gill prepared the opinion. Ma'an News said it claims that the General Assembly can't create an "actual state" under occupation, so debate should focus on whether the Security Council or General Assembly "should be asked to grant" observer status only. In fact, it already has it.


At issue now is full statehood recognition and UN membership. Only the General Assembly can grant it, not the Security Council as explained above.


Yet Goodwin-Gill believes "dramatic legal implications" for Palestinian rights aren't considered if the PLO loses its status, including:


(1) Palestinian National Charter constitutional issues, as well as others relating to the PLO and its entities.


(2) Whether "the State of Palestine (can) effectively take on the role and responsibilities of the PLO in the UN."


(3) Also issues of "popular representation."


His document says the PLO-established Palestinian Authority (PA) "has limited legislative and executive competence, limited territorial jurisdiction, and limited personal jurisdiction over Palestinians not present in the areas for which it has been accorded responsibility."


Moreover, the PA "is a subsidiary body, competent only to exercise those powers conferred on it by the Palestinian National Council. By definition, it does not have the capacity to assume greater powers."


In addition, it can't "dissolve" its parent body or claim independence from the PNC or PLO. Also, the PLO and PNC derive their legitimacy "from the fact that they represent all sectors of the displaced Palestinian people, no matter where they presently live or have refuge."


Goodwin-Gill expressed special concern for Palestinian refugees, represented by the PLO through the PNC.


"They constitute more than half of the people of Palestine, and if they are 'disenfranchised' and lose their  (UN) representation....it will not only prejudice their entitlement to equal representation....but also their ability to (air) their views, to participate in matters of national governance, including the formation and political identity of the State, and to exercise their right of return."


Former PLO representative/now Oxford University Professor Karma Nabulsi also expressed concerns, saying:


"Without question, no Palestinian will accept losing such core rights for such a limited diplomatic initiative in September. First, we will hot have liberated territory, (and by) losing the PLO as the sole legitimate (UN) representative....our people immediately lose our claims as refugees to be part of our official representation, recognized by the world."


She added that knowing the legal dangers should lead to an initiative that "will protect the status of the PLO" and rights of all Palestinians.


The PLO represents them all, not selective parts only. It also established the PA. Changes in who represents Palestinians "require an expression of the popular will and international recognition."


Assuring new rights gained in September loses no current ones is crucial she and Goodwin-Gill believe.


Supporters of Palestinian rights surely agree, including Professor Francis Boyle.


An international law/human rights law expert, his important book, "Palestine, Palestinians and International Law," covers a wealth of information, including the relevant legal history since 1987.


In an email to this writer after reading the Ma'an News article, he said:


"I have not read (Goodwin-Gill's) memo itself. But from (the Ma'an News) report, unfortunately, this lawyer is not aware of all the safeguards I built into the 15 November 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence to make sure that his doomsday scenario does not materialize."


In other words, despite Goodwin-Gill's good intentions, his fears are ill-founded as long as the PA's September bid includes all legal protections Boyle provided for them 23 years earlier.


That said, it's vital they proceed as planned. All Palestinians deserve what they've been long denied, and with enough support can get it.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



NATO's Planned Bloodbath in Tripoli

 NATO'S Planned Bloodbath In Tripoli - by Stephen Lendman


NATO intends to get the bloodbath it wants through intensified terror bombing and low-level strafing of civilians and nonmilitary sites. 


No matter that it grossly violates international and constitutional law, what Washington-led member states long ago trashed.


Through August 22, air operations included 19,877 sorties and 7,505 strike ones, with no elaboration of their intensity or deadliness. What is known is that powerful, high-explosive munitions are used, able to cause deadly force casualties and destruction.


In recent days, strikes intensified. Without them, rebels would disintegrate and collapse. Most of them are little more than ragtag mercenary hooligans, imperial tools, used for what won't benefit them.


It's largely true of all wars, especially America's waged for conquest, dominance, plunder and exploitation, never for democracy or humanitarian reasons Washington doesn't give a damn about and never did.


NATO is no different. Established in April 1949, a previous article said it calls itself a "political and military alliance for peace and security." 


In fact, it was more for offense than defense. Cold War hysteria was contrived to incite fear and assure an arms race for corporate enrichment. Napoleon once said, "Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self-interest." 


Until the Soviet Union dissolved, communism was the alleged enemy. Today it's terrorism, as bogus now as then. Both, however, were used for hugely profitable imperial wars from Korea to Libya to numerous proxy ones, as well as trillions of dollars for military readiness -  in fact, scandalous amounts in America without enemies for justification since WW II.


Strategically intervening under US control, NATO, in fact, threatens world peace and human survival. In November 2010, Robert Griffiths, general secretary of Britain's Communist Party (CPB) said:


Under NATO, "(a) global military and reconnaissance infrastructure is being created to support US, British and western European big business interests, especially energy, financial and armaments monopolies." What began "as a cold war provocation against a non-existent Soviet threat (now) invent(s) or exaggerat(es) threats from so-called failed or rogue states, Islamic fundamentalism and cyber-terrorism."


Petre Ignat, general secretary of the New Communist Party of Romania, called for NATO's disbandment, saying:


"We cannot and will not recognize such a murderous alliance, with such a horrible track record....which includes the murder of thousands of innocent civilians in places like Bosnia, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. We cannot and will not recognize an alliance which, through its aggressive policy of expanding East and setting up new military bases there, through its gross interference in other countries' internal affairs, through its gross violation of international law, can only increase the likelihood of an inter-imperialist war between Western imperialism and emerging capitalist powers, like Russia."


Its original member countries included America, the five (1948) Treaty of Brussels states (Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), Canada, Portugal, Italy, Denmark and Iceland. It's now expanded to 28 states and dozens of partners, threatening world peace and stability.


Membership, however, is a bonanza for Western and Israeli weapons industries as current members and entering states must maintain modern arsenals to state-of-the art readiness, despite no enemies except ones Washington creates to wage wars.


Today, Libya is Exhibit A for NATO lawlessness, attacking a nonbelligerent country for colonization, dominance and plunder, not liberation. Libyans resolve to resist, doing what they can despite ferocious air attacks.


On August 22, government spokesman Musa Ibrahim said Sunday casualties included 1,300 killed, another 5,000 or more wounded. Local hospitals can't keep up, yet casualties mount as street fighting continues. 


The Australian AP quoted Hugo Chavez denouncing NATO's war, saying:


Western powers are "destroying Tripoli with their bombs," while street clashes continue. He added that bombs are "falling on schools, hospitals, workplaces, and farmland."


"Let's pray to God for the Libyan people....They're practically demolishing Tripoli with their bombs" to take over another country. "It's the excuse to intervene and seize (it) and its riches."


Independent journalists on the ground are threatened and targeted. They've also been confined to their hotel, knowing exposure risks being shot by snipers. They're marked men and women, making it essential they get help to leave. It's too unsafe to stay.


In a morning email, Lizzie Phelan said:


"I am extremely exhausted, confused, a little scared, and I was feeling a little nervous about making the necessary political points (on Press TV live with this writer Monday morning) because of the present situation."


Nonetheless, she felt buoyed being on air with a friend and supporter. She called it "massively reassuring and a timely reminder amidst my exhaustion of what we are fighting for."


She also highlighted the death and injury toll. In the past two days alone, it surpassed Israel's three-week Cast Lead slaughter. Moreover, much more is likely, besides the last six months toll, ravaging populated Libyan areas without letup. 


What greater reason to indict NATO as a killing machine, a destructive US-led evil force everyone needs to understand, condemn, and struggle to abolish.


As long as this monster exists, no one anywhere is safe!


On August 21, Voltaire Network's Thierry Meyssan headlined, "NATO carnage in Tripoli," reporting on what he witnessed firsthand, saying:


On August 20, NATO launched "Operation Mermaid Dawn." 


"The Sirens were the mosque loud speakers which were used to launch Al Qaeda's call to revolt against the Gaddafi government. Immediately 'sleeper cells' went into action. Organized in small, highly mobile, groups, they carried out multiple attacks."


The overnight toll left about 350 killed, another 3,000 wounded. Early Sunday, conditions stabilized ahead of greater evening violence, supported by NATO drones, other aircraft, and "helicopters straf(ing) civilians in the streets with machine guns to clear the way for the jihadis."


Ahead of the attacks, "a NATO warship....anchored just off the shore of Tripoli, delivering heavy weapons and debarking Al Qaeda jihadi forces, which were led by NATO officers."


The Rixos hotel where Meyssan, other independent journalists, and Western ones stay came "under heavy fire." By evening, another 1,300 dead and 5,000 wounded were reported. The toll keeps mounting.


UN Resolution 1973 empowering NATO to protect Libyans, in fact, facilitated their slaughter.


Heavy fighting is reported in Tripoli. Independent journalists are threatened with death, supported by NATO and rogue Western journalists. They're known, so if exposed outside, they face execution. Mahdi Nazemroaya had a near miss. Franklin Lamb was wounded in the leg. He's OK and recovering.


Nazemroaya said he "was putting up a sign on top of (his) hotel. (He) took the initiative to do that and write 'Press' (on it) - and a sniper shot at" him.


Other than during NATO bombing and strafing, he believes Libyans will fight to defend their country. The possibility of being NATO ruled is too intolerable to accept.


It's an exploitive killing machine, wanting Libyans exploited, not liberated. At 5PM Monday Tripoli time, Franklin Lamb told Press TV that large explosions were heard nearby, likely 1,000-pound bombs, he believed.


On August 22, Nazemroaya's Global Research.ca article headlined, "Western Media Complicit in NATO's 'Humanitarian Bloodbath,' " saying:


He and other foreign journalists are trapped in their hotel "as practically all the staff and security personnel have run for their lives."


Calling the situation "critical," he expected "the next several hours (to) be decisive."


Despite ongoing intense NATO bombing and strafing civilians, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon brazenly called conditions in Libya "a hopeful moment," shamelessly calling on Gaddafi to cease fighting and surrender. 


A NATO tool, he opposes his right of self-defense, adding that he'll tried by the International Criminal Court. In fact, it's an imperial tribunal, a hanging one, convicting by accusation. At the same time, it absolves Western war criminals entirely, solely targeting their victims.


Nazemroaya said NATO's using "Yugoslavian" tactics against Libya, "bombing out military and civil infrastructure to clear the way for the rebels."


"NATO (heavy bombing and strafing) did all the work here....and their leaders must be help accountable as war criminals for killing civilians."


At the same time, Washington and its NATO partners turn a blind eye to atrocities in Bahrain, Egypt under military junta rule, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, other pro-Western rogue states, and Israel's crimes of war and against humanity against Palestinians.


Nazemroaya and other independent journalists are endangered. As a result, they need exit help to leave. Their lives are literally on the line.


He said "(t)wo of Gaddafi's sons have been arrested with some reports suggesting the leader himself is in a specialist cardiac unit in a town 14 kilometers east of (Tripoli). Following a night of chaos in the capital, crowds have gathered in the city's central square waving revolutionary flags."


On Sunday, Gaddafi appealed to Libyans to deter the rebel offensive, saying:


"It is the obligation of all Libyans. It is a question of life or death."


He's made past similar appeals. It bears observing. At most, hundreds of insurgents (as few perhaps as three or four hundred) now terrorize Tripoli because of heavy NATO support. Without it, they'd be easily routed.


The situation remains chaotic, violent and fluid. Events are fast-moving. What appears one way can shift quickly to another.


Moreover, Gaddafi isn't at issue. Libyans will decide their fate, not him, TNC turncoats, insurgents, or NATO, though a long liberation struggle may lie ahead.


Nonetheless, a shameless August 22 White House statement said:


"The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator."


In fact, if justice prevailed, Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, and other NATO war criminals would face international court prosecutions for waging war against humanity. 


Ongoing ruthlessly for over six months against Libyans alone, it rages lawlessly out of control because justice humanity cries for is denied.


Unless gotten, people everywhere won't be free. The stakes are that high.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



New York Times: Lying about Libya and Palestine

 New York Times: Lying about Libya and Palestine - by Stephen Lendman


Note: A follow-up article will continue the narrative below. Currently, events in Tripoli are fluid.


Progressive Radio News Hour contributor Mahdi Nazemroaya's overnight email said:


"NATO landed insurgents in (Tripoli) harbor. They are attacking my hotel. I almost got shot. They're still lying a lot (about claims of controlling the capital), but we are in real danger."


He's saying that armed guerrilla gangs, mercenaries, indistinguishable from (also armed) Tripoli residents, are waging street warfare. 


Russia Today reported about 1,300 deaths. No one knows for sure. However, events are fast-moving and chaotic.


On Russia Today, Nazemroaya also said heavy looting occurred, including insurgents breaking into hotel rooms and ransacking them. In addition, he said NATO WANTS A BLOODBATH.


In fact, they're getting one, exacerbated by intense terror bombing, deliberately targeting civilians.


"Myself, the Press TV journalist (Lizzie Phelan), three French nationals, the Cuban and Telesur journalists are in danger."


"One of my French colleagues was told: 'You are going to suffer the consequences of your actions for opposing the NATO war."


Sunday, on Russia Today, Nazemroaya said he was told that CNN said he personally would pay for opposing the war.




What's ongoing in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine, as well as throughout North Africa/the Middle East/Central Asia is part of a COUP D'ETAT AGAINST FREEDOM - PLANNED, ORCHESTRATED AND DIRECTED FROM WASHINGTON.


Below covers the situation through Sunday PM. The narrative aims directly at shameless New York Times propaganda.


Rather than not send out because new events alter the picture I present, I believe it's nonetheless important to do so because:


(1) The New York Times, CNN and rest of the major media are part of Washington/NATO's war against freedom.


(2) They publish or broadcast falsified pro-war reports.


(3) They shamelessly support crimes of war and against humanity.


(4) On the ground "reporters" have provided NATO with bombing coordinates.


As a result, at the risk of inaccuracies because of subsequent events, the original article written Sunday begins as follows:


There they go again. Another day, more lies, shameless ones. Their correspondents prostitute themselves daily, making street whores, pimps, and dope peddlers look respectable in comparison.


On August 19, David Kirkpatrick headlined, "Qaddafi's Hold in Tripoli in Doubt as Rebels Advance," saying:


Gaddafi's "hold on his Tripoli stronghold shows signs of slipping....Residents (believe his) flight or ouster could be imminent. Three people said the feeling of fear was ebbing in the streets," suggesting it's because they think he'll soon be gone in contrast to the vast majority of supportive Tripoli residents, besides 85% of Libyans overall.


According to Kirkpatrick, "(w)ith unexpected swiftness, the ill-trained and ill-equiped rebels....overtook Zawiyah with its enormous oil refinery, just 30 miles west of Tripoli."


He quoted an unnamed US official saying, "Qaddafi might not know what he's going to do from one day to the next."


The article discussed other advances, existing solely in the mind of the Pentagon propagandist and unnamed US official who fed Kirkpatrick this rubbish he published.


On August 20, Kareem Fahim and Kirkpatrick headlined, "Heavy Fighting Reported in Tripoli; Rebels Encircle City," saying:


"For the first time in months, witnesses in Tripoli reported heavy fighting across the capital late Saturday night, even as rebel forces claimed to have encircled the city by taking major towns to its east, west and south."


According to "rebel leader" Anwar Fekini, "We are coordinating the attacks inside, and our forces from outside are ready to enter Tripoli."


