ICC Probe of US War Crimes in Afghanistan. Trump Lashes Back. ICC is “Threat” to America.

By Stephen Lendman

Source

It is fairly well established that Afghanistan, the Taliban, and Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with 9/11 — the mother of all state-sponsored false flags, a pretext for the US to smash one nation after another.

US new millennium forever wars rage against invented enemies with no prospect for resolution because Republicans and Dems reject world peace and the rule of law.

It’s unclear what will come out of the International Criminal Court’s probe of indisputable US war crimes in Afghanistan.

Since established by the Rome Statute in 2002, the ICC never held the US, other Western nations, or Israel accountable for high crimes of war and against humanity.

Only their victims were prosecuted, falsely blamed for the highest of high crimes committed against them by the US, NATO, Israel, and their imperial partners.

For nearly two decades, the ICC operated solely as imperial tool — continuing the same agenda today unless chooses an unprecedented new course for justice.

Though mandated to prosecute individuals (not nations) for crimes of war, against humanity, genocide and aggression, the court never targeted the main offenders of these crimes.

Given its disturbing history, it requires a giant leap of faith to believe it will go where it never went before.

It’s got a lot of proving to do to convince skeptics of its intention to go another way.

In early March, ICC judges authorized an investigation into accusations of war crimes by US military and intelligence personnel, Afghan forces, and the Taliban in the country.

According to Judge Piotr Hofmanski, chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “is authorized to commence investigation in relation to alleged crimes committed on the territory of Afghanistan in the period since 1 May 2003.”

The probe may also include the period since July 1, 2002. Why not from day one of US aggression (10/7/01) wasn’t explained.

US war on the country was planned six months or longer before 9/11.

On the shelf ready to go, it was launched less than 5 weeks after that fateful day.

Many months of planning precede all US wars, nothing impromptu about them.

At the time of the ICC’s March announcement, Pompeo called it “breathtaking (and) reckless,” threatening reprisals against court officials if they investigate US actions in Afghanistan or anywhere else.

Bensouda said the ICC determined that a reasonable basis exists to probe war crimes by US military forces and intelligence operatives in Afghanistan.

She should have said just cause exists to investigate all US wars of aggression against nations threatening no one — including US state terror, illegal sanctions, and other hostile actions against peace, constituting war by other means.

All of the above falls within the ICC’s mandate.

US new millennium direct, proxy, and other types of warmaking alone have been responsible for countless millions of lost lives, vast destruction, and human misery in numerous countries.

They also inflicted enormous harm on ordinary Americans by using US discretionary income to feed the nation’s military, industrial, security complex at the expense of vital homeland needs gone begging.

WikiLeaks’ Afghan war diaries documented the highest of US high crimes against the nation and its people.

They represent the most comprehensive documentation of US aggression against a nation threatening no one since the Pentagon Papers.

Data came mainly from soldiers and intelligence officers, also from US embassies and other sources.

They revealed US criminality in Afghanistan, including coverups, collusion, distortion, and duplicity.

All wars are based on misinformation, disinformation, Big Lies and deception. Truth-telling would destroy pretexts for waging them.

The UN Charter explicitly states under what circumstances war by one nation against another is permitted.

Articles 2(3) and 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes.

Article 2(4) prohibits force or its threatened use.

Article 51 allows the “right of self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member…until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”

Justifiable self-defense is permitted, never preemptive wars for any reasons with no exceptions.

The Security Council alone is authorized to decide under what circumstances warmaking is permitted — not heads of state, legislators, or the courts anywhere.

In 1974, the UN General Assembly defined aggression to mean “the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations.”

Throughout the post-WW II period, the US has been indisputably guilty time and again — today in multiple theaters.

What’s going on unaccountably is what chief Nuremberg Tribunal’s Justice Robert Jackson called “the supreme international crime against peace.”

Time and again, the US breached the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the US War Crimes Act, the UN Torture Convention, the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Genocide Convention, the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles, US Army Field Manual 27-10, and other US and international laws.

If all of the above doesn’t demand accountability in an international tribunal, what does!

WikiLeaks lifted the fog of war by documenting US atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning were arrested, imprisoned, and brutalized for releasing the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, collateral murder video, and related US diplomatic cables.

They both should have been honored instead of demonized, imprisoned, and brutally mistreated — for the “crime” of truth-telling about what everyone has a right to know.

In response to the ICC’s announced intention to probe US war crimes in Afghanistan, Trump declared a national emergency for what he called a “threat” to the US by the ICC.

He issued an executive order, authorizing (illegal) sanctions and visa restrictions against ICC officials and their family members.

Pompeo lashed out at the court, saying the Trump regime is “determined to prevent having Americans and our friends and allies in Israel and elsewhere hauled in” for ICC prosecution.”

In response to Trump regime actions, a statement by the Court said the following:

“(T)hreats and coercive actions cannot be allowed to hinder the rule of law.”

“These attacks (by the Trump regime) constitute an escalation and an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the Court’s judicial proceedings.”

“An attack on the ICC also represents an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes, for many of whom the Court represents the last hope for justice.”

In 2002, the American Service Members’ Protection Act (ASPA, aka Hague Invasion Act) was enacted to prevent US “military personnel and other (US) elected and appointed officials (from) criminal prosecution by an international court to which the United States is not party.”

The measure authorizes the president to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court.”

The US is not a state party to the Rome Statute or ICC.

The principle of universal jurisdiction principle (UJ) holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore, including genocide, crimes of war and against humanity.

Under UJ, nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won’t, can’t, or hasn’t for any reason.

US Nuremberg-level high crimes of war and against humanity in Afghanistan and numerous other countries are far too grave to ignore.

It’s long past time for unaccountability of its officials to end.

Holding them responsible may be the best chance to pursue world peace and stability over permanent US wars on humanity that one day may kill us all if not stopped.

The Illusion of Economic Recovery Began in the US

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, June 07, 2020

Protracted main street depression conditions have existed in the US since 2008 with no relief for ordinary Americans in prospect.

Before economic collapse this year, unemployment exceeded 20%, Labor Department numbers rigged to pretend otherwise.

The so-called U-3 BLS number omits working-age Americans without jobs who want them, including many longterm unemployed individuals not looking after months of failure to find employment.

Monthly BLS jobs report conceal what should be headline news, including that most US jobs created are poverty-wage, poor-or-no benefit temporary or part-time service industry ones.

Most households need two or more to survive. Living on the edge, they’re one or a few missed paydays from homelessness, hunger, despair and overall deprivation.

Record numbers of Americans are food insecure, the specter of hunger haunting the world’s richest country because its ruling class serves privileged interests exclusively at the expense of the public welfare.

It’s what the scourge of neoliberal harshness is all about, supported by both right wings of the one-party state.

It’s not a pretty picture. “America the beautiful” is a mirage in a nation where poverty is the leading growth industry — disturbing reality concealed by establishment media.

Michal Harrington explained the problem in 1962, things far worse today than what he described in his book titled “The Other America,” saying:

“In morality and in justice, every citizen should be committed to abolishing the other America, for it is intolerable that the richest nation in human history should allow such needless suffering.”

“But more than that, if we solve the problem of the other America, we will have learned how to solve the problems of all of America.”

Food insecurity, hunger, and unemployment haunted America at higher levels than at any time since the Great Depression before 2020 economic collapse began.

Now they’re off the charts with no near-or-longer-term plan for turning things around — just continued governance of, by, and for the privileged few alone at a time of a growing permanent underclass.

During the Great Depression, FDR explained that “one-third of (the US was) ill-housed, ill-clad (and) ill-nourished” — the problem far greater today than then.

It’s because unemployment is far greater now than in the 1930s, the highest in US history by far.

FDR’s “New Deal for the American people” was polar opposite today’s bipartisan conspiracy against public health and welfare.

He called “vast unemployment (of his time) the greatest menace to our social order,” calling for “social justice” that’s fast eroding today at a time when boosting it greatly is needed.

Friday’s jobs report concealed reality. Economist John Williams said BLS numbers are “not particularly credible.”

“Prior period downside revisions” weren’t explained, nor “revised methodologies and seasonal adjustments” that distorted reality.

Nearly 5 million unemployed Americans were counted as “employed, the third (consecutive) month of acknowledged misreporting.”

Last month’s reporting period was at a time of US lockdown nationwide.

Yet the BLS claimed 2.5 million new jobs were created — when millions of new weekly unemployment claims continue to be filed.

The report noted that hundreds of thousands more workers were permanently laid off because lost business isn’t coming back soon.

Hundreds of thousands of public workers continue to be let go, mostly at the state and local levels because of severe budget constraints, revenues falling way short of the ability to maintain public services at pre-economic crisis levels.

Through May into early June, data show the US economy contracting, far from expanding.

Key economic metrics contracted to record-low levels. Q II GDP is estimated to show around a 50% contraction, a number far exceeding anything during the Great Depression or any previous time in US history.

Based on how US unemployment was calculated pre-1990, Williams now puts it at 35%, over one-third of US workers without jobs.

Along with the vast majority of others underemployed, the US is a nation of paupers while its privileged class never had things better.

Notably the wealth of super-rich Americans is increasing during hard times while food banks are hard-pressed to feed millions of hungry Americans.

The USA is a nation in decline, a surging stock market concealing reality.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) said nationwide “economic pain” continues, stressing it’ll “be longstanding without” considerable federal aid — that’s not forthcoming.