On August 21, Kareem Fahim headlined, "Libyan Rebels Pass Defense Ring Near Tripoli," saying:


"Libyan rebels advanced to within 10 miles of Tripoli on Sunday, pushing past the city's outer defense lines and vowing to combine forces with insurgents who have waged intense battles inside the city," Gaddafi's "final stronghold."


As previous articles stressed, these reports read more like bad fiction than true accounts of conditions on the ground, exposing lies about alleged rebel victories.


Stratfor Global Intelligence (SGI) offered a mixed analysis, discounting notions of Gaddafi's imminent collapse, while nonsensically suggesting nonexistent rebel "advanc(es) toward Tripoli," indicating they "may be beginning an attempt to lay siege on the Libyan capital" and claim victory.


At the same time, SGI admits a "rebel disinformation campaign....in full swing....designed to trigger an uprising from within the capital to facilitate the rebel invasion....A lot of loose talk (about) a lot of explosions in Tripoli can be expected in the meantime."


In fact, Stratfor tried having it both ways, claiming rebel victories based on "disinformation," then exposing them as lies.


A Reality Check


On August 20, Progressive Radio News contributor Mahdi Nazemroaya's Global Research.ca article headlined, "Rebel Advances on Tripoli is Media Disinformation," saying:


Rebel disinformation claims "(h)eavy gunfire and explosions" in Tripoli. By the end of August, they say a final battle to take the city could begin. Other falsified reports indicate fighting in several city neighborhoods, including Tajoura, Soug Jomaa and Arada.


In fact, besides ongoing NATO bombing, "gunfire in the Libyan capital is sporadic and disorganized." Its main purpose "is to break down the morale here and cause panic." 


"The media here at the hotel where I am staying have been part of this disinformation campaign. They just want to feed the panic here and want the regime to collapse. They are fueling and feeding this psychological war against this country." 


At the same time, Libyans overwhelmingly support Gaddafi, determined to resist efforts to oust him. New York Times and other media sources, however, never report it. Instead, they lie, doing it shamelessly and badly.


Appearing August 20 on Russia Today (RT.com), Nazemroaya confirmed sporadic gunfire only, adding:


"It's not organized, and it's meant only to break down the morale" of Tripoli residents "and cause panic....In fact, the (major) media" are a key part of the disinformation campaign.


"They're talking about airlifts. (They're) saying migratory workers want to flee Tripoli. That's not true at all. They just want to (create) panic and make the regime collapse....They want Tripoli to be in panic. That's their whole aim," also spreading other lies "to cause trauma, (and) that's the truth."


"It's NATO that's doing all the fighting" with relentless daily bombing, mostly targeting civilians, "civilian checkpoints that are mostly protected and manned by volunteers," and civilian infrastructure. 


"But when the media say insurgents are moving in, that's not correct. It's NATO that's doing all the hard work here." Except for scattered elements, rebels won't "come into Tripoli. The population (is committed) to oppose them," and well armed by Gaddafi to do it.


"This is a NATO operation," controlling everything, rebels taking orders from them. Reporters are giving bombing coordinates to NATO, including civilian checkpoints, hospitals, and other nonmilitary targets to terrorize Libyans into submission. 


"The media here are part of the war machine."


Also appearing August 20 on RT, Franklin Lamb said he just returned from traveling all around Tripoli. "There's no heavy fighting" as falsely reported. "There is sporadic bombing every hour" or so, and some anti-aircraft fire. "It's clear that the rebels are not here....Now it's very quiet." Claiming rebels are there "is nonsense."


On the same day, independent journalist Lizzie Phelan told RT:


Tripoli gunfire and fireworks now heard is celebratory among Gaddafi supporters, not falsified claims of rebel attacks. 


Earlier there were some scattered rebel fighters in the city, perhaps sleeper cells awaiting orders. Libya's government calls them gangs. "They've now been cleared out of the city, captured and arrested."


"The only explosions (heard are) from NATO bombing and sound bombs to create a sense of panic....Now what we're hearing happened earlier today is that the rebels (by) their own media, their own channels, including Al Jazeera at the center of the media conspiracy, is that they created some fake footage inside Zawiya, claiming they're (there) and in Tripoli."


It was done to create panic. Scattered rebel gangs began firing and threatening people, saying they'd be assassinated if they didn't join them.


Other "armed Libyans came out to defend their capital." Control was reestablished. Now people are out because they feel safe again, showing relief with fireworks and celebratory gunfire, ready to resist other rebel attacks if they come.


Gaddafi also spoke live by phone, insisting he's alive, well, and inside the country. Moreover, "NATO isn't having any successes on the ground, so (their only recourse) is to fabricate them by (media lies) to convince the Security Council and most people that the war is worthwhile."


Since the beginning of the conflict, "people have been armed to the teeth," using weapons Gaddafi supplied. They're "ready to defend their capital and country, and stand by their leader Muammar Gaddafi."


They understand the unacceptable alternative. As a result, they're committed to fight to prevent it.


Phalen's Sunday report said scattered fighting continues. In other words, rebel pockets claim advances not made, solely for media-spread propaganda purposes to incite panic in Tripoli. 


Residents are too smart to buy it. Well-armed and committed, they're ready to defend their city and country, unwilling to surrender to NATO, rebel cutthroats, and media liars.


Suppressing Information about Israel's Crimes


On August 20, Times writers Isabel Kershner and Fares Akram headlined, "Casualties on Both Sides as Israel and Gaza Trade Fire," saying:


"Palestinian militants from Gaza fired rockets at cities deep inside Israeli territory on Saturday, killing one person. And Israel struck a squad that was firing mortars from northern Gaza as violence continued in the wake of an attack on Thursday that killed eight Israelis, Israeli officials said."


Instead of explaining what's really ongoing, both writers suggested Palestinians are at fault, responsible for killing Israelis, when, in fact, they had nothing to do with it. 


As a result, they implied support for Israel's right to respond violently, saying nothing about its plan to assassinate Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) leaders, willfully target civilians and nonmilitary infrastructure, and perhaps continue relentless attacks.




To derail Palestinian UN General Assembly efforts for self-determination and de jure member status.


End weeks of nationwide protests for social justice issues Netanyahu won't address.


Perhaps also prevent a possible Palestinian spring and provide pretext for Cast Lead II.


Both writers, in fact, steered clear of Israeli motives, said little about Palestinian casualties, nothing about years of Gaza under siege, Israel's planned slow-motion genocide, nor explain extreme human suffering too severe to ignore.


Instead, they changed the subject, covering IDF attacks against "Hamas training facilities, weapons manufacturing sites, smugglers' tunnels, and rocket and mortar teams preparing to attack," ending their brief report, saying:


"Some 50 rockets have been fired at Israel since Thursday. (Saturday) evening, a rocket that hit a house in Ofakim wounded three, including an infant and a child."


Implied was that only Israeli casualties matter, not horrific ones inflicted regularly on Palestinians.


Not only do Times writers lie, they airbrush uncomfortable truths about Washington and Israeli crimes, betraying their readers and profession in the process.


A Final Comment


Judith Miller's fall from grace taught Times correspondents nothing. Like her, they're again in full battle mode, scamming their readers by publishing Pentagon press releases, not accurate reports, disgracing themselves in the process.


And if Times reports proliferate lies, imagine what other media sources provide, especially US television news and information. It's little more than a bottomless profane sinkhole of worthlessness. 


Tune it out, avoid it, and prevent a bad aftertaste and self-flagellation.


Instead, stay informed. Spread the truth and act on it responsibly.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Palestinian Right of Self-Defense

 Palestinian Right of Self-Defense - by Stephen Lendman


Repeatedly, Israel preemptively bombs, shells, and inflicts other forms of lawless violence on Gazans, bogusly claiming self-defense. 


When they respond, Israel calls it terrorism, claiming justification for greater attacks in "self-defense," what international law prohibits.


In fact, UN Charter Article 2(4) says:


"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."


Only two exceptions apply. Under Chapter VII, the Security Council may authorize force to restore peace. Individual states must abide by Chapter VII, Article 51 stating:


"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security."


In addition, individual states may use defensive force against armed attacks until the Security Council acts. No other exceptions apply, including armed reprisals. Calling them unlawful, the General Assembly said all states must refrain from using them.


The right of self-defense is limited solely to deterring armed attacks, preventing future ones after initial assaults, or reversing the consequences of enemy aggression, such as ending an illegal occupation.


Even then, however, force must conform to the principles of necessity, distinction, and proportionality. 


Necessity permits only attacking military targets. 


Distinction pertains to distinguishing between civilian and military ones. 


Proportionality prohibits disproportionate force likely to damage nonmilitary sites and/or harm civilian lives.


Moreover, a fourth consideration requires preventing unnecessary suffering, especially affecting noncombatant civilians.  


If these objective aren't possible, attacks are prohibited.


Moreover, to a limited degree, anticipatory self-defense is permitted when compelling evidence shows likely imminent threats or further attacks after initial ones. 


However, attackers bear burden of proof responsibility, most often failing the test as America always did post-WW II. Israel also, without exception, since its preemptive 1947-48 "war of independence." 


In fact, it was naked aggression against another country, stealing 78% of it from its citizens, the UN's 1947 Partition Plan notwithstanding, granting 56% of historic Palestine to Jews, as well as designating Jerusalem an international city under a UN Trusteeship Council.


The UN Charter also explains under what conditions intervention, violence and coercion are justified. None exist in Palestine now or ever. Claiming an "inherent right" is also bogus under international law.


In addition, Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlements of international disputes, not preemptive attacks. Article 2(4), in fact, prohibits force or its threatened use, including violent interventions of any kind.


Further, Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit instigating any unilateral or other external threat or use of force not specifically allowed under Article 51 or otherwise authorized by the Security Council. Doing so is naked aggression.


America and Israel are serial offenders. In response, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Libyans, Somalis, Yemenis, and Palestinians may legally respond defensively to preemptive armed aggression.


When done, however, it's called terrorism. Aggressors make their own rules. Targeted states are doubly victimized, suffering armed attack effects, then vilified for defending themselves. It amounts to a shocking damned if you do or don't fate.


Lawless Israeli Aggression


Since August 18, Israel lawlessly bombed and shelled Gaza preemptively, falsely blaming Palestinians for multiple Israeli attacks. In fact, they bear classic false flag characteristics, notably because compelling reasons existed to launch them.


Ongoing for four days, mounting casualties include 19 Palestinians dead and 50 or more injured, mostly civilians in harms way or willfully targeted to inflict pain and suffering.


Besides violating UN Charter Article 51, Israel also defiled Fourth Geneva's Article 33 stating:


"No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited....Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited."


No matter. Israel willfully violates this and other international law provisions, committing preemptive armed aggression against Palestinian civilians, including using illegal weapons.


On August 19, The Palestine Monitor headlined, "Attacks on Gaza continue: 'I've never seen shrapnel wounds like this before," saying:


On Friday night alone, over a dozen air attacks struck multiple Gaza sites, including a civilian car, killing a family of three - a doctor, his five-year old son and others.


Media coordinator for Gaza's medical service, Adham Abu Salmiya, said Israel is using new kinds of weapons. Doctors reported unusual injuries, resulting in increased amputations.


Maha Elbanna, a Gaza City based Palestinian/American journalist noted images of wounded victims looking especially gruesome, saying:


"There is a picture of a teenage girl with shrapnel cuts in her face that are very deep, like I've never seen before. I have seen shrapnel wounds before and these are very strange."


In fact, weapons used may be high explosive Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) ones made out of a tungsten alloy. Used during Cast Lead, they have enormous explosive power, enough to cut people struck to pieces. 


In 2006, they were first used in Lebanon and Gaza. They not only kill and mutilate, their toxins cause a long-term cancer threat.


Flechette munitions possibly also were used - 4cm-long darts used as anti-personnel weapons. They penetrate to the bone, causing multiple horrific injuries. Up to 8,000 can be packed into one artillery shell. After exploding, they travel at high speed in multiple directions up to around 300 meters.


DIME and flechette munitions are terror weapons, violating the letter and spirit of international law.


Albanna added that "(t)here is so much damage across Gaza - in the north, south and in Gaza City....So far, there is no evidence that anyone in Gaza is responsible for what happened."


Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Palestinian National Initiative Secretary-General said:


"This is a campaign that is turning into a massacre and civilian areas are targeted."


Among other nonmilitary targets, Israelis struck a concrete factory, gravely injuring two civilians. Barghouthi and Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) doctors called on the international community to demand an immediate cease fire.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas requested a special Security Council session to stop Israel's naked aggression.


In response, Gazans launched Qassam and Grad rockets as well as mortars, hardly an adequate defense against F-16s, Apache helicopter gunships, tanks and other high-tech weapons, ones Israel uses lawlessly  against civilians. 


On August 20, Haaretz said a Be'er Sheva home was struck Saturday night, causing one death and four injuries. 


Another rocket slightly wounded two children. In total since Thursday evening, dozens of Qassam and Grad rockets, as well as numerous mortar rounds were fired at southern Israel, wounding about 16 Israelis. Areas in and around Be'er Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Eshkol and Sha'ar Hanegev were struck. Casualties and damage caused hardly compared to what Israel inflicted on Gaza, taking an enormous toll as always.


More was inflicted Sunday when Israel struck Beit Lahia, injuring seven Palestinians, besides causing extensive damage from four days of attacks, more perhaps to come.


On August 21, Haaretz said eight senior Israeli cabinet ministers met Saturday night to discuss escalated attacks on Gaza. Cast Lead II perhaps?


Also on August 21, opposition Kadima MKs demanded Israel "launch a (large-scale) military campaign" against Gaza. 


MK Shaul Mofaz (former Defense Minister and IDF Chief of General Staff) said steps must be taken to "topple (Hamas') infrastructures and create a system of ties with Egypt in order to prevent terrorism coming from its border."


In other words, when in doubt, attack. Perhaps Cast Lead II indeed. Considering Israel's horrific crimes of war and humanity last time, imagine what now may be planned.


No matter. World leaders remain silent. As usual, an August 18 White House Press statement blamed Palestinian victims the way Obama wrongfully condemned Gaddafi to justify lawless US/NATO aggression. 


On August 21, Haaretz writer Yossi Sarid headlined, "Israel is isolating itself from all its Mideast allies," saying:


Israel lashed out indiscriminately, blaming everyone but itself. "Hamas is to blame because it is reponsible for everything (in) Gaza." So is Islamic Jihad. "(I)t's the (PA's) fault because it agreed (to) unite with Hamas (for) a joint government. Al Qaeda is the guilty party because" it's everywhere, "and Egypt, too, bears responsibility" because they haven't acted against "terror."


Israel's capacity for making enemies may ultimately be its undoing, leaving it isolated and reviled. For its many victims, it can't happen a moment too soon.


A Final Comment


Some good news and bad. First the bad. On August 20, Israeli forces invaded Hebron, breaking into dozens of homes, searching and damaging them, as well as arresting about 120 residents, mostly Hamas political leaders and supporters.


Now the good. On August 21, Haaretz writer Hila Raz headlined, "Israeli activists: Social protests must continue despite escalation of" violence, saying:


"Despite the escalation of violence in the south, the tent protesters are determined to keep fighting for social justice, said organizers over the weekend."


Tel Aviv protest leader Stav Shafir said:


"We'll need to find new and creative ways to protest. For many years, Israeli society got used to giving in due to security issues....Because the protest is so strong, fierce, and affects all layers of society, we understand that if we don't continue, things will be worse."


Indeed so. As a result, staying the course is crucial to have any hope for success. National Student Union leader Itzik Shmueli said:


"The goal is to get the government to fix matters such as health care, education and housing....There's no reason for the protests to die out. We have a very powerful weapon on our side - the truth."