California, the state with the nation’s largest economy, teeters on bankruptcy, needing $54 billion in federal aid to provide basic services.

Many are being slashed, including for health, education, and other vital programs.

New York, Illinois and other US states are face similar hard choices.

Instead of federal aid to states in need and to stimulate economic growth and jobs creation, trillions of federal dollars went to Wall Street and other corporate America favorites.

Crumbs alone have gone to the unemployed, the impoverished underemployed, the “ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished.”

While most US states ended lockdowns, others likely to end them in short order, mass unemployment remains at a record high.

Over 40 million Americans employed in January were fired, laid off, or furloughed, record numbers over a short period.

Small and medium-sized businesses were most affected, the backbone of the nation.

Around half of lost jobs are permanent because countless numbers of shut down companies face bankruptcy.

The Wall Street Journal reported that 722 US firms filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May alone, a near-50% year-over-year increase, much more of the same ahead.

Many reopening won’t operate at previous levels, notably restaurants, hotels, airlines, shopping malls, retail stores, commercial real estate, enterprises related to tourism, and others relying on large gatherings like sports.

According to US bankruptcy attorney James Conlan, “we’re going to see an extraordinary number of large corporate bankruptcies, not just in the US but across the globe.”

The effects of unprecedented US economic collapse won’t magically turn around any time soon — especially with no federal economic stimulus and jobs creation programs planned.

Trump’s phony Friday claim about the US economy ready to take off like a “rocket ship” belies the dismal state of main street America — his regime and Congress doing nothing to turn things around.

What happens when millions of unemployed Americans can’t pay mortgage, car loans, or credit card bills.

Are mass evictions coming, numbers of homeless to increase exponentially, along with growing hunger?

The notion that Friday’s jobs report showed the beginning of economic recovery is belied by reality in US cities and towns nationwide.

Ongoing protests against institutionalized racism, inequality and injustice met by police violence reflect America’s dismal state.

It’s not about to change by the nation’s ruling class without sustained public activism in the streets for redress of longstanding grievances.

It’s the only way change ever comes. There’s no other way.

Power yields nothing without a demand. It never did and never will.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from Charleston’s The Digitel | CC BY 2.0The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

US aware Iran will respond ‘very strongly’ if Venezuela-bound ships attacked: Analyst

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Source

Sunday, 17 May 2020 5:03 PM

The United States is aware of Iran’s military might and knows from the recent experience of the Islamic Republic’s retaliatory strikes in the wake of the assassination of anti-terror commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani that Tehran will defend itself “very strongly” if Washington dared to attack its fuel-carrying vessels en route to Venezuela, says an American analyst.

Stephen Lendman, an author and political commentator in Chicago, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Sunday, while commenting on reports suggesting that Iran is shipping tons of gasoline to Venezuela in defiance of US sanctions on both countries.

Unconfirmed reports and tanker monitoring groups said at least five Iranian-flagged tankers are transporting fuel to Venezuela through the Atlantic Ocean despite US sanctions targeting both Tehran and Caracas.

Iran has intentionally hoisted its own flag over the huge tankers and is shipping large consignments of gasoline to Venezuela even though the US could try to intercept the shipments and seize the tankers.

The US Navy is said to have deployed its USS Detroit (LCS-7), USS Lassen (DDG-82), USS Preble (DDG-88), and USS Farragut (DDG-99) to the Caribbean along with its patrol aircraft Boeing P8-Poseidon for possible encounter with the Iranian vessels.

This comes as Iran has the upper hand thanks to its missile power, which was showed off to the US when retaliatory missile attacks by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in January pounded the Ain al-Assad Airbase in Iraq, which accommodated American troops.

Following is the full transcription of Lendman’s interview with Press TV website:

Reportedly Iran is shipping gasoline to Venezuela. Venezuela’s oil industry and refining capacity has been greatly eroded because of US sanctions that have deprived the country of needed revenues.Same thingis happening in Iran, of course, and to other nations that the US has waged sanctions war on.

Iran and Venezuela have cooperative relations. Both countries have cooperative relations with many other countries. The US is the belligerent, not Iran, not Venezuela. Those countries threaten nobody. They are at war with nobody. Their economic ties are perfectly legal. The US sanctions are perfectly illegal. There was nothing legal about US sanctions unilaterally imposed on any country. I’ve said this many times and written it. The only authority to impose sanctions on any nations comes from the Security Council, not from any one nation against another, and they are no exception to that law.

So US sanctions are illegal. Economic relations between Iran and Venezuela are entirely legal. They can ship anything; either country can ship any products to the other country. They could do the same thing to any other countries. This is what international commerce is all about, perfectly legal and acceptable. What will the US do? Well, nobody can predict exactly what it might do.