Hopefully that spirit won't wane despite Israel's objective to crush it. In fact, it was present Saturday night, YNet News saying Tel Aviv "protesters march(ed) under red banners....chanting time-honored slogans from the oeuvre of the pacifist hard Left." They included:


"Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies."


"We demand social justice in both Israel and the Territories."


"Let us live in dignity in both Gaza and Ashdod," and


"No to another war that will bury the protest."


Imagine that spirit inspiring all Israelis. It's already present in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, so why not throughout all Eretz Yisrael.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Another Israeli False Flag?

 Another Israeli False Flag? - by Stephen Lendman


Mossad and Shin Bet (Israel's Security Agency) have  long, odious histories of committing them. More on that below. 


At issue now is whether the August 18 bus and other attacks inside Israel were committed by external elements or Israel, and if so, why?


Also at issue always is cui bono? In fact, Hamas and various Palestinian resistance groups have nothing to gain. Clearly Israel benefits greatly at least two ways:


(1) The upcoming September UN General Assembly vote on Palestinian self-determination Israel very much wants to derail.


(2) Weeks of nationwide internal social justice protests Netanyahu also wants to diffuse and end.


Both are compelling reasons for employing tried and true tactics - change the subject by diverting public attention. 


In this case, scaring people enough to put safety above pocket book issues, as well as getting UN member states perhaps to rethink the wisdom of supporting Palestinian sovereignty at this time, with Israel allegedly under attack.


Whether it works will be known when the UN General Assembly meets in September. What's clear is that last March, Israel informed all Security Council members and prominent EU countries that if Palestinian self-determination efforts within 1967 borders persisted, unilateral Israeli steps would follow, implying harsh ones.


In addition, diffusing social justice protests temporarily worked based on an August 18 Reuters report, saying:


Campaigners "called off planned weekend demonstrations against the high cost of living after a series of terror attacks in the south left seven people dead."


Of concern is how to reignite protest energy after it wanes, even for a short time. Resumption often lacks initial levels of passion, mass support, and commitment to stay the course, especially when people have other daily priorities, besides worrying whether their country is under attack.


Add it up and it suggests classic false flag reasons, perhaps with planned follow-up attacks for reinforcement. They're likely if Israel also has another objective in mind - using the attacks as pretext for Cast Lead II.


Israel blamed the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees (PRC - a coalition of resistance factions) for launching internal attacks. 


PRC spokesman Abu Mujahid told AFP:


"We salute (the operation) and we are proud of it, but we do not claim it. The occupation wants to pin (it) on us in order to escape its own internal problems."


Hamas also denied responsibility, spokesman Taher al-Nunu telling AFP:


"These (unfounded) accusations are an attempt to distract from the Israeli domestic crisis."


As expected, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak pointed fingers, despite no corroborating evidence, saying:


"The source of the terror incidents is Gaza and we will act against them with all our strength and determination."


Also as expected, New York Times coverage was pro-Israeli. On August 19, Heba Afify and Isabel Kershner headlined, "A Long Peace Is Threatened in Israel Attack," saying:


"A cross-border terrorist attack and an Israeli retaliation (threatened) to undermine" peace with Egypt, with no evidence, except rhetoric, to suggest either.


Afify and Kershner implied Israel was right, saying "attackers were Palestinians from Gaza who had crossed into Israel from the Egyptian Sinai, an assertion Egypt rejected."


Based on no evidence whatever, Israel's scripted story is that Gaza-based "terror" operations "began weeks" earlier, likely "involv(ing) 10 to 15 terrorists," entering Israel "with rifles, explosive belts, grenades, (and) heavier weapons."


Yet Times writers didn't question how they managed unspotted, given tight Israeli security and high-tech surveillance, assassinating children and farmers on the slightest pretext.


As for a "long peace," there's been none for decades. Daily, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and other human rights organizations document regular Israeli bombings, shellings, Cast Lead, Mavi Marmara and other massacres, shootings, targeted assassinations, other attacks, casualties, incursions, Gaza under siege, mass arrests, illegal settlement expansions, bulldozed homes, theft of Palestinian land, dispossessions, and overall Israeli lawlessness - enforcing militarized hell on Palestinians, not peace.


On August 19, PCHR discussed Israel's response to internal August 18 attacks, saying:


Israeli forces "launched a series of air attacks against civilian-populated areas in the Gaza Strip," including "extra-judicially executing Kamal al-Nairab, Secretary General of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), 4 PRC leaders and a two-year old child...."


Other strikes injured 23 Palestinians, including seven children, six women and three police officers.


On August 20, various news agencies said Israeli air attacks and shelling raised the death toll to 16 and counting. In response, Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades armed wing suspended its unilateral ceasefire, a spokesman saying:


"There can be no truce with the Israeli occupation while it commits massacres against the Palestinian people without justification."


In fact, blaming victims, lawlessness, violence, crimes of war and against humanity, collective punishment, intimidation, attacking unarmed civilians, and overall brutality are Israeli specialties. Combined, they define a rogue state, defiant of international law principles, pursuing its own interests extrajudicially, and getting away with it.


Gazans now worry about a possible Cast Lead II, Israel using perhaps false flag attacks as pretext to launch it. Again, it's the oldest trick in the book, Israel expert at it like America.


Previous Israeli Targeted Assassinations and False Flags


An Israeli specialty, they began well before 1948 during the Mandatory Palestine period when Jewish terrorist groups targeted Jews, Brits and Arabs. Involved were paramilitary Hagana members, Irgun headed by future prime minister Menachem Begin, and Lehi (also called the Stern Gang) led by another future prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir. They were rogue killers before entering politics. 


In November 1944, Lehi assassinated Lord Moyne, Britain's Middle East minister of state, near his home in Cairo. 


In September 1948, it also killed UN mediator Folke Bernadotte in Jerusalem, five months after Israel was established. Yitzhak Shamir personally approved the assassination.


In July 1946, Irgun bombed the King David Hotel, massacring 92 Brits, Arabs and Jews, wounding 58 others, an operation future prime minister David Ben-Gurion approved as head of the Jewish Agency at the time.


Before and after May 1948, many thousands of targeted killings occurred or were attempted, most little remembered today except among relatives and their descendants. 


Little wonder Israel's history is so bloodstained, involving individual and mass killings, including on April 9, 1948 (during Israel's "war of independence") when Irgun, Lehi and complicit terrorists slaughtered well over 120 Palestinian men, women and children in the bloody Deir Yassin village massacre. On April 14, The New York Times reported 254 killed.


Post-1948, Palestinian supporters were targeted regionally and in Europe. Waves of successful and attempted assassinations occurred, notably against high-profile figures. 


In 1954, Israeli agents in Egypt planted bombs in various buildings, including US and UK facilities, using evidence to implicate Arabs. The so-called Lavon Affair failed when a device prematurely detonated, letting Egyptians capture and identify one of the bombers. In turn, it led to rounding up an Israeli spy ring.


More recently, Hamas member Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed in Dubai after two earlier failed attempts. Abu-Dhabi's the National reported he was poisoned, drugged, and suffocated after previously surviving a failed shooting. Found dead in a Dubai hotel on January 20, 2010, police accused Mossad of murder.


Earlier incidents included Palestinians Abdel Wael Zwaiter, shot 11 times by Israeli agents in Rome after returning home from dinner. It was the first of dozens of retaliatory assassinations against persons suspected of involvement in the 1972 Munich summer Olympic killings of Israeli athletes, coaches and officials, allegedly by Black September members, a resistance, not a terrorist organization.


On June 14, 1980, Yahia El Meshad, then head of Iraq's nuclear program, was found bludgeoned to death in his Paris hotel room. No one was arrested, but French authorities named Israeli intelligence.


On August 20, 1983, Mamoun Meraish was shot and killed while driving in Athens. Israeli agents were blamed.


During the 1970s and 1980s, Mossad was implicated in numerous Beirut and other car bombings, one of its specialities.


On January 6, 2007, Haaretz reported that newly released British documents claim Shin Bet collaborated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in the hijacking of Air France 139 from Israel, diverted to Entebbe, Uganda.


Arab terrorists were falsely blamed. Elite Israeli commandos led by Yonatan Netanyahu, Bibi's older brother, became instant heros for their "miraculous" rescue. An unnamed UK diplomat blamed Israel, saying: 


"The operation was designed to torpedo the PLO's standing in France and to prevent what (was seen as) growing rapprochement between the PLO and the Americans."


British diplomat DH Colvin included information in the document that Israel and the PFLP collaborated. Haaretz said it "was written on June 30, 1976, three days after the hijacking and prior to the rescue operation."


On September 25, 1997, two Mossad agents with forged Canadian passports attacked Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Jordan, spraying him with an unknown poison. He survived and recovered to explain.


In January 2002, a car bomb killed former Lebanese cabinet minister Elie Hobeika and three bodyguards. In 1982, he was involved in the infamous Sabra and Shatilla camp massacres. Days before his assassination, he expressed willingness to implicate then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon's direct role. Clearly, Mossad killed him to prevent it.


In May 2002, Mossad murdered Mohammed Jihad Jibril, son of Ahmed Jibril, founder and head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).


In August 2003, Mossad assassinated Ali Hassan Saheh, Hezbollah's top security officer. Prime Minister Sharon ordered Meir Dagan, its head until January 1, 2011, to conduct assassinations abroad. 


No explanation is needed for why Mossad exists. It functions as a de facto Murder, Inc. within or outside Israel, making Mafia families seem benign by comparison.


From 2002 - 2006, it was responsible for numerous car bombings, killing Hezbollah, Hamas, and other officials regionally.


On February 12, 2008, a car bomb killed Hezbollah member Imad Hugniyeh in Damascus. Mossad again was responsible.


On August 1, 2008, it killed Muhammad Suleiman, a Syrian army officer close to President Bashar al-Assad, shot by snipers offshore near his vacation villa.


Rafik Hariri's Assassination


On February 14, 2005, compelling visual and audio evidence revealed real time intercepted Israel aerial surveillance footage of routes former Prime Minister Hariri used on the day his motorcade was attacked. Clearly, Israel was involved.


Washington blamed Syria. Assad denied responsibility. Hezbollah was later falsely named. It was a typical Mossad assassination though no one at the time knew for sure. The blast ripped a 30 foot crater in the street, injuring over 100 besides those killed.


An International Court of Justice (ICC) Special Tribunal (STL) investigated Hariri's killing. On January 17, its sealed indictment was released, Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare saying the next day that the confidential document was important for the people of Lebanon, the international community, and "for those who believe in international justice."


On June 30, arrest warrants for four Hezbollah members were issued. None were detained. At the time, Hezbollah said no arrests would be made, calling the tribunal a Washington/Israeli manipulated sham, covering up a classic Mossad operation.


On August 17, the 47-page indictment was released, holding Hezbollah members responsible based on falsified evidence. Those named include Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra. Badreddine was called the mission head. 


No evidence proves it or that others named were involved. Clearly, Hezbollah had nothing to gain from the assassination but plenty to lose if, in fact, responsible.


A Final Comment


Later evidence may prove one way or the other whether Israel staged the multiple August 18 attacks. It has much to gain by doing so. Hamas, PFLP, and other Palestinians, however, have everything to lose, so why risk involvement? No advantage comes to mind.


In contrast, Israel has compelling reasons as explained above and may succeed precisely as planned. In fact, if Cast Lead II is intended, a trifecta of successes may follow. Palestinians and working Israelis, however, will suffer enormous defeats.


As a result, public awareness of what's at stake is essential to derail Israel's latest scheme. Failure to do so is an unacceptable option.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Falsified New York Times Middle East Reports

 Falsified New York Times Middle East Reports - by Stephen Lendman


They appear daily like weeds on all topics. As a result, Times reports aren't fit to read, let alone print. August 18 was no exception, publishing lies about Libyan insurgent victories. 


On August 18, headlining, "Libyan Rebels Gain Control of Oil Refinery as Qaddafi Forces Flee," Kareem Fahim's article was pure Pentagon propaganda, duplicitously lying to readers. 


Yet he said "(r)ebel fighters claimed complete control of a sprawling (Zawiyah) oil refinery, seizing one of (Gaddafi's) most important assets after just three days of fighting and delivering the latest in a string of small victories that have suddenly put the rebels at Tripoli's door."


Reporting from Tripoli, independent Middle East/Central Asian analyst, Mahdi Nazemroaya refuted him, telling Progressive Radio News Hour listeners that:


-- Gaddafi forces are winning;


-- rebels are in disarray;


-- the so-called National Transitional Council (NTC) is falling apart;


-- Misrata was liberated from rebels;


-- Tripoli is peaceful and calm, despite daily NATO bombing, willfully targeting civilians and nonmilitary  sites;


-- scattered fighting continues along routes to Tunisia and elsewhere;


-- arteries between the two countries remain open;


-- Intense Western propaganda wants to intimidate Gaddafi supporters to give up hope of prevailing;


-- it's had the opposite effect, in fact, galvanizing Libyans overwhelmingly behind Gaddafi, making him by far the most popular African/Middle East leader; and


-- his forces control Gheryan, Sorman, Sabratha, and Zawiyah, its oil refinery and others; reports saying otherwise are lies; rebels are south of the city, not in it.


In an August 18 morning email, he added:


"Nothing has changed thus far. There is fighting in the area, but (rebels) do not have control. Bombings over Tripoli are very bad though."


As part of NATO's intimidation campaign, they continue daily, inflicting pain and suffering on Libyans unrelated to military necessity. As a result, they're war crimes, what Times and other major media sources won't explain.


Moreover, in times of war, the first casualty is duplicitous reporting, journalists lying for a living, prostituting themselves for a buck.


Daily The New York Times lies. So do other Western broadsheets, magazines, US television, the BBC, National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting, and other mainsteam sources, showing their managed news lacks credibility.


For example, Fahim falsely claimed:


-- Gaddafi forces "mounted (no) forceful counterattack;"


-- signs indicate that the conflict "reached a critical moment, if not its final stage;"


-- "the vital highway from Tunisia to Tripoli has remained closed, controlled by rebels;"


-- thousands of refugees flee Tripoli daily to escape "mounting hardships" and "be safer in rebel-held areas;"


-- rebels show increasing confidence;


-- morale among Gaddafi forces is near collapse;


-- daily defectors joins rebels; and


-- rebels now control former Gaddafi held cities.


In fact, his article reads more like bad fiction than news. Independent reports refute him and others, including about other Gaddafi held cities claimed in rebel hands.


On August 17, writers Susan Lindauer and Joanne Moriarty headlined, "Libya: Gadhaffi Retakes Key Towns," saying:


"Is Gadhaffi losing? Au contraire. In total contradiction to the propaganda push on CNN (and other Pentagon mouthpieces, independent) sources inside Libya say" Gaddafi, not rebels, is prevailing.


In fact, pockets of insurgents are in all these areas, but they're "isolated and surrounded by the Libyan army." In addition, most tribes, including major ones "are fighting with Gaddafi" against rebels.


His forces are motivated, not demoralized, as falsified reports claim. 


On August 17, Scott Taylor's Chronicle Herald article headlined, "Gadhafi Support Soars Amid NATO Bombing," saying:


Libya's insurgency "has been more of a media war than a full-scale armed clash." In fact, despite an embargo, sea blockade, theft of Gaddafi's assets, and ferocious daily bombing, "the ragtag collection of fractious" rebels haven't managed "to make any serious headway against Gadhafi loyalists," let alone topple him.