The last time the US acted with hostility against Iran by assassinating General Soleimani in January, Iran responded very harshly to the US. The US knows that Iran is not a weak power. It can defend itself. If attacked, it certainly could defend itself very strongly. If the vessel was seized, well maybe Iran will seize the US vessel. So, Iran can certainly respond and it will respond to any illegal actions the US takes against its vessel so on the high seas or any other illegal actions that cause harm to the country. The US is aware of that.

Will it interdict the Iranian vessels? Apparently five of them are on the way to Venezuela with gasoline, maybe more to come after this. Iran has sent technicians to Venezuela to help restore its refining capacity. China has done the same thing. Technicians for both countries are working in Venezuela, helping to restore the refineries and this will happen; they’re trading with Venezuela. I don’t think the US would dare attack China but you never know, because there are lunatics in Washington and the actions of lunatics can never be predicted.

But one thing that people with the least or a little sanity want you to know that if the US conducts a hostile act against Iran, Iran will respond appropriately in kind. And it will happen, probably pretty quickly. My guess is the ships will arrive at the destination but I certainly can’t say that with assuredness, because again, nobody could predict what the US is doing. And what it’s doing already? Waging wars against multiple countries, hot wars, and by other means sanctions, state terrorism, things like this.

A nation that acts this way against other nations might end up doing anything either willfully or by accident, so nobody knows. But I wrote about the shipment of gasoline for Miranda, Venezuela. I’ll follow this issue. If there are any developments I write more about it. I hope the vessels will arrive without incident and more to follow, and maybe over time, a little bit of normality will come to both countries because hopefully, the world community at one point will no longer put up with US aggression. That’s the only way to solve this problem.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

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US Blame Game Twist: Suing China for COVID-19 Outbreaks

By Stephen Lendman

Source

No evidence suggests that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab or from bat-eating Chinese people.

Writer Allen Yu explained that no Chinese tradition of bat-eating exists. Videos suggesting otherwise weren’t from Wuhan or elsewhere in China.

Filming was “in Palau or Indonesia, in locales where bats have traditionally been consumed as food,” said Yu, adding:

The bat-eating theory doesn’t hold up. “According to current research, it is not likely that bat (or other) consumption” of wild animals caused COVID-19.

Researcher Larry Romanoff explained that “Japanese and Taiwanese epidemiologists and pharmacologists have determined that the new coronavirus (COVID-19) almost certainly originated in the US.”

In September 2019, Japanese citizens who never visited China were infected with the novel coronavirus in Hawaii — “long before the outbreak in Wuhan.”

Falsely blaming China for its origination is all about the Trump regime shifting blame for its own wrongdoing and failings onto others.

French virologist/Nobel laureate for Medicine Luc Montagnier said COVID-19 was man-made, not transmitted to humans from bats or other wildlife.

In April, a peer-reviewed study published in the Antiviral Research medical journal revealed unique COVID-19 features that facilitate human-to-human transmission — making the novel coronavirus much more contagious than seasonal flu/influenza.

The study also found no evidence that COVID-19 evolved naturally. Its genetic coding isn’t natural. 

Most likely it was engineered with elements from MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) — first reported in 2012, according to the study.

Genomics researcher James Lyons-Weiler explained that “(t)here is no doubt that there is a novel sequence in 2019-nCoV” —the virus causing COVID-19 disease, adding:

“IPAK researchers found a sequence similarity between a pShuttle-SN recombination vector sequence and INS1378,” indicating human engineering.

Infectious diseases expert Dr. Yuhong Dong explained that “this new coronavirus has unprecedented virologic features that suggest genetic engineering may have been involved in its creation.”

“The virus (has) severe clinical features. Thus it poses a huge threat to humans.” 

“It is imperative for scientists, physicians, and people all over the world, including governments and public health authorities, to make every effort to investigate this mysterious and suspicious virus in order to elucidate its origin and to protect the ultimate future of the human race.”

A Lancet report said “recombination is probably not the reason for emergence of this virus” — meaning mutations likely didn’t occur naturally.

Greek scientists found no connection between COVID-19 and viruses occurring naturally, saying:

“(T)he new coronavirus provides a new lineage for almost half of its genome, with no close genetic relationships to other viruses within the subgenus of sarbecovirus” — meaning it didn’t occur from natural mutations.

China’s Global Times accused the Trump regime of “international hooliganism” by the following tactics:

Accusing Beijing of initially “concealing” COVID-19 outbreaks, claiming it let the disease spread and “harm the US and the world.”

Claiming China concealed its “actual number of deaths.”

By its actions, the Trump regime fueled anti-China sentiment and encouraged individual and class-action lawsuits — while diverting attention from its own failings.