His overwhelming popularity is key, polls showing it about 85%. Moreover, over 2,000 of Libya's 2,335 tribes support him, including the largest ones. 


At the same time, Libyans revile NATO and cutthroat rebels with good reason. They're destroying, not liberating Libya for well understood imperial reasons. As a result, popular sentiment is determined to resist.


On August 16, the Mossad connected DEBKAfile headlined, "Libyan rebel 'gains' smokescreen for talks in Tunisia to end war," saying:


Claims about rebel advances and Gaddafi forces near collapse are pure propaganda, not facts because government and TNC representatives "have been meeting in semi-secrecy on the Tunisian island of Djerba...."


Fighting on the ground has been "tailing off and morphing into direct talks between the two" sides.


DEBKA sources explained "a step-by-step" process, involving Gaddafi yielding power in stages to a new government to include top positions for his sons, key loyalists, supportive tribes, and TNC turncoats. In addition, Gaddafi will remain in Libya, his personal safety guaranteed.


DEBKA also confirmed independent reports that TNC "leadership is being torn apart by infighting," especially after its field commander, Gen. Abdel Fatah Younis was assassinated.


"By broadcasting false reports of victories, such as the conquest of....Brega (Zawiyah, and other Gaddifi held cities), the rebels hope to cover up their internal disputes and inability to win the war, while at the same time (hoping falsified victories will be) bargaining chips for the negotiations."


The only so-called rebel gains, in fact, were made by "Berger tribes (that) reject any ties whatsoever with" insurgent forces.


Clearly, the scripted media victory claims are pure Pentagon propaganda - ball-faced lies with no credibility whatsoever. Reporters, commentators, and editorial writers regurgitating them function solely as imperial tools, disgracing their profession in the process.


A Final Comment


Misreporting on Syria matches Libya propaganda. On August 18, New York Times writer Steven Lee Myers headlined, "US and Allies Say Syria Leader Must Step Down," saying:


Obama and other Western leaders "called on Syria's Bashar al-Assad to give up power." Obama also froze "all Syrian assets within American jurisdiction, banned imports of Syrian oil and barred American citizens from having any business dealings with the Syrian government...."


In addition, he called on other countries to impose similar sanctions.


An August 18 White House Office of the Press Secretary statement was propaganda rubbish, saying:


"The United States has been inspired by the Syrian peoples' pursuit of a peaceful transition to democracy. They have braved ferocious brutality at the hands of their government. They have spoken with their 'peaceful' marches, their 'silent' shaming of the Syrian regime, and their courageous persistence....For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step down."


Aside from the audacity of demanding regime change anywhere, as well as imposing sanctions harming civilians, not government officials, the entire statement falsified what's been ongoing in Syria for months. 


A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:




More on it below.


An August 18 Times editorial headlined, "Truth About Syria," saying:


"It took too long, but (Obama) finally - and unequivocally - called for (Assad) to step down and end his murderous war against the Syrian people....Any fantasies that Mr. Assad is a guarantor of Syrian stability or could lead a peaceful transition have been rightly jettisoned."


Even Saudi and Bahrain despots can't "stomach (h)is killing spree...."


Expecting truth on New York Times pages is like imagining a progressive awakening in Washington, Republicans and Democrats renouncing imperial wars, holding past and current culpable officials accountable, nationalizing the Federal Reserve, breaking up too-big-to fail banks, and prosecuting Wall Street and other corporate kleptocrats, confiscating their stolen assets for starters.


The above linked article compared events ongoing in Syria to what began in Libya, pitting imperial powers against ruling governments for destabilization and control. In Libya, it's by war for regime change, colonization and plunder. In Syria, it's to establish another client state, no matter who heads it.


Clear evidence shows armed non-Syrian insurgents responsible for much violence, killing civilians and security forces. Western media, European leaders, and complicit regional ones falsely blame Assad, despite legitimate nonviolent opposition to his regime. They, in fact, are caught between hostile sides.


On August 6, Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper said government security forces foiled an attempt to ship large quantities of arms to Syrian insurgents, including high-quality Kalashnikov and M-16 rifles. Suppliers were arrested after delivering them to a Beirut neighborhood.


On August 8, Lebanon's As-Safir newspaper quoted a security official, saying:


"The recently foiled operation is still under investigation, and there has been highly significant information gleaned from those involved who are affiliated with a prominent tendency in the March 14 alliance. This is not the only operation that they have carried out."


March 14 is the anti-Hezbollah/anti-Syrian Saad al-Hariri-led alliance, son of assassinated Rafik Hariri in February 2005, a Mossad operation falsely blamed on Hezbollah.


Washington, Israel, and Saudi Arabia back March 14. Seizing arms for Syrian insurgents provide more evidence of imperial efforts to destabilize Assad's government, replacing it with a pro-Western one, controlled by America.


According to DEBKAfile and Israeli intelligence, internal anti-Assad elements also have or will get heavier weapons, including machine guns, mortars, anti-tank and air rockets. Syria's army also said hundreds of Islamist Salafi fighters were detained, including Afghans.


On August 16, Michel Chossudovsky's Global Research.ca article headlined, "The Pentagon's 'Salvador Option:' The Deployment of Death Squads in Iraq and Syria," saying:


Turkish troops may intervene in Syria. A broader military confrontation may result, and "(i)n recent developments, Islamist death squads have penetrated the port city of Latakia's Ramleh district, (including) rooftop snipers (who) are terrorizing the local population."


Imperial Washington orchestrated and escalated North African/Middle East/Central Asian conflicts. Involving Syria risks expanding them to general war, perhaps involving Russia and China for their own interests, opposite America's.


Washington's imperial arrogance suggests a possible global conflict, especially to divert public attention from deepening economic Depression. 


The strategy is tried and true, scaring people enough to put safety above pocket book issues, besides enlisting public support for greater geopolitical aims. 


Attacking weaker countries is one thing, involving China and Russia potentially quite another. As a result, understanding the risk and stopping it is crucial. The alternative is too grim to imagine.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Eretz Yisrael: Lawless, Corrupt and Dysfunctional

 Eretz Yisrael: Lawless, Corrupt and Dysfunctional - by Stephen Lendman


What do you call a country that persecutes occupied people and one-fifth of its own population for not being Jewish? An illegal occupier for over 44 years, suffocating over 1.6 million Gazans under siege! A nation practicing torture, persecution, and racism as official policies! A modern day Sparta, glorifying wars and violence!


A country spurning rule of law principles! An unparalleled regional state terrorist! A nuclear armed global threat! A society of extreme social inequality! A nation with no legitimacy for all of the above reasons, besides having stolen another people's nation violently!


It's called Eretz Yisrael - Israel, a nation where thousands of fed up Jews vote with their feet and leave regularly. Like America, Israel isn't fit to live in. One day perhaps that will be its epitaph.


Many Jews and analysts believe Zionism is destroying Judaism. In his book "Overcoming Zionism," Joel Kovel explained how it fosters "imperialist expansion and militarism (with) signs of the fascist malignancy," adding that it turned Israel "into a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses."


Author Alan Hart calls Zionism "the real enemy of the Jews," an ideology contemptuous of moral and ethical principles. Others call it corrosive, destructive, racist, extremist, undemocratic and hateful, espousing violence, not peaceful coexistence.


Nations living by the sword in the end die by it. Israel and America aren't exceptions. They've, in fact, partnered on a self-destructive mission, perhaps taking planet earth with them before they're through.


Daily snapshots make the case. Multiple US wars rage, spending trillions of badly needed dollars waging them, besides diverting billions more annually to support Israel's out-of-control militarism. They endanger every other nation and their own, at the same time sacrificing homeland needs.


Lawless, corrupt and dysfunctional barely describe what some call a blight on humanity, threatening it by its presence with its Washington paymaster/partner.


In mid-August, one of its prominent rabbis, Yosef Elitzur, co-author of the controversial book "The King's Torah," was denied UK entry for advocating discrimination against gentiles and killing them. The book states:


"Anywhere where the presence of a gentile poses a threat to Israel, it is permissible to kill him, even if it a righteous gentile who is not responsible for the threatening situation."


In January 2010, co-author Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, head of a prominent yeshiva in the West Bank Yitzhar settlement, was arrested for torching a Palestinian Yasuf village mosque. Later, however, he was released uncharged.


In August 2010, Elitzur was also arrested for his advocacy of violence, though he, too, was released and charges against him quietly dropped.


However, their extremism isn't unique. On August 19, 2010, Ynet News said "(d)ozens of rabbis, educators, public figures and right-wing activists attended" a rally for Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef "who refused to report for police questioning over their endorsement of" Elitzur and Shapira's book.


Senior rabbis support them, believing it's OK to kill non-Jews, a shocking indictment of what too many in Israel believe, including top officials.


It plays out daily in real time, including on August 16 when Israeli soldiers shot and killed a mentally disabled child, 400 meters inside the border separating Israel from Gaza, east of Deir al-Balah. In fact, 10 bullets struck his head and chest. He never had a chance.


Israeli radio merely said soldiers observed someone approaching the security fence, opened fire and shot him.


The same day, other shelling and shooting incidents occurred, killing one man and seriously wounding two others in Gaza City. In addition, another man and a child were wounded in Khan Yunis and Rafah in southern Gaza.


The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) called these incidents "part of a series of war crimes (regularly) committed by" Israeli forces in Occupied Palestine, reflecting the "total disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians."


When state-sponsored violence is institutionalized, is it surprising that perhaps many prominent Israelis (including influential rabbis) endorse racism and killing non-Jews!


What better example of a sick society, deserving universal condemnation, especially by righteously indignant Jews wanting no part of what's so lawlessly repugnant. In fact, growing numbers of Jews and others understand what's happening and reject it.


Numerous daily examples highlight the problem. On August 18, Haaretz covered several, including Netanyahu again refusing to apologize to Turkey for murdering nine of its citizens during the infamous May 2010 Mavi Marmara attack in international waters. 


At the time, universal outrage condemned it. In contrast, Israeli officials, like their Washington counterparts, believe they never have to say they're sorry, even when caught red-handed and denounced.


A second Haaretz article quoted Netanyahu's outgoing director general, Eyal Gabai, saying "(t)he current government will not deliver Israelis a welfare state," despite weeks of mass protests across Israel demanding it, wanting years of social injustice reversed.


Combined, neoliberalism and Zionism are suffocating Israel, a topic an August 18 Gideon Levy commentary addressed titled, "Israel's swinish Zionism ought to be stopped," saying:


As an MK, Shimon Peres coined the term "swinish capitalism," referring to then finance minister Netanyahu. "It's worth remembering that there is also swinish Zionism," Levy added. 


"Swine are insatiable....gorg(ing) themselves until they die." Capitalism and Zionism are no different. What began as a national movement to establish a Jewish homeland ended up "caus(ing) grave injustice to the previous inhabitants of the land...." And for years, it's neoliberal version has been harming Jews.


Perhaps if Zionism "stop(ped)....reined in its lust and greed, atoned for the original injustices in 1948 and changed direction, it would have become an admired movement." Because it didn't, "Israel is only beginning to pay the price."


Many of Israel's wealthy "also started out well....But here too," their appetite proved insatiable. The time of reckoning has arrived. People want redress. "The word 'tycoon' has become a curse and 'wealthy' has nearly become despicable."


Today a new awakening is emerging. Israel's wealthy are "beginning to pay the price." Zionism so far escaped. Calling it swinish is heretical. 


"But when the time for the reckoning comes we'll ask: Why didn't we stop (it) in time," especially its reliance on violence, occupation, racism, social injustice, and lawlessness.


Policies that extreme can't go on forever, and won't! Not in Israel, America or anywhere!


A Final Comment


On August 18, Maan News reported two shooting attacks on buses near Eilat, Israel, killing at least seven and injuring dozens more. Israel's Channel 10 said three militants armed with Kalashnikovs opened fire on one bus from a car.


A second incident occurred near Netafim, Israel, injuring others. In addition, an explosive device wounded more.


"Assailants also attacked a second bus and a car soon after," according to Al-Arabiya, killing five.


"In a third incident, mortars were reportedly fired at Israeli forces near the southern border causing injuries, although initial reports were ambiguous about" their origin.


Israel's knee-jerk reaction came as expected, Defense Minister Ehud Barak blaming Hamas, saying "(w)e will exhaust all measures against the terrorists."


Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil rejected Barak's accusation, saying Israel, ahead of another Gaza attack,  blamed Hamas and other Gaza groups to deflect attention from its own internal problems.


Since mid-July, unprecedented numbers of Israelis have rallied for social justice so far denied. It thus begs the question whether these attacks may have been a false flag diversions, to focus attention on "terrorist" threats, not economic hardship.


So far, the identity of attackers is unknown. Nonetheless, Haaretz said "Israeli Defense Forces struck targets in (Gaza) Thursday evening, hours after the earlier incidents."


Reports indicate at least six killed, others injured. Giving no details, Israel confirmed the strikes, saying operations were underway in southern Gaza.


Explaining nothing about daily atrocities US forces commit against innocent civilians in multiple wars, Hillary Clinton "condemn(ed) today's attacks in southern Israel and all acts of terrorism in the strongest terms," calling them "brutal" and "cowardly." 


As expected, she added that America "stand(s) by Israel as our friend, partner, and ally - now and always," omitting mention of their state-sponsored terrorism against victims unable to fight back.


What better description of two global bullies, rogue state sponsors of intimidation, terror and torment as standard operations. Calling them democracies is ludicrous and offensive.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Norway attacks/Result of extreme right populism in Europe


Daily Rogue State Israeli Lawlessness

 Daily Rogue State Israeli Lawlessness - by Stephen Lendman


It begs the question why Israelis put up with lawless governance harming them as well as Palestinians. When will weeks of social injustice outrage arouse them to embrace universal equity? 


Why haven't Martin Luther King's words hit home that, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." In Israel and Occupied Palestine, Arabs and Jews both are harmed. Injustice to anyone denies it to all.


Since the 1980s, destructive neoliberalism plagued Israel like the West. A race to the bottom followed, producing social injustice, inequality, and growing human need. Israelis finally reacted, demanding change, at the same time showing a hint of solidarity with Arab citizens, far more gravely impacted than themselves.


It's high time that spirit addressed 44 years of Occupied Palestinian torment. Permitting that to go on betrays core Judaic tenets. In their own time of need, will Jews embrace the universal struggle for justice everywhere, especially a few kilometers from their own backyard. Turning a blind eye to that injustice no longer can be tolerated.


What's now ongoing bears witness. Overnight, Israeli jets bombed Gaza, killing at least one resident and wounding seven or more others (including a child) in a series of lawless raids.


Gaza's medical emergency spokesperson, Adham Abu Salmiyya, said three residents were seriously injured after Israel bombed the Al Zeitoun neighborhood, Rafah tunnel areas, and an alleged Al Qassam Brigades training center in Gaza City's At-Tuffah community. 


Further attacks struck eastern Khan Younis, causing extensive damage but no injuries. Israel targets Gaza regularly by air, land and sea, falsely claiming self-defense every time. It long ago rang hollow.


Imagine if instead Israeli neighborhoods were bombed regularly, killing innocent civilians? Western leaders would express outrage in response. 


In contrast, when Palestinians are killed, it goes unnoticed, notably by major media sources more focused on supporting NATO aggression, slaughtering people in the name of "liberating" them. 


The hypocrisy is stark and galling, yet commonplace backing wrong over right. The horrors need volumes to explain.


Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli forces also razed Palestinian farmland south of Hebron, bulldozing fruit trees belonging to several Palestinian families. At the same time, several Hebron neighborhoods were raided. In addition, residents of Yatta, Tarqomia, and other Palestinian communities face regular Israeli incursions, harassing and aiming to displace them.


Israel Welcomes Glenn Beck


On August 14, Israel National News writer Tzvi Ben Gadalyahu headlined, "Israel Rolls Out Red Carpet for Glenn Beck" ahead of his "Restoring Courage" tour in Jerusalem, saying:


He scrapped plans to hold it at the Temple Mount after being warned about Muslim outrage. Instead, he'll hold two Jerusalem events, "at the Davidson Center at the southern edge of the Western Wall and the other in Safra Square," near municipal offices and city hall.


A previous article explained Beck's demagoguery, right wing extremism, and racism, accessed through the following link:




No longer on Fox News, he continues his hatemongering diatribes against disadvantaged minorities, Muslims, Latino immigrants, and anyone to the left of his views, meaning he'll fit right in among Israeli extremists who arranged his visit.


Beck claims it's "time to Stand and Restore Courage. We ask those of you who value freedom honor and faith to travel to Israel and stand with Glenn Beck and leaders from around the world with one united voice."


Palestinians, anti-war activists, and opponents of Israel's illegal occupation aren't invited. Nor were they included on a July Beck visit when extremist Knesset members let him address the Aliyah and Absorption Committee, saying he came "to speak the truth" about efforts to delegitimize Israel.


He also claimed PA demands exacerbate anti-Semitism that's "going through the roof," when US and European studies show it in steep decline.


Now he's back, endorsed by Rev. John Hagee, a fellow demagogue, supporting racial hatred, white Christian supremacy, imperial wars, apocalyptic violence, gay bashing, male gender dominance, and fanatically wanting Israel exclusively for Jews.


They're a matched set, Hagee writing Beck, saying:


"I'm writing to express my strong support for the Restoring Courage events to be held in Israel....Those of us who love Israel (see) especially ominous thunder clap to come down in September, when the (UN) will most likely support a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood."


He falsely claimed the General Assembly has no power to do it, at the same time railing against "the symbolic impact" he called "extremely dangerous."


"I look forward to seeing you" in Israel, he said, "the land God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in an eternal covenant that is binding to this day."


Hagee knows because God told him so, communicating directly he apparently believes. So do his parishioners sadly and other followers of his demagogic hatemongering misinterpretation of vital truths.


New Settlement Units Announced


In 2004, America's United Methodist Church stood firm against "confiscat(ing) Palestinian land for construction of settlements and the building of a separation wall." 


It also expressed opposition to other Israeli abuses, including "intensified closures, curfews, dehumanizing check points, home demolitions, uprooted trees, bulldozed fields....confiscation of Palestinian land and water....targeted assassinations," and other Israeli occupation abuses.


In recent days, Israel announced thousands of new settlement units, defiant of international law, and a vital need for new construction in Tel Aviv, Haifa, West Jerusalem, and other Israeli cities, not Occupied Palestine, to relieve a severe housing shortage, causing prices to skyrocket.


Many human rights organizations express similar views, including opposition to settlement developments, stealing Palestinian land for exclusive Jewish use.


No matter. On August 15, 277 West Bank Ariel units were approved. Earlier, 500 others were announced in Gush Etzion, Ma'ale Adumin, Ariel, and Kiryat Sefer. 


In early August, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said 930 more are planned for East Jerusalem's Har Homa C and 42 public buildings in Har Homa B, as well as extensive accompanying infrastructure.


On August 11, thousands more were announced - 1,600 in Ramat Shlomo, 2,000 in Givat Hamatos, and 700 in Pisgat Zeev. "This would bring (total East Jerusalem approvals) to over 5,200, and counting, in August alone."


In 121 illegal settlements and nearly 100 outposts,  around 300,000 settlers populate the West Bank, another 200,000 in East Jerusalem, and the numbers keep growing.


As a result, over 42% of choice West Bank land and large parts of East Jerusalem have been stolen by successive Israeli governments, claiming they want peace. 


Compounded by his duplicitous rhetoric overall, Obama (like his predecessors) stands firmly in support,  reiterating America's "unbreakable" bond with Israel, including its most lawless acts.


According to PCHR and other human rights organizations, as long as international community leaders grant Israel impunity, Palestinian justice will lose out. 


Will socially oppressed Israeli Jews finally take note and say No More!


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Netanyahu Spurns Social Justice Demands

 Netanyahu Spurns Social Justice Demands - by Stephen Lendman


Unaffordable housing prices ignited mass social justice protests in Israel. At issue is settlement developments at the expense of other construction, creating a supply/demand imbalance enough to cause prices to skyrocket. Israelis demand that issue be addressed responsibly.


In response, Netanyahu's government announced thousands of illegal new West Bank/East Jerusalem settlement units on stolen Palestinian land, harming them grievously. At the same time, he arrogantly ignored the urgency of addressing serious shortages in Tel Aviv, Haifa, West Jerusalem, and other Israeli cities.


In addition, Israel's Knesset passed a controversial housing bill despite popular protests against it. It calls for solving Israel's housing crisis by expanding West Bank settlements, defiantly avoiding what's needed. 


It also called for quick action to expedite construction of 50,000 apartments, circumventing planning commissions that take time to decide. Doing so, however, will exacerbate Israel's housing crisis, making an intolerable situation worse.


Since protests began, Netanyahu signaled no meaningful change, saying "solutions (must be) economically sound." In other words, business as usual will continue, papered over with minor cosmetic concessions sure to ignite greater anger sooner or later.


In early August, he appointed Professor Manual Trajtenberg to head a 14-member "panel for socioeconomic change," saying its "recommendations will reflect the need to maintain fiscal responsibility in the state budge. Such responsibility is especially necessary at a time of economic uncertainty," signaling minimal changes at best, far less than vitally needed and demanded. 


Neoliberally constructed, Trajtenberg's panel will conduct discussions, propose solutions, and present them to Israel's socioeconomic cabinet (composed of establishment figures headed by neoliberal finance minister Yuval Steinitz) by late September.


In late October, Steinitz will present his own recommendations to Netanhayu, who'll review them and deliver a final proposal to Israel's cabinet by early November, giving officials enough time to let street protests subside. Or so they hope to get away with minimal changes, if any.


Trajtenberg's Socioeconomic Change Panel


Besides himself and Steinitz, the panel includes senior government officials, including:


Eyal Gabai: Netanyahu's Director-General


Eugene Kandel: National Economic Council head


Gal Hershkovitz: Finance Ministry's budget chief


Avi Simhon: Finance Ministry's senior economic advisor


Michal Abadi-Boiangiu: Finance Ministry's accountant-general


Esther Dominisini: National Insurance Institute's director-general


Shlomi Frizet: Antitrust Authority's chief economist


Karnit Flug: Bank of Israel's deputy governor


Other members include:


Professor Yoram Gabby: Israeli tax expert


Shahar Cohen: entrepreneur


Professor Pnina Klein: 2011 Israel Education Prize Laureate 


Professor Rafi Melnik: Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center vice president


Professor Tali Regev: economist


Panel advisors include other establishment figures from government ministries, related agencies and think tanks.


Panel head Trajtenberg also is an establishment figure, formerly Netanyahu's National Economic Council head, appointed in 2006 by Ehud Olmert.


An economist, he heads Israel's Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education. Without explaining whether he favors change, he calls himself "a fervent Zionist who devoted three years of his life to bringing Jews to Israel, an Israeli patriot with a South American soul, and a doctorate in economics from Harvard."


At the same time, he worries about Israel's commission system, saying it's set up to kill, not solve, issues, which begs the question why he agreed to get involved in the first place, knowing it's an exercise in futility.


In fact, he said "(A)nother panel with all the familiar faces will be no good here. Unless the political leadership unites behind the recommendations, it won't work."


Knowing he won't succeed, nonetheless, he came on board adding, "we must take the risk," that may, in fact, be rhetoric, not conviction. 


At the same time, he's a possible/perhaps likely choice to become the Bank of Israel's next governor when his Planning and Budgeting chairmanship term expires in a year, replacing Stanley Fischer, head of Israel's central bank since 2005.


No social democrat need apply. Of course, Netanyahu didn't appoint him socioeconomic change head to become one.


Perhaps it's why protest leaders have their own expert panel, separate from Trajtenberg's, knowing any government commission will spurn them. In fact, some of its members openly endorse non-cooperation with Netanyahu's appointees.


Composed of 60 academic and public figures, it's divided into nine sub-units, coordinated by Education Professor Yossi Yonah and Professor Avia Spivak, a curious choice, having been a former Bank of Israel deputy governor.


Some units have already held working sessions. Others will do so shortly. Each will handle priorities in their field of expertise. Within weeks, they'll present their conclusions and demands.


A public statement said:


"(R)ecent statements of senior ministers suggest that the government does not understand what is happening here. Those who look down on the protest and surround themselves with tycoons do not understand the depth of the revulsion at the economic processes they have led, which enrich the rich at the expense of the rest of the public. This method has created enormous gaps, greed and deteriorating public services, education, welfare and health."


It added that "the demands of the public today are for fundamental change in the method, not just some improvements in it. The Trajtenberg committee, whose mandate and scope for maneuvering have not been publicized, does not appear to be capable of leading such change."


Of course, it was appointed to prevent it, a sham smokescreen for business as usual.


Alternate panel sub-unit heads include:


Professor Yossi Ze'ira: economic issues


Emily Silverman: housing and transportation


Professor Yitzhak Gal-Nur: public administration


Professor Ya'akov Kashti and Rabbi Shay Piron: education


Professor Danny Filc: healthcare


Nadia Ismail: employment


Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer: legal issues


Professor Bilha Tadher: social security issues


Professor Yossi Yonah: "fundamentals of a policy of social justice"


On August 14, New York Times writer Stephen Farrell headlined, "Israeli Leader Vows Fiscal Reform but No Quick Fixes," saying:


On Sunday, Netanyahu "tempered a promise to find 'concrete solutions' to demonstrators' concerns with a warning that the global financial crisis precluded quick change," saying:


"We know one thing: We want to find solutions that are economically sound. For if we end up bankrupt or face economic collapse, a reality in which some of Europe's leading economies find themselves in today, we will solve neither the economic problems nor the social ones."


Fact check:


During dire economic times, going it slow is counterproductive and destructive, assuring worse, not improved conditions. Moreover, doing little, nothing, or forcing austerity when stimulus is needed assures disaster. 


When times are tough, pump priming is critical to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. At all times, moreover, just democratic societies are mandated to provide essential social services to all its citizens, including education, healthcare, housing help, and welfare for their least advantaged. 


In contrast, neoliberal states like Israel, America, Britain and others serve wealth and power interests only, spurning their social obligations altogether, disingenuously saying it's for the greater good.


Netanyahu lied urging "financial responsibility alongside social sensitivity," when he favors the former only but won't say.


As a result, achieving social justice requires protest leaders accepting nothing less, or as Haifa University student Adi Gross said:


"These protests are not going to stop before a (just),"  solution is found," and social worker Suhair Halabi added:


"Nobody is free until everybody is free," saying also "(w)e are fighting a national and a class battle" too important to lose.


Going for broke is crucial. It's critical that spirit and energy driving it not be lost. Otherwise, the battle for social justice will be, letting an historic moment pass unfulfilled.


A Final Comment


Working cooperatively with Netanyahu's government, municipal authorities began harassing protest encampments, forcibly trying to disrupt them by dismantling tent cities.


In fact, inspectors issued eviction notices in Tel Aviv's Kikar Hamedina plaza, and confiscated the symbolic guillotine erected on Rothschild Boulevard. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) strongly condemned the move, saying mayors are trying to "push the police to silence the protest."


ACRI attorney Avner Punchuk added:


"(T)he role of the police is to protect freedom of expression, not to pander to mayors and municipal authorities, who have their own agendas, while using unreasonable excuses for eviction such as the expected Palestinian declaration of statehood in September."


ACRI is providing legal help to end harassment, at times successful, but this struggle has a long way to go with major hurdles to overcome.


Protesters now face municipal officers tearing down tents, other encampments, signs and confiscating equipment to crush resistance - representing an extremist right-wing government determined to spurn them. 


Knowing what they're up against, Israelis vow to stay the course. No matter how many victories are won, social justice struggles never end because dark force plotting never quits, devising new ways to undermine or regain lost ground. 


As a result, it's vital to keep the spirit for change alive, never letting it wane because doing so assures defeat. Winning social justice isn't easy, quick or enough. Keeping it is key.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Israeli Social Justice Protests Continue

 Israeli Social Justice Protests Continue - by Stephen Lendman


Ongoing since mid-July, America's media hardly notice, but indeed care as evidenced by their silence to suppress mass outrage over longstanding social injustice Israelis want changed.


What US print and broadcast media won't report, Israeli and other sources cover extensively, because what's ongoing is too significant to ignore. Happening at the same time across the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere, it's just a matter of time before it erupts in America, most often a late bloomer.


However, when intolerable conditions reach a breaking point, people react, and without redress, do it violently. 


So far in Israel, mass outrage has been contained. How much longer is at issue under a government that spurns them. It's much like in America where the corrupted two-party duopoly serves wealth and power only, ignoring growing need that sooner or later will explode. 


It's high time it happened sooner before distress conditions surge past intolerable to uncontainable, because of shocking unaddressed levels of rising poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and human misery - a ticking bomb revolutions are made of.


Trends analyst Gerald Celente believes neoliberalized Industrial Revolution policies can't work in the new century, saying:


"It's not just Model T economics that's outmoded, so are our approaches to education, politics and yes, the military. The old adage (that) 'Generals fight the last war' is as valid as ever. While the technology may have changed, the mindset hasn't." 


So while old unwinnable wars rage, new ones start, drag on endlessly, draining the federal treasury, at the expense of public need and good government.


Celente believes direct democracy is essential, saying:


"The government/political 'system' in place in America, and throughout much of the world, is obsolete and irreparable. The inept generals masterminding lost-cause wars are (matched) by (corrupt) senators and representatives in Congress."


As a result, representative democracy "is a cruel sham; it's neither 'representative' nor 'democratic,' and people are" wising up to it as evidenced by poll numbers.


Therein lies the possibility for change, "real change, not Obama (Netanyahu/Cameron/Sarkozy/Merkel, Berlusconi/Papandreou et al) change."


Others explained it wisely earlier, including Victor Hugo, saying:


"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come."


Grassroots direct democracy representing everyone "has come for the entire world (says Celente) to wrest power from the hands of ruling political mobs and put it into the hands of the public."


Let them decide, not corrupted corporate bosses, militarists, lobbyists and their puppet political tools. Shifting to this type system Celente calls a "Global Game Changer." 


Is it possible? Indeed, when enough people cooperatively make it happen through disruptive power too strong to contain.


Weeks of protests across Israel show it, symbolized by an August 11 guillotine on display in the center of Tel Aviv's tent city. 


There on Rothschild Blvd, Tel Aviv's Park Avenue, it was the center of attention, signifying public anger perhaps too great to contain without meaningful redress. So far, it's not forthcoming from a government that doesn't give a damn about ordinary people, the same mindset as in America.


On August 13, Haaretz headlined, "Tens of thousands take to Israel's streets as social protests move out of Tel Aviv," saying:


Saturday night, people turned out en masse in Haifa, Be'er Sheva, Afula, Eilat, Rosh Pina, Nahariya, Dimona, Modi'in, Petah Tikva, Ramat Hasharon, Hod Hasharon, Netanya, Beit She'an, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and elsewhere for what they've been demanding for weeks.