On March 13, Thailand Medical News (TMN) news reported that “traditional Chinese medicine concoctions used alone or in conjunction with antiviral protocols (is the) secret to (its success in) controlling…COVID-19 outbreaks.”

A peer-reviewed Lancet study of 102 Chinese COVID-19 infected patients treated by the above protocol showed nearly all recovered.

Another study of 701 confirmed COVID-19 infected patients showed that over 90% were cured, had improved symptoms, or were stable with no further deterioration when treated withe above protocol.

China is in the forefront of combatting COVID-19, the US a laggard for failing to prepare for what its officials knew was possible long in advance of outbreaks, and failing to provide proper help to states, local communities, and ordinary Americans in need.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) said “minimal diagnostic” testing for weeks after outbreaks began contributed to their spread, adding:

Faulty test kits produced inconclusive or invalid results, making a bad situation worse.

The proof of the pudding is in the data. The US by far leads the world in COVID-19 outbreaks (around 700,000 through Friday), deaths (about 37,000), and mishandling of the public health crisis.

The true seriousness of the disease will best be known in hindsight.

Calling it a hoax is a disservice to growing numbers of infected Americans and others abroad.

According to CDC data for April 14, more Americans died from COVID-19 infection than any other cause.

The Trump regime’s blame game, falsely accusing China for originating COVID-19, encouraged multiple class action lawsuits in the US.

Through mid-April, numerous suits were filed against China and other targets, seeking trillions of dollars in compensation.

One filed in late March by California property managers and an accounting firm that represent small businesses seeks compensation from China for what it had nothing to do with.

A Florida class action suit representing millions of state residents seeks to cash in the same way.

Freedom Watch head Larry Klayman leads another anti-China class-action suit that falsely accuses Beijing of unleashing a biological weapon on humanity.

Anti-China lawsuits are highly unlikely to be successful. No evidence suggests Beijing’s responsibility for COVID-19 outbreaks.

According to California attorney Kent Schmidt, numerous class-action suits were filed, adding:

“These early filings can be indicative of the liabilities that companies should take into consideration and inform their practices now to avoid getting hit with one of these costly lawsuits.”

A class-action case was filed against Norwegian Cruise Lines. It alleges that the company made “unproven (and) blatantly false” statements regarding COVID-19 in order to entice customers to purchase cruises, thus endangering the lives of both their customers and crew members.”

Other cruise line companies may face similar lawsuits.

A virtual cottage industry of litigation stems from COVID-19 outbreaks.

A Washington state civic organization sued Fox News for claiming that COVID-19 is a hoax.

Stating an opinion, true or false, doesn’t involve legal liability.

New York Sports Clubs was sued for allegedly defrauding members during the shutdown.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals was sued for allegedly claiming it developed a vaccine for COVID-19.

A union representing state employees sued Alaska for subjecting them to health and safety risks from COVID-19 outbreaks.

Use of Zoom communications telecommuting application risks lawsuits for violating privacy protections. At least one class-action lawsuit already was filed against the company.

Tort lawyers in the US and perhaps elsewhere see COVID-19 outbreaks as a chance to cash in big.

A Final Comment

Republican Senator Josh Hawley introduced the so-called Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act to hold China responsible for outbreaks.

The measure would strip Beijing of immunity in US court and permit lawsuits against the state and its authorities.

GOP Senator Tom Cotton and Rep. Dan Crenshaw introduced legislation to let US citizens sue China for “damages” caused by COVID-19.

Given anti-China fervor in the US in more normal times, now bordering on hysteria, the measure will likely become the law of the land.

The so-called Immunities Act protects foreign nations from being sued in US courts — except for China.

Enactment of these measures into law will likely produce a greater divide between both countries, making mutual cooperation all the harder.

Sino/Russian COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Virtually anything is a convenient pretext for the US, its imperial partners, and press agent media to bash Russia and China.

Credible evidence is absent like always before. Most people believe almost anything repeated enough by establishment media.

Last month, a so-called European External Action Service report accused Russia of waging a COVID-19 disinformation campaign “to aggravate the public health crisis in Western countries…in line with the Kremlin’s broader strategy of attempting to subvert European societies (sic).”

No supportive evidence was presented because none exists. The report followed Russia’s response to Italy’s request for help in dealing with large-scale COVID-19 outbreaks in the country.

Russia sent planeloads of medicines, medical equipment and supplies, hazmat protective gear, and mobile sanitizing devices, along with virologists and epidemiologists to help.

Italian officials expressed gratitude. Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio personally welcomed the first Russian aircraft’s arrival. 

Health Ministry undersecretary Sandra Zampa, Governor of Lombardy Attilio Fontana, and a number of local officials expressed gratitude. 

So did ordinary Italian citizens on social media.