Haifa activist Yossi Baruch addressed thousands, saying:


"They tell us we don't have focus, but we are super focused and know exactly what we want. We want there to be a welfare state here, and a welfare state is not just a slogan. It means free education for every boy and girl" from pre-school through PhDs. 


"A welfare state is (also) a place where its citizens receive fair wages," get free or low-cost healthcare, other social benefits, and have caring officials who provide them.


"This is a long-range struggle, and it doesn't matter if Bibi falls in a week, a month or a year," he said. "Bibi will fall. So will (Yuval) Steinitz (Israel's finance minister), and so will (Avigdor) Lieberman," Israel's fascist foreign minister/deputy prime minister.


Activist Dror Israel put it another way, saying:


"We are not against a specific person. We're against a policy. We are for a welfare state" that serves all Israelis, not just its privileged few like in America, Britain, and other most other countries.


Arab citizens called for mutual cooperation. In fact, crowds cheered Hamoudi Hujeirat saying, "We are one people." 


Raja Za'atara, from the disadvantaged Arab Wadi Nisnas neighborhood, said, "In the Wadi, not many people eat cottage cheese," referring to one of the protest symbols because of its high price. "But a hungry child is a hungry child," he said, "and it doesn't matter if he is Arab or Jewish. This struggle gives hope to everyone."


In fact, social injustice affects all Israeli workers. However, Arabs (one-fifth of the population) are especially impacted, treated more like fifth column threats than citizens.


At the same time, hope never dies when enough people believe. Addressing Haifa thousands in Arabic, writer Sami Michael said:


"At age 85, it's hard to be optimistic, but the younger generation today makes me feel optimistic. Today the public is showing for the first time a connection between classes, between cities and villages, between Arabs and Jews, and I don't remember anything like this in Haifa," or elsewhere across Israel.


"The impact of the Middle East" arrived, he added. Echoes for change now reverberating across Israel. It remains to be seen whether government repression will confront them, and if so, how they'll react.


So far, they've been steadfastly protesting, many camping out in tent cities, giving up the comforts of home, that even if humble are preferable to living on streets, even in solidarity for reinforcement.


It's too soon to know, but hopefully that energy won't wane. It's crucial to have any chance for success.


A Final Comment


In a new policy paper, Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth discuss "Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919 - 2009," showing they go hand in hand, saying:


Evidence "show(s) a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability. We test if the relationship simply reflects economic downturns, and conclude that this is not a key factor."


"While autocracies and democracies show a broadly similar response to budget cuts," less unrest results when executive power is constrained. Quite the opposite, however, when leaders and parliaments are in sync, as in America, the Middle East, Europe and Israel.


Other analysts also say austerity yields trouble, showing up in protests, riots, strikes, violence and revolutions if public rage exceeds the tipping point, making it uncontainable.


Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz envisions IMF riots, saying "the whole cauldron blows up" after IMF financial terrorism "squeezes the last pound of blood out of" troubled nations.


Economist Kenneth Rogoff says high US unemployment and out-of-control debt sooner or later trigger serious "social unrest from the income disparities" they create, adding the Obama administration has "no clue."


Neither does Netanyahu, European leaders and numerous others, heading their nations for serious unrest - or worse.


Gerald Celente's been warning about it for years, saying:


"When people lose everything and have nothing else to lose, they lose it."


Indeed, and it may be coming to a nearby neighborhood or right in their own backyard. Bet on it.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



מחאה חברתית אמיתית

אל תדרשו, חוקים לחטיפת-ילדים למוסדות-שטיפת-המוח הבורגניים!! תיבעו מן הממשלה, הארכת חופשת-הלידה, הכפלת שכר-המינימום, הפחתת שבוע-העבודה ושוויון מוחלט בין המינים!! קנו פחות = חיו יותר!! זאת תהיה, מחאה חברתית אמיתית....לא מה, שאנחנו רואים כיום באוהלים!!

Israeli Persecution of Palestinian Children

 Israeli Persecution of Palestinian Children - by Stephen Lendman


Repeatedly in many ways, the real Israel belies the myth of a free, open, democratic state. In fact, the very notion is ludicrous even to growing numbers of fed up Israelis, voting with their feet and leaving.


As a result, it's no exaggeration calling Israel a failed state, a topic Noam Chomsky addressed in one of his many books.


Titled "Failed States," he listed characteristics they all share, including:


-- their inability or unwillingness to protect their citizens from violence and other forms of harm;


-- their abrogation of rule of law standards;


-- their lawless belligerent pursuits; and


-- if democracies, their policy deficiencies, exposing a serious "democratic deficit."


Evaluating America honestly, he said "we should have little difficulty in finding the characteristics of 'failed states' right at home." It's as true for Israel, a democracy in name only. 


Its treatment of Muslims is especially appalling, notably children, the topic of this article, based on a July 19 Defence for Children International Palestine Section (DCIP) report.


Covering the period January 1 through June 30, 2011, it's titled, "In their own words: A report on the situation facing Palestinian children detained in the Israeli military court system." It follows previous reports on how Israel abuses young children as lawlessly as adults, violating international law in multiple ways.


Each year, about 700 West Bank children are arrested, interrogated, detained, and prosecuted in Israeli military courts. Since 2000 alone, around 7,500 have been affected, facing torture, ill-treatment and other forms of abuse during the entire arrest/transfer/interrogation process.


Belligerent soldiers usually raid homes late at night. Young children are arrested, blindfolded, hands tied painfully, and taken to detention centers. Physical and verbal abuse are common. Reasons for arrest are seldom given, and parents aren't told where their children are held. The entire process is lawless, no different than in a police state.


During interrogations, family members and lawyers aren't present, nor are audio/video recordings made for independent oversight. Moreover, children aren't told their rights because they have none, in Occupied Palestine or in custody. As a result, they're isolated, intimidated, physically assaulted, and forced to sign confessions, at times in Hebrew they don't understand.


Afterwards they're brought to military court. Bail most often is denied. Children as young as 12 (sometimes younger) are affected, and most plead guilty when innocent because it's "the quickest way out of the system."


In September 2009, a juvenile military court was established, though few practices differentiate them from adult ones. Two or three children are brought there together in brown prison attire, legs chained around their ankles and handcuffed. Hand restraints are removed in court, then replaced when leaving.


DCIP based its report on 45 sworn testimonies, also referencing other relevant sources, including media and NGO information. Another 16 sworn East Jerusalem affidavits were also collected, to be covered in a separate report.


Citing international laws, numerous past articles explained that torture is prohibited at all times, under all conditions, with no allowed exceptions. Nonetheless, it's official Israeli policy, even against children. A previous article discussed it, accessed through the following link:




Against Palestinians, even children, torture and other forms of abuse are commonplace. Of the 45 cases studied, two were children aged 11 or younger, one was 12, 22 were 14 or 15, and 22 were 16 or 17. Twenty-eight of them were accused of stone-throwing. Under Military Order 1651, Section 221, it's punishable as follows:


-- against people or property, it carries a maximum 10 year penalty; for children aged 13 or younger, it's six months; and


-- throwing stones or other objects against moving vehicles brings up to 20 years imprisonment; for children 13 or younger, it's six months.


In fact, children most often get sentences ranging from two weeks to 10 months. However, none should get 10 minutes or ever have be arrested and prosecuted. In detention, they're subjected to the following:


Hand ties - 98%


Blindfolds - 91%


Physical violence - 87%


Detention inside Israel in violation of Fourth Geneva's Article 76 - 76%


Confession during interrogation - 69%


Arrested between midnight and 5:00AM - 62%


Verbal abuse - 60%


Strip searched - 56%


Threatened - 38%


Taken to detention on vehicle's floor (a painful process sometimes taking hours) - 33%


Signed/shown documents in Hebrew - 29%


Held in solitary confinement (from one to 20 days) - 9%


In all 45 cases examined, children experienced multiple form of abuse. It reveals a systematic pattern of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in violation of the UN Convention against Torture, Geneva's Common Article 3, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, prohibiting the above practices.


Khaled H (age 16) said:


"At around 2:00 AM, I was sleeping in the same room as my brother....I woke up to a noise coming from the door of the room. Then, the door opened and many soldiers stormed the room. One of them approached me and punched me hard in the head."


In custody during interrogations, most children are blindfolded and have their hands painfully tied, usually behind their back. Some reported extreme pain. Others said said their circulation was cut off, causing their hands to swell and turn blue. Most were held this way for hours. Some reported their feet also shackled.


Othman H (aged 17) said:


After entering his home, "soldiers took me downstairs to the first floor....One of them tied my hands behind my back with one set of plastic cords, and tightened them. He also blindfolded me. They took me out and forced me to stop near a military truck near the house. While I was standing there, one of them hit me so hard in my testicles (that) I felt much pain."


Mohammad H (age 17) said his hands were so tightly bound, he "screamed in pain and asked them to loosen them, but they started shouting and ordering me to 'shut up and don't talk.' "


Malek S. (age 16) said when his hand restraints were removed, "pieces of flesh came off and my wrists started bleeding." When ordered to confess, he said he had "nothing to confess to," after which his interrogator "went crazy and started screaming. He started slapping me and kicking me. He even grabbed my head and slammed it against the metal wall of the room where we were. My forehead swelled and I felt my hands bleeding because of the pressure."


Typical violence includes punching, slapping, pushing and kicking, often hard enough to cause extreme pain. Children reported multiple incidents throughout their arrest/transfer/interrogation process.


Testimonies reveal a combination of physical violence, threats and verbal abuse, at times of a sexual nature or bringing a menacing dog into the interrogation room.


A Final Comment


From January 2001 to late 2010, 645 complaints were filed against Israeli Security Agency (ISA) interrogators, alleging torture, ill-treatment and other forms of abuse. The Justice Ministry's Police Investigation Department "did not conduct a single criminal investigation."


When it comes to Palestinian rights, including young children, Israel is an anything goes society, committing vile abuses with impunity.


Two years after Cast Lead's mass slaughter and destruction, two soldiers were convicted of credit card fraud, two others for using a nine-year-old boy as a human shield. Only the defrauders served prison time. The others got suspended sentences, letting them off scot free.


Moreover, on January 27, 2011, despite Lt. Col. Omri Burberg's conviction for shooting a bound and blindfolded detainee, a military court refused to imprison him, even though prosecutors recommended it.


Settlements also adversely affect Palestinian children. Clear evidence shows arrests and ill-treatment result from living close to them.


The cumulative effect of abusive practices, especially against young children, constitutes torture under international law. Whether mild or extreme, it's absolutely prohibited criminal behavior. 


Against Palestinians, however, it's standard practice. In fact, Israel's ISA gets carte blanche authority to abuse with impunity, even kill that sometimes happens.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Congressional Junkets to Israel

 Congressional Junkets to Israel - by Stephen Lendman


Eighty-one House members, one fifth of the chamber, will visit Israel during the traditional summer recess, instead of addressing festering local issues at home during the nation's gravest economic crisis too serious to ignore.


Arriving first were 26 Democrats together, including Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD). Another 55 Republicans will follow in two groups, including 47 freshmen. 


Heading each are House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) and House Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA). Spouses are also going at an estimated cost of $8,000, including business-class flights, first-class hotels, meals, transportation, side trips, guides and incidentals.


Red carpet treatment is assured along with considerable pro-Israeli messaging, especially for new incoming freshmen. They'll meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, as well as PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. Legitimate Hamas leaders are excluded.


Their entire week is choreographed and full, from early morning to late evening, including breakfast and dinner speakers, as well as meetings with other government officials.


For security reasons, their schedule isn't known, but while there, they'll get walking tours of Jerusalem's Old City, the Western Wall (Wailing Wall or Kotel), as well as visits to Masada, the Dead Sea, Holocaust memorial, Golan, Lebanese border, and Tel Aviv, with moments to relax by the Mediterranean. 


Most of all, they'll get intensive pro-Israeli messaging to assure one-sided support, reinforced by party leaders back home. At the same time, out of sight and mind will be:


-- daily Israeli state terror;


-- its planes bombing Gaza;


-- extreme unaddressed needs of over 1.6 million besieged people;


-- fishermen interdicted and, at times, shot at sea;


-- Israeli snipers murdering farmers in their fields;


-- regular security force incursions into Palestinian communities;


-- almost daily arrests, detentions, and horrific treatment in Israeli prisons;


-- children beaten and arrested;


-- peaceful protests attacked viciously;


-- bulldozed homes and dispossessed residents;


-- Israel's Separation Wall, stealing about 12% of Palestinian land when completed; and


-- severe repression, poverty, and misery of millions of Palestinians whose only offense is not being Jewish.


Whether or not they know or care, If Americans Knew Executive Director Alison Weir said not every congressional member is enthused about going. One congressional wife, in fact, who's been there before, said she and her husband never before experienced such pressure.


Another representative's staff member said those invited had no choice. If they don't go, AIPAC will target them for removal, and most likely succeed. "The staffer said that the Israel Lobby is far too powerful to ignore and that American voters have no knowledge of what's going on" because major media reports won't say.


The Jerusalem Post covered this story. So did Lebanon's Daily Star, other foreign media, Commentary magazine, and the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, explaining the elaborately planned "dog and pony show" messaging. 


In contrast, it was practically ignored by America's corporate media, including The New York Times. The Washington Post discussed it on page 13, omitting important details.


It's typical of how America's media diss their regulars, excluding everything they most need to know.


At issue is why congressional members are in Israel or heading there shortly, on expense-paid week-long junkets, funded by an AIPAC affiliate - the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF).


Created in 1990, its web site says it "provides grant monies to educate opinion leaders about the US-Israel relationship, to expand public awareness about issues affecting the Middle East and to encourage participation in public affairs, especially by students on college campuses where anti-Israeli propaganda is rampant."


In fact, nowhere in the world is pro-Israeli propaganda more scandalously intense than in America, especially from distorted one-sided major media reports, leaving Palestinian issues entirely excluded. 


Mondoweiss co-editor Philip Weiss said pro-Israeli "liberal foundations" fund organizations like AIPAC and its AIEF spinoff. For example, the Kimmel Center gave AIEF $3.5 million in recent years, according to its Form 990 filings.


Weiss said his research "shows that AIEF is getting tons of money from the same people who fund good liberal institutions," including universities, the arts, and issue-oriented groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights and ACLU.


AIEF also gets generous contributions from right-wing organizations. "And that's the point," says Weiss. "When you" examine who's paying for one-fifth of the House to visit Israel, it's coming from rich and powerful pro-Israeli foundations, "know(ing) which side their bread is buttered on," wanting Congress in tow supporting them.


At a time when millions of Americans are in dire need, Weir noted how angry they might be to learn that Congress gives tiny Israel "over $8 million per day of American tax money" during the nation's greatest ever economic Depression when all available resources should stay at home helping them and ending it.


It's why America's media are silent, betraying their loyalists instead of serving them, especially on war and peace, corporatism, lawlessness, domestic repression, and all issues affecting Israel.


It's why everyone needs alternative sources to stay informed and join the fight for justice. It's the only way possible to get it.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Repression in Israel and Bahrain

 Repression in Israel and Bahrain - by Stephen Lendman


On August 8, London Guardian writer Ian Black headlined, "Bahrain protests: 'The repression is getting worse,' " saying:


Bahraini police grabbed Hassan Ali Salman. One "forc(ed) his T-shirt roughly up over his head as three or four others laid in with wooden batons, dragging and pushing him to a line of waiting Land Cruisers and more helmeted cops."


He's one of many victims in an "ugly....cat-and-mouse routine of protest and repression in this Gulf island state." Secretly filmed, "it exposes what Bahrain's western-backed government prefers foreigners not to see."


Numerous other examples highlight it, including Zainab al-Juma, a disabled woman killed by inhaling tear gas, Ahmed Farhan, shot in cold blood, "his brains spilling out of his shattered head live on camera as horrified screams sounded all around."


Former political prisoner Abu Ali said, "(T)he repression is getting worse." A man called Haydar "described a savage beating, curses and threats of rape as he was forced to kiss the boots of the police officers who tormented him on 26 June."


They kept kicking and hitting me, he said. Conditions throughout the country are tense. Continuing protests against the Bahraini dictatorship face severe violence and repression. A taxi driver named Jassim said, "I am very pessimistic. Things are much worse than before."


An identified woman said, "We sank very low. If we go any further, people will start to leave. We are tearing ourselves apart." People believe that repression without reform won't resolve Bahraini injustice. 


It's indeed severe when an establishment publication like the Guardian highlights it through firsthand observations on the ground.


So does the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, saying over 1,400 have been arrested (including doctors, lawyers and human rights activists), more than 180 sentenced by military courts, 35 killed, 68 journalists either suspended or arrested, and around two dozen activists arrested, tortured and subjected to other abuses, along with many others for wanting democratic change.


Law Professor Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni chairs a Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI). In a letter to Nabeel Rajab, Bahrain Center for Human Rights President, he said:


"There is no doubt that there have been a large number of reported human rights violations which include: deaths, torture and physical mistreatment, arbitrary arrests and detentions, wrongful dismissal of public and private sector employees, suspension of students and termination of scholarships, destruction of mosques, and destruction of private property."


Bassiouni added that once BICI completes its investigation, a full report will follow, covering all documented state crimes. "We are here for the truth and nothing but the truth," he said. Let's hope he, in fact, presents it fully and accurately as promised.


Israeli Torture, Other Forms of Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment Against Gazans 


On July 28, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, and Physicians for Human Rights (Israel) documented it in their latest report on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26).


Covering the period May 1, 2009 - April 30, 2010, they presented a disturbing account of how Israel systematically violates international law with impunity.


Gazans continue to be arrested, tortured, abused, and denied protections while undergoing interrogations. Afterwards they're "placed in cells which are unfit for humans to live in and many have been left in solitary confinement for extended periods of time."


Administrative detentions are commonly used, holding Palestinians without charge. At the same time, many Gazans are called "unlawful combatants," treating them more harshly for prolonged periods. In addition, under siege conditions, millions of Gazans experience extreme hardships.


"These actions are in complete violation of international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL), both of which are applicable in the occupied Palestinian territory."


On September 6, 1999, Israel's High Court of Justice ruled certain abusive interrogation techniques illegal. However, it authorized "ticking bomb" exceptions and let interrogators resort to what's called "the necessity defense" to protect themselves when using prohibited methods. 


In other words, the High Court left a giant loophole to practice torture with impunity. Israeli Security Agency (ISA) interrogators take full advantage.


Israel's judicial system also permits unfair trial standards, "under which most torture and ill treatment-related practices occur," including those related to abusive administrative detentions.


As a result, administrative detainees can't challenge evidence considered classified, so are denied fair trials. Nor may they contest detentions for "inordinately lengthy periods" or be able to dispute reasons why they're held.


Under the Unlawful Combatants Law No. 5762-2202 and its 2008 amendment, authorities may detain Palestinians believed to have taken part in hostile activity (aka lawful self-defense) against Israel directly or indirectly.


Without judicial review, men, women and children may be help up to 14 days under detention orders permitting indefinite renewals. In addition, they and their lawyers are denied access to alleged incriminating evidence. 


Moreover, access to counsel may be denied up to 21 days, and dozens of Palestinians are held abusively in solitary confinement for extended periods.


Nadedh Ali Abed-Rabbo's case is commonplace. Arrested during an Israeli incursion, he was tortured and abused "from the moment he was in custody." Soldiers handcuffed, blindfolded, and beat him. He was put in a small cell cuffed and blindfolded for 24 hours, then transferred to Ashkelon prison, put in a tiny filthy (1.5 x 2 meter) cell.


During 42 days of interrogation, he was painfully restrained, denied access to counsel, and only allowed to sleep an hour or two at a time while bound to a chair. If too long, he was doused with cold water to wake him. He also experienced severe pain and constant headaches.


Complaining to interrogators, he was told "confess and you will rest." Due to extreme exhaustion, he passed out four times. In addition, interrogators cursed and spat in his face, splashed water on him to keep him awake, and played very loud music intermittently. The interrogation room was also kept dark and isolated.


As a result, he was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment based on "evidence" extracted under torture. When released on July 21, 2010, he experienced nerve spasms in his hand, lost hearing in his left ear, needs and ear implant, and suffers from ongoing headaches.


Numerous other Palestinians undergo similar abuse, amounting to torture and ill-treatment, taking a terrible physical and emotional toll as on Abed-Rabbo.


Gazans are especially mistreated in detention and under siege, including often denied access to medical treatment elsewhere, even for serious illnesses.


Despite international law prohibitions against torture and other forms of abuse and ill-treatment, Israel practices it with impunity. Moreover, isolating Gaza under siege constitutes illegal torture and collective punishment. In fact, the Convention against Torture (CAT) calls "severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental," forms of torture.


Israel's blockade is described as causing a "protracted human dignity crisis," characterized particularly by "degradation in the living conditions of the population." As such, it constitutes collective cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, a prima facie CAT violation.


In fact, the independent UN Committee against Torture acknowledges that blockading Gaza falls within CAT's purview because of its collective harm in violation of other human rights laws. Nonetheless, Israel continues abusing Gazans and other Palestinians with impunity.


Palestinians Politically Detained


The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association presented its latest quarterly report, covering the period from April 15 - July 15.


Based on Israeli Prison Service statistics (very possibly inaccurate), it documented 5,554 political prisoners, including:


-- 229 administrative detainees, including four women and 14 Palestinian Legislative Council (the Palestinian Authority's parliament) members;


-- 35 women;


-- 211 children, including dozens under age 16;


-- 19 PLC members;


-- 136 prisoners for over 20 years;


-- 178 Palestinians from the 1948 territories;


-- 647 from Gaza, including two current "unlawful combatants;"


-- 188 from East Jerusalem; and


-- 845 arrested from April 1 - June 30.


During the period, it noted "harsh violence and waves of mass arrests," including against Hamas leaders. On April 17, to commemorate Palestinian Prisoners Day, Addameer launched a new campaign called "Prisoners at Risk," focusing on those subjected to "serious human rights violations, including long-term administrative detention, isolation, medical neglect and torture."


Many Palestinians experience it, out of sight and mind to most world leaders, supporting Israeli lawlessness by complicity or silence. As a result, abusive practices continue in violation of international laws, norms and standards, ones Israel repeatedly spurns with impunity.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Sustaining Protest Energy in Israel

 Sustaining Protest Energy in Israel - by Stephen Lendman


Since mid-July, Israelis have protested in unprecedented numbers for long denied social justice. Succeeding depends on sustaining that energy disruptively for change. Though never easy, it's the only way.


Frances Fox Piven discussed it in her book titled, "Challenging Authority" about social movements becoming pivotal forces for change when ordinary people used their considerable clout, saying:


They have "power....when they rise up in anger and hope, defy the rules....disrupt state institutions....propel new issues to the center of political debate (and force) political leaders (to) stem voter defections by proferring reforms."


When sustained, this determination produces change. Elections can't do it, not in America, most European countries or Israel because entrenched power shuts out independent interests.


Nonetheless, social justice is possible when committed people exert enough disruptive power. Piven explained it as follows:


Societies organize through cooperation and interdependence, but disparate interests at times conflict. While workers depend on management for jobs, managers, in turn, need them to produce. If labor is withheld, operations halt. Both sides have leverage. Either can use it effectively. 


Piven calls the "activation of interdependent power 'disruption.' " It's a strategy based on "withdrawing cooperation in social relations." Protest movements "mobilize disruptive power," achieving leverage by breaking down "institutionally regulated cooperation" by strikes, boycotts, riots, and other disruptive actions without letup until succeed. 


Key is avoiding letting grassroots energy wane. In America, sustaining it achieved representative government, ending slavery, enfranchising women, the right to organize, social welfare and civil rights. 


However, marches, rallies, slogans, or even violence alone or in combination aren't enough. What works is withholding cooperation, breaking the rules, and staying the course despite threats, reprisals, uncertainty, or hardships incurred for the long haul - long enough, that is, to succeed.


It works the same way everywhere, but never easily or quickly. Throughout North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Europe, America and Israel, disruptive people power is effective if sustained. It's no different now than earlier.


On August 10, a Haaretz editorial headlined, "Social protests face next challenge: Loss of interest," saying:


Popular outrage "faces its most important test." After an unprecedented show of solidarity, protest organizers and their followers now confront "the bitter enemy of any struggle anywhere: a loss of interest" as energy wanes, the fatal flaw to be avoided.


As a result, "leaders must continue to invigorate the language that is taking shape under them," even if media interest fades and smaller crowds turn out. Staying the course is key to "change national priorities," indifferent to social justice for decades.


The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) asked "What Happened to Us? How did Israel become a country impossible to live in with dignity?"


Saying "mutual responsibility, equality and justice" are core values, connecting social justice struggles, it explained that for decades Israel "cut budgets and enacted a policy of extreme privatization."


As a result, like America, it dramatically backed away from providing housing help, healthcare, education, employment, and social welfare. Instead, the private sector was given "responsibility" to deliver them, at a price unaffordable for millions.


Notably, "social services have dried up, equality has been trampled, and our common goals as a society have been dashed."


In fact:


(1) Since 2003, rent assistance for eligible recipients was cut in half, then reduced another 30%.


(2) Slashing budgets drastically cut or privatized social services, shutting out those who can't afford them.


(3) Public healthcare spending declined 40%.


(4) Though unemployment is relatively low, so are wages and benefits.


(5) Over the last decade, 250,000 classroom instruction hours were cut, despite somewhat increasing them in the past two years. Moreover, the expenditure per pupil is lower than the average in developed countries.


(6) Over the past decade, eligibility for unemployment benefits have tightened, the benefits paid reduced, and period extending them cut. Moreover, since 2003, income support for eligible recipients was slashed by 30% per family. In addition, less public transportation, rental assistance and property tax relief was provided.


Notably, one in four Israelis are impoverished, including one in three children. Moreover, over a fourth more are in danger of becoming one of the country's poor. It's a shocking indictment of an unequal, uncaring society, concerned only about wealth, power and military might, a small scale replica of America, throwing its citizens overboard for the same reasons.


As a result, sustaining popular outrage in Israel is crucial. In America, it's vital to ignite it more disruptively than in decades. It's the only way social justice is ever achieved at a time it's so desperately needed.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Contravideo 15M Israel


Growing Israeli Tyranny

 Growing Israeli Tyranny - by Stephen Lendman


For years, America and Israel followed similar paths toward full-blown tyranny, threatening all their citizens. Believing either is democratic and egalitarian is ludicrous and nonsensical, especially now under right-wing neoliberal governments, cracking down hard against challenges to their authority. 


In Israel, moreover, Arabs have no rights. In fact, they're treated more like fifth-column threats than citizens with equal rights as Jews. They never had them or do now. 


Three articles, among others, discussed Israeli governance under Netanyahu and Israel's most extremist ever Knesset, accessed through the following links:








Since becoming prime minister on March 31, 2009 for the second time (earlier serving from June 1996 - July 1999), Netanyahu's hardline coalition government enacted measures repressive enough to make some right-of-center politicians blush. At the same time, left-of-center ones worry where Israel is heading, a direction they very much oppose. 


Already, Netanyahu's gone a long way toward wrecking Israeli society, similar to what Obama's done to America, handing it more than ever to wealth and power interests, especially bankers, war profiteers and militarists. 


Moreover, Congress and Israel's Knesset enacted numerous hardline measures. This article discusses a new one MKs will now consider called, "Basic Act: Israel - the State of the Jewish Nation," not one for all its people. 


On August 7, a Haaretz editorial headlined, "New Knesset bill is a danger to Israeli democracy," pretending one ever existed, while highlighting a growing threat, saying:


Headed by Kadima's Avi Dichter (an unindicted war criminal), 40 MKs introduced the measure to establish Israel as the "national home of the Jewish people," replacing its "fragile definition (of) a Jewish democratic state (with) a nationalist and religious" one.


Redefining Israel is covered in detail, while democracy "is reduced to one short clause, (leaving) much room for interpretation as a dictatorship of the majority rather than a regime committed to civil rights and the protection of minorities."


Moreover, removing Arabic as one of Israel's official languages serves to erase the culture, heritage, and native tongue of one-fifth of its citizens, what no other "democracy" ever conceived, let alone tried to do.


The measure thus tells Arabs what they already know - they're unwanted people in Israeli society, "second-class citizens whose taxes will be used to preserve Jewish heritage...."


It also affirms Judaism and Jewish superiority over other religious groups, freedom and equal rights, trashing core democratic principles. In addition, preferentially instituting Judaic law "opens the door to the destruction of the judicial system and its subordination to religious political power," erasing what for some is an inviolable  firewall between church and state.


As a result, if this measure passes, it will make Israel as unlivable for Jews as all others. In fact, growing numbers already voted with their feet and left. Under this bill, those remaining might stampede.


Proposed Provisions of the New Law 


The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) explained the new measure's provisions as introduced, subject to amendments and other changes.


"A Jewish State:" 


(1) Israel is the national home for Jews, based on their cultural and historic heritage.


(2) National self-determination is reserved exclusively for Jews.


(3) This basic law (Israel has no constitution) and other legislation "shall be interpreted as stipulated by this clause."


"A Democratic State:" Israel is a democratic regime. Of course, it's not and never was. It just keeps getting regressively worse.


"State's Symbols:" 


(1) Hatikva is its national anthem.


(2) Its current Star of David flag is the official one.


(3) the Menorah is the official State emblem.


"Language:" Hebrew alone is the official one.


"Right of Return:" Reserved exclusively for all Jews anywhere to make aliyah (immigrate) and become Israeli citizens. The message to non-Jews is keep out!


"Ingathering of the Exiles and Jewish Settlement:" Steps will be taken to promote and fund them.


"Connection with Jews in the Diaspora:" 


(1) Steps will be taken to link all Jews.


(2) Jews in trouble or captivity elsewhere will be helped.


"Jewish Heritage:" 


(1) Jewish culture and heritage will be cultivated and preserved.


(2) Jewish history, heritage and traditions will be taught at educational establishments serving Jews.


"The Right to Preserve Heritage:"


(1) All Israeli residents (of all religions and nationalities) "may work to preserve their culture, heritage, language, and identity." At the same time, those for non-Jews are marginalized, maligned, and denied equal rights.


(2) Communities, including those representing other religions may establish separate communal settlements. It's called apartheid, excluding non-Jews from Jewish areas.


"The Official Calendar:" Only the Jewish one is recognized.


"Independence Day and Memorials:"


(1) "Independence Day is the State's national holiday."


(2) Memorial Day and Holocaust Day are official State commemoration days.


"Sabbatical Days:" Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Members of other communities may choose their own. However, commemorating them publicly is discouraged or prevented, especially Nakba Day when Israeli forces use disproportionate force against Palestinians.