In response to the fake news EU report, Vladimir Putin debunked it, stressing :

“If there was even a single concrete example, I could comment on it, but once again they are just unfounded accusations.”

The NYT never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to bash Russia and China, falsely saying:

Both countries “seized on (COVID-19) to wage disinformation campaigns that seek to sow doubts about the United States’ handling of the crisis and deflect attention from their own struggles with the pandemic,” citing unnamed US “intelligence officials and diplomats,” whoever they are lacking credibility.

The US intelligence community and political class are notorious liars. Virtually nothing they say can be believed.

The same goes for Times reports about sovereign nations on the US target list for regime change.

According to the self-styled newspaper of record, Russia and especially China are “traffick(ing)  in conspiracy theories to spread fear in Europe and political division in the United States (sic),” adding:

Beijing “used a network of government-linked social media accounts to spread discredited, and sometimes contradictory, theories (sic).” 

“China has adopted Russia’s playbook for more covert operations, mimicking Kremlin disinformation campaigns and even using and amplifying some of the same conspiracy sites (sic).”

As always when these type accusations are made, not a shred of credible evidence supports them because none exists.

Times bashing didn’t stop with Russia and China. Iran’s truth-telling was slammed for truth-telling remarks like the following by anthropologist/political analyst Dennis Etler on Press TV, saying:

The same goes for Times reports about sovereign nations on the US target list for regime change.

According to the self-styled newspaper of record, Russia and especially China are “traffick(ing)  in conspiracy theories to spread fear in Europe and political division in the United States (sic),” adding:

Nor mine Press TV published in its view point section, slamming healthcare know-nothings Mike Pence and Jared Kushner in charge of steering the Trump regime’s COVID-19 task force on the rocks — when competence, caring, and medical expertise are badly needed.

When countless millions of Americans are in dire need of federal leadership and help, Trump cares only about getting reelected, serving monied interests, and his own welfare exclusively — the rights, needs, and well-being of ordinary Americans dismissed.

The Times conspicuously quotes advocates of privileged interests over the general welfare that time and again demonize nations on the US target list for regime change.

State Department official/former US intelligence operative Lea Gabrielle was quoted, saying:

COVID-19 is “an opportunity for malign actors to exploit the information space for harmful purposes (sic).”

Beijing “used a network of government-linked social media accounts to spread discredited, and sometimes contradictory, theories (sic).” 

“China has adopted Russia’s playbook for more covert operations, mimicking Kremlin disinformation campaigns and even using and amplifying some of the same conspiracy sites (sic).”

As always when these type accusations are made, not a shred of credible evidence supports them because none exists.

Times bashing didn’t stop with Russia and China. Iran’s truth-telling was slammed for truth-telling remarks like the following by anthropologist/political analyst Dennis Etler on Press TV, saying:

What she, other Trump regime officials, and congressional members falsely attribute to Russia, China, Iran, and other US invented enemies applies to Washington under both right wings of its war party, not nations targeted for regime change.

According to the Times, China’s successful containment of COVID-19 and citing the US as its origin is “part of (its) information war,” ignoring its truth-telling.

Michel Chossudovsky’s Global Research.ca was falsely accused of “traffic(ing) in conspiracy theories, many of them pro-Russian and anti-American (sic).”

As a frequent Times basher and contributor to Global Research, the broadsheet likely slams me for the same phony reasons.

Anything diverging from the official falsified narrative is considered disinformation and conspiracy theory proliferation by the Times.

Like other establishment media, it’s a longtime mouthpiece for privileged interests at the expense of truth and full disclosure on issues mattering most.

COVID-19 is a global human health and welfare issue. 

What she, other Trump regime officials, and congressional members falsely attribute to Russia, China, Iran, and other US invented enemies applies to Washington under both right wings of its war party, not nations targeted for regime change.

According to the Times, China’s successful containment of COVID-19 and citing the US as its origin is “part of (its) information war,” ignoring its truth-telling.

Michel Chossudovsky’s Global Research.ca was falsely accused of “traffic(ing) in conspiracy theories, many of them pro-Russian and anti-American (sic).”

As a frequent Times basher and contributor to Global Research, the broadsheet likely slams me for the same phony reasons.

Anything diverging from the official falsified narrative is considered disinformation and conspiracy theory proliferation by the Times.

Like other establishment media, it’s a longtime mouthpiece for privileged interests at the expense of truth and full disclosure on issues mattering most.

COVID-19 is a global human health and welfare issue. 

Trump Regime Escalates War on China by Other Means

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, April 10, 2020

China is aggressively targeted by Washington because of its growing political, economic and military power on the world stage.

Pompeo falsely accused its ruling authorities of “repression…unfair competition…predatory economic practices, (and) a more aggressive military posture (sic).”