"Jewish Law:"


(1) Designated as the "legislators' source of inspiration."


(2) Rulings should exclusively reflect Israel's heritage.


"Guarding Holy Sites:" They're to be protected from desecration or other harm.


"Durability:" If enacted, this law may not be altered unless replaced by another Basic Act.


On August 3, this measure was presented to the Knesset for consideration. Hopefully a majority in it will denounce and reject it.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



New York Times Opposition to Palestinian Self-Determination

 New York Times Opposition to Palestinian Self-Determination - by Stephen Lendman


In September, when the General Assembly meets (beginning 9/13), Palestinians will seek de jure UN membership. Unless current policy changes, it will ask for official recognition as an independent sovereign state. Currently, it has Observer State Status only, denying its right to vote.


Israel opposes recognition. So does Obama, both Houses of Congress, and The New York Times.


Earlier articles explained the following:


(1) Last March, Israel told UN Security Council members and other prominent EU countries it will act unilaterally if the General Assembly grants Palestine de jure membership in September inside 1967 borders, 22% of historic Palestine.


(2) If granted, Israel will likely deny recognition, continuing its illegal occupation, this time against a sovereign country. Moreover, expect it to accelerate West Bank/East Jerusalem land seizures, isolating Palestinians on smaller portions of worthless scrub land.


(3) While rhetorically favoring Palestinian statehood, Obama categorically rejects PA officials seeking it unilaterally. Instead, he wants Israel to decide its terms, size, locations and timetable. In other words, he supports Israeli veto power of Palestinian rights, including sovereignty, an unacceptable/illegal condition under international law.


In a White House statement, he also "emphasized that a vote at the United Nations will never create an independent Palestinian state" even though defying a two-thirds majority General Assembly affirmation is illegal. More on that below.


(4) Last December 15, Congress (by voice vote) passed HR 1765: "Supporting a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and condemning unilateral measures to declare or recognize a Palestinian state, and for other purposes," including:


"affirm(ing) that the United States would deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any (Security Council resolution) to establish or recognize (one) outside of an agreement by the two parties."


Obama endorses this policy.


However, Washington earlier provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent nation. According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it can't reverse its position by vetoing a Security Council (SC) resolution calling for Palestine's UN admission. 


Any veto is illegal, subject to further SC action under the Charter's Chapter VI. Ultimately, the SC only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a two-thirds majority. At this time, enough support exists to get it.


Moreover, UN Charter Article 80(1) and others empower the General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood and take all necessary measures to end Israel's illegal occupation. If sovereignty is granted, it's more than ever essential to do so, holding Israel fully accountable for not complying.


Up to now, however, Washington's threatened Security Council veto prevented de jure membership, despite its illegality under international law and its pledge not to do so against any state seeking UN membership.


In fact, the General Assembly has sole authority to admit new members, not the Security Council. If Washington uses its veto as threatened, the GA can circumvent it under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution. 


Next month we'll know three things:


-- whether Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will follow through on his promise to seek sovereignty and de jure UN membership through the General Assembly; 


-- if so, whether a majority of member states will defy Washington/Israeli bullying by acting responsibly; and


-- if de jure membership and sovereignty are granted, will Washington and Israel retaliate repressively.


Moreover, it's a long time from now to mid-September, plenty for hardball Israeli/Washington tactics to subvert the process or intimidate Abbas to remain a collaborationist Israeli ally and do it for them. 


New York Times Endorses Wrong Over Right


On August 7, its editorial headlined, "Palestinians and the UN," saying:


We "have sympathy for their yearning and their frustration," but nowhere near enough nor respect for international law.


"If the Palestinians want full UN membership, they have to win the backing of the Security Council."


Fact check: false as explained above.


"The United States will undoubtedly veto any resolution."


Fact check: true, but doing so is illegal. The Times didn't explain.


"The Palestinians (will either) ask the General Assembly to recognize them as a state or give them observer status as a state."


Fact check: Palestine already has observer status - in 1974 to the PLO, then in 1998 to participate in general debates with other rights, except to vote.


"The best way, likely the only way, to (avoid being "more alienated") is with the start of serious negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians."


Fact check: Like surgical pain to remove a cancer, Washington/Israeli retaliation may be part of the package for freedom. The alternative is continued repressive occupation vital to end.


In addition, Israel (like Washington) doesn't negotiate or compromise. It demands. Expecting another way now is delusional. In fact, suggesting it is duplicitous.


"The White House is working with Israel and the Quartet (US/EU/UN/Russia) on a statement setting out parameters for negotiations."


Fact check: False. The White House, as always, is obstructionist on everything opposing Israeli interests, notably on granting Palestinians independence within 1967 borders, 22% of historic Palestine, as well as East Jerusalem as its capital, free from Israeli occupation.


"To have any chance of inducing the Palestinians to drop their statehood bid - and finally move the peace process forward - the United States and its partners should put a map and a deal on the table, with a timeline for concluding negotiations...."


Fact check: A "map" already is "on the table." It's the entire West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, nothing less, and no land swaps benefitting Israel. Moreover, the so-called "peace process" was stillborn from inception because neither Israel or Washington will tolerate it. 


Pretending otherwise is contemptibly betraying 44 years of liberating struggle so far unachieved. Of course, The Times notoriously betrays its readers by misreporting and suppressing important truths. Its August 7 editorial is one of many examples, its pages a daily sinkhole of many others as firm policy.


A Final Comment


On August 8, Mondoweiss.net cited an unnamed retired US diplomat, commenting on Palestinian issues. Among others raised, he discussed the following:


-- Palestinians have largely given up on America now and henceforth because of its one-sided bias toward Israel.


-- In September, Mahmoud Abbas will seek Security Council approval for de jure UN membership, knowing a Washington veto will prevent it. As a result, Palestinians will "make this an annual exercise," repeating the same futile process.


-- Ahead of the September meeting, Abbas will encourage anti-Israeli demonstrations. They'll be met by IDF violence. "There is a real fear that the Palestinian security services will somehow be caught in the middle" and be destroyed "as happened during the second Intifada."


-- "Reconciliation with Hamas is on hold until after UN action."


-- Even optimistic Israelis "are deeply pessimistic and see Israel as an isolated, right-wing country with no hope for negotiations." In fact, some long-time citizens "said if they knew what Israel has become, they would never have made aliyah (immigrated)."


-- Throughout Israel and Occupied Palestine, "disillusionment" is the highest he's seen in 40 years. He  also thinks Washington "finally reached the end of the road and totally destroyed its credibility." Moreover, some Israelis have as much contempt for America as for Palestinians.


His analysis suggests what others know and affirm:


-- That Israel and Washington will block all Palestinian attempts for liberating sovereignty and freedom, including ending 44 years of illegal occupation. 


-- They're on their own to achieve it, making it crucial to use the General Assembly, not the Security Council.


-- If current PA leaders won't do it, they must be replaced by others who will.


-- Delaying only buys Israel more time to seize all valued West Bank land it wishes and all East Jerusalem, shutting out Palestinians entirely.


As a result, going for broke this September is essential. Delaying for another year is conceding defeat and denying the aspirations of millions of Palestinians who deserve better. It's high time they got it.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



Destabilizing Syria

 Destabilizing Syria - by Stephen Lendman


What began in January escalated to an uprising in March. Ever since, it's been violent, disruptive and widespread, killing hundreds, and injuring many more. 


The stakes are high. The entire region is affected. It's very similar to what began in Libya, pitting imperial powers against ruling governments for destabilization and control. 


In Libya, it's by war for regime change, colonization and plunder. In Syria, it's to establish another client state, no matter who heads it. More on that below.


On August 3, Joshua Landis' Syria Comment site (joshualandis.com) headlined, "The Armed Gangs Controversy," saying:


Some analysts say "Syrian soldiers are killing fellow soldiers (for disobeying orders), not opposition elements." In fact, nothing proves it. "Most evidence supports government statements that armed opposition elements (are) shooting security personnel."


In April in Banyas, the controversy first surfaced when nine soldiers were killed outside the city. Western media reports about fellow soldiers shooting them were false. Col. Uday Ahmad, brother-in-law of one of the dead, there at the time, said:


"(T)wo military trucks were ambushed as they crossed a highway bridge by well armed men," hiding on the ground and on rooftops. "They raked the two trucks with automatic fire, killing nine. The incident had nothing to do with soldiers refusing orders."


Other shooting reports were similar, involving armed militants, non-Syrian insurgents, responsible for much killing, Western media falsely blaming Syria's military and police. At the same time, most opposition forces are nonviolent, caught between hostile sides.


In Hama, for example, independent video footage contradicts major media reports. It shows opposition elements throwing bodies of soldiers into the Asi River, north of the city.


In fact, a CNN Arwa Damon/Nada Husseini August 2 report (a notable major media exception, perhaps airing only on CNN International) said:


"One prominent anti-government activist (unnamed for reasons of safety) told CNN the state TV account was correct. The bodies are those of Syrian secret police killed by Syrian fighters from Iraq who have joined the anti-government fight," based on information gotten "from an extensive network of informants."


Violent insurgents aren't part of the protest movement. They're destabilizing interventionist forces from outside, responsible for lots of killing. 


Of course, violence begets more of it. Opposition elements incite it. Government forces respond, and nonviolent civilians are caught in the crossfire. 


Landis believes the regime is resilient and will keep fighting, its military having "many advantage(s) over the fragmented opposition." It's "unlikely" to collapse or "fade away." Fighting will continue until one side or the other prevails. Had the Assad government "been willing to hand over power peacefully or establish some sort of constitutional convention, it would have done so already."


The longer fighting continues, the worse off Syrians will be. Many already face economic hardships, exacerbated by months of conflict, disrupting their lives, besides the human toll. 


Landis thinks "(t)he potential for (continued) violence and lawlessness is large. Most worrying is the lack of leadership among opposition forces." More on that below.


Syrian authorities believe they're in control as long as Damascus and Aleppo, its two main cities, are mostly quiet.


Business elites in both cities are pro-regime, fearing much to lose if it's ousted. Sami Moubayed, Damascus-based Forward Magazine editor-in-chief in an August 2 Gulf News article, said:


"(B)oth cities can make or break any political movement - but rarely have they been part of anything that threatens stability and their commercial interests." 


At the same time, the "silence of both cities....won't last for too long" for three reasons:


(1) "Unemployment:" If it rises too high, expect trouble. Many young people already are jobless. If many others join them for a protracted period, they'll be impoverished and angry.


(2) "Lack of community leaders:" Previous ones "pacif(ied)" angry Damascus residents. No one with similar influence is present in either city because "Baathists (haven't let) independent leaders....emerge."


(3) "Demographics:" Both cities are "melting pots," containing elements likely to demonstrate if things break down, because they don't take orders from business leaders.


On August 5, Landis headlined, "Should the US Hasten Assad's Downfall Despite Syria's Absence of Opposition Leaders?" saying:


Opposition forces are leaderless. As a result, "many US policy makers (are) scared. They don't want" the regime ousted until "some structure or leadership (can) take its place."


A power vacuum could produce chaos, an "Iraq (or Afghanistan) redux." Syrian businessmen won't support political change without a safe alternative. They're "not suicidal. They fear having their property expropriated twice in 50 years." Moreover, they've been "inextricably linked" to the regime for decades.


By "fast forward(ing)" change, Washington might "creat(e) a Frankenstein....caus(ing) more destruction and death, not less."


According to Syrian human rights activist/former judge/outspoken Assad regime critic, Haytham al-Maleh:


"If we want to own Syria after the revolution, we must win this struggle on our own," not by foreign intervention, especially imperial powers with their own agenda.


Destabilization and Possible Military Intervention


On the Progressive Radio News Hour, Mahdi Nazemroaya said outside elements are destabilizing Syria, much like how the Libyan uprising began. Where it leads bears close watching.


On Russia Today (RT.com), Michel Chossudovsky covered similar ground and more.


"This is not a peaceful protest movement," he said. "The model of insurrection (in Hama) is very similar to what happened in Daraa at the outset of these so-called protest movements."


Hama is a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold. "This essentially is a confrontation between the government and Muslim Brotherhood." It doesn't reflect Syrian public opinion, "committed to a secular Muslim society."


In fact, "Assad has very strong popular support," as demonstrated by large pro-government rallies. Against them are Islamists "supported by outside forces. We know that's the case," including insurgents from Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.


Major media reports falsify what's happening, presenting one-sided biased accounts. AFP fabricated news about Hama, claiming 500,000 anti-government protesters turned out. "In fact, it wasn't 500,000. It was 10,000." 


Moreover, when mass pro-Assad (or pro-Gaddafi) rallies occur, they're either downplayed or ignored.


In addition, major media reports suppress information about "armed gunmen shooting at police." Even the Israeli press confirmed it, while US and other Western accounts conceal what's going on - "a NATO/US military alliance committing crimes (against) humanity," targeting Syrian civilians as in Libya.


If Western forces intervene militarily, "then we are in for an extended war that goes from the Mediterranean to the Chinese border." As a result, a general war may result with potentially "devastating consequences."


On August 5, RIA Novosti headlined, "NATO plans campaign in Syria, tightens noose around Iran - Rogozin," saying:


"NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the (Assad regime) with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said."


By condemning ongoing violence in Syria, the Security Council suggested military intervention may follow. "It could be a logical conclusion of (Western) military and propaganda operations....against North Africa," Rogozin told Izvestia Friday, saying targeted regimes have opposing views to Western ones.


He also said imperial intervention in Syria and Yemen may precede attacking Iran. 


"The noose around Iran is tightening," he believes. "Military planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region."


In fact, military plans for wars take months to prepare. America has longstanding ones, updated as needed, against a number of targeted nations, including Iran. It also has extensive naval and other forces in the region.


Plans are one thing, however, waging wars another. Many sit on shelves unimplemented, gathering dust. For years, reports circulated about potential imminent attacks on Iran, some accompanied by powerful US naval forces deployed to the region. Nonetheless, nothing happened.


Iran is militarily strong, able to retaliate forcefully against Israel and American forces in Iraq. As a result, attacking it could prove catastrophic, not least because how disruptive it would be to regional oil supplies and prices. 


Blocking the Hormuz Straits alone would prevent around 15 - 17 millions of barrels from passing through daily on average. Attacking Western Gulf oil production, processing and transportation facilities would make things much worse, besides risking the possibility of general war. 


Some analysts, in fact, believe doing so could become WW III if Russia and China intervene to protect their own interests.


For over three decades, US/Iranian relations have been strained, but no wars resulted. Perhaps it's because once something major begins, the potential consequences may be too great to risk.


In other words, the risk/reward ratio may show odds too precarious even for go-for-broke imperial powers to chance. What's ahead this time? In the fullness of time, we'll know, with an important wild card to keep in mind.


With America's economy cratering ahead of its 2012 presidential and congressional elections, a major false flag attack, like 9/11, may be used to incite fear, divert attention from economic woes, and enlist public support for more war besides others now ongoing.


It's the oldest trick in the book, successful virtually every time tried, the Obama administration's ace in the hole perhaps to be played strategically for assured reelection, it hopes. 


As a result, anything ahead is possible to solidify power, even risked global war with potentially catastrophic consequences. Trends analyst Gerald Celente calls Washington politicians "inepts and incompetents." 


With these types in charge, future possibilities are frightening, especially since the business of America is war and grand theft. 


As a result, be wary, worried, and ready to react decisively - to the streets, if necessary, to fight the beast or be devoured by it. No other choice is possible.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.



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