All of the above explain how the US operates, its agenda defined by its war on humanity at home and abroad — COVID-19 used as a pretext to pursue it.

Enactment of the US Secure and Trusted Communications Act last month was the latest anti-China shoe to drop.

It requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a $1 billion fund to help small telecom firms remove existing Chinese equipment the Trump regime and Congress consider a threat to US security — despite none posed, no evidence suggesting it.

The measure prohibits using US subsidies to buy network communications equipment from Huawei and other Chinese tech companies.

A Justice Department statement said various “Executive Branch agencies unanimously recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoke and terminate China Telecom’s authorizations to provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States,” falsely adding:

The company’s operations in the US potentially lets the firm “engage in malicious cyber activity enabling economic espionage and disruption and misrouting of US communications.”

A joint disinformation statement by House Energy and Commerce Committee co-sponsors said the following:

“Securing our networks from malicious foreign interference is critical to America’s wireless future, especially as some communications providers rely on equipment from companies like Huawei that pose an immense threat to America’s national and economic security (sic).”

The measure has nothing to do with “ensuring the integrity of America’s telecommunications systems.”

It’s all about China bashing, the latest step to weaken the country economically and technologically.

It aims to ban use of products by Chinese tech giants Huawei, ZTE, and other high-tech firms from the US on the phony pretext of national security concerns.US-China Economic Warfare: Chinese Enterprises Blacklisted by the US

Last year, the US Commerce Department’s so-called “entity list” effectively banned Huawei and scores of other Chinese tech companies from the US market and supply chain.

They include enterprises  involved in producing aviation related products, semiconductors, engineering, as well as other high-tech products and components.

Falsely claiming these enterprises act “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States” is cover for wanting corporate America to have a leg up on Chinese competition — especially related to the rollout of 5G technology, Huawei leading the race globally.

At stake are trillions of dollars of economic value, why Huawei and other Chinese tech firms are targeted by Washington.

Blacklisted companies are prohibited from purchasing US technology without Washington’s permission, Huawei and its 70 affiliate companies notably targeted.

According to Competitive Carriers Association director Steven Barry, the new law “essentially attempt(s) to rebuild the airplane in mid-flight” by requiring US users of Chinese telecom equipment to remove and replace it while attempting to maintain uninterrupted operations.

On Monday, the US  Semiconductor Industry Association, National Foreign Trade Council, and seven other US industry groups wrote Trump regime Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, saying:

Proposed US changes “result in significant impacts to the semiconductor industry, its global supply chain, and the broader technology sector,” adding:

“Semiconductors drive the functionality in advanced medical equipment used by health professionals to treat the public” and enable telework.

SEMI president Ajit Manocha wrote Trump, saying proposed anti-China changes will disrupt over $20 billion in US industry business annually, adding:

New rules will “serve as a disincentive for further investments and innovation in the US and lead to the design-out of US technology and components.”

They’ll also disrupt supply chains that are “critical to fighting” COVID-19.

New rules aren’t finalized. Industry pushback may not be enough to halt the Trump regime from fully enforcing them along with more of the same to come.

A Final Comment

COVID-19 is a global issue, falsely called the “Wuhan virus” by Trump and other regime officials. Most likely it originated in the US, not China.

On April 7, UK-based Nature magazine apologized for associating COVID-19 with China, saying:

“That we did so was an error on our part, for which we take responsibility and apologize,” adding:

“(W)hen (a viral) outbreak happens, everyone is at risk, regardless of who they are or where they are from.”

“(A)ssociat(ing) a virus and the disease it causes with a specific place is irresponsible and needs to stop.”

Since early COVID-19 outbreaks, “people of Asian descent around the world have been subjected to racist attacks, with untold human costs” — Chinese nationals mostly affected.

“(W)e must all do everything we can to avoid and reduce stigma; not associate COVID-19 with particular groups of people or places; and emphasize that viruses do not discriminate — we are all at risk.”

“Coronavirus stigma must stop — now.”

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Pompeo Warns ICC Against Investigating US/Israeli War Crimes

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Since established by the Rome Statute in 2002, the International Criminal Court never held the US, other Western nations, or Israel accountable for high crimes of war and against humanity.

Only their victims were prosecuted, falsely blamed for the highest of high crimes committed against them by the US, NATO, Israel, and their imperial partners.

For nearly two decades, the ICC operated solely as imperial tool — continuing the same agenda today unless it goes another way for justice never pursued before.

It’s hard taking seriously chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s announced probes into whether Israel and the US committed war crimes in Occupied Palestine and Afghanistan respectively.

The former probe was announced in December, the latter one in early March — whitewash twice over their likely outcomes if conducted.

Republicans and undemocratic Dems militantly oppose revealing anything that exposes high crimes committed by the state and those of its imperial allies, notably Israel.

Last December, Pompeo slammed the ICC, saying:

“We firmly oppose…any…action that seeks to target Israel unfairly (sic),” adding:

“We do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state (sic), and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC (sic).”

Despite a rap sheet of nearly 75 years of high crimes of war, against humanity, and other abuses of international law, Israel was never held accountable — what’s long overdue.

The State of Palestine exists as a PLO-represented UN observer state.

More importantly, the PLO  adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence on November 15, 1988 — drafted by Law Professor Francis Boyle, its legal advisor at the time.

He explained that Palestinian statehood is “determinative, definitive, and irreversible,” adding:

Palestine satisfies all essential criteria for sovereign independence and full de jure UN membership. 

The Palestine National Council (PNC) as the PLO’s legislative body is empowered to proclaim the existence of Palestine. 

Bensouda said she’s “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine,” adding:

“There is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed in the context of the 2014 hostilities in Gaza” by Israeli forces, evidence indicating they engaged in disproportionate attacks, “willful killing and willfully causing serious injury to body or health…and intentionally directing an attack against objects or persons using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions.”

In response to a proposed ICC investigation of US war crimes in Afghanistan, Pompeo said the Trump regime “will not tolerate…attempts to investigate or prosecute Americans,” adding:

“I’m announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel.”

“If you’re responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan you should not assume that you still have, or will get, a visa or that you will permitted to enter the United States.”

“We’re prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions, if the ICC does not change its course.”

Perhaps the Trump regime will invade or terror-bomb the court and/or assassinate its prosecutors if they dare investigate and pronounce the US or Israel guilty of high crimes the world community knows both countries committed time and again.

In response to Pompeo’s March remarks, an ICC statement said the court “will continue to do its independent work, undeterred, in accordance with its mandate and the overarching principle of the rule of law” — what it never did before so the claim is dubious at best.

In response to Israeli AG Mendelblit’s objection to an ICC investigation of Netanyahu regime war crimes, falsely claiming it has no jurisdiction over Israeli actions, B’Tselem responded as follows:

Mendelblit falsely claimed that there’s no Palestinian state or occupation.

He “conveniently ignor(ed) the facts on the ground, the principles of international law, and the declared positions of the international community,” adding: 

“He glosse(d) over more than 52 years in which Israel has kept the West Bank and Gaza Strip under a cruel, violent occupation regime, transforming the area completely.” 

“Palestinian space is now fragmented into isolated units in which Palestinians live without political rights or any real control over their lives – which are run by various Israeli authorities.”

He also turned reality on its head, claiming Israel and Palestinians negotiate in good faith — what never occurred since Israel’s 1947-48 war of aggression, stealing 78% of historic Palestine.

In June 1967, it took the rest extrajudicially — thereafter seizing Palestinian-owned land dunum by dunum, the process continuing until there’s nothing left but isolated/worthless scrubland, surrounded by Israeli security forces and hostile settlers.

B’Tselem: Israeli regime officials admitted that they do not “view the occupation as temporary and intend to cement control over the Palestinians while dispossessing them of land and rights” — what’s been ongoing since 1947.

Palestinians joined the ICC in 2015. They’re entitled to petition the court to investigate Israeli high crimes too egregious to ignore.

B’Tselem: Throughout Jewish state history, its regimes “enjoyed total immunity regarding its actions in the Occupied Territories.” 

“Domestically, not a single person has paid a significant price for these actions thanks to the almost blanket criminal and civil immunity Israel accords itself.” 

“Internationally, (virtually nothing) has been done to compel Israel to change its policies,” nothing to hold its war criminals accountable for Nuremberg-level high crimes. 

“Instead, (the Jewish state) enjoys generous financial benefits and international legitimacy. Israel is now railing against the prospect of actually being held accountable for some of its crimes.”

B’Tselem’s executive director Hagai El-Ad said the following:

“Israel’s attempt to clutch at formalistic straws to evade the ICC’s jurisdiction is shameful.” 

“Since Palestine joined the Rome Statute, it has the right to demand an investigation into the situation there.” 

“Palestine…is under Israeli occupation, whose crimes the ICC has the jurisdiction – and responsibility – to investigate.” 

“We hope the Court will make the right decision, sustain the (chief) prosecutor’s position, and decide: indeed it has jurisdiction – and there will be an investigation.”

If Bensouda is serious about investigating and holding Israel and the US accountable for their high crimes of war and against humanity, she should pursue her mandate in both cases expeditiously without restraint.

It never happened before and most likely won’t seek accountability and justice ahead  against the US and Israel — no matter how grievous their indisputable high crimes.

Dubious Postponement of Netanyahu’s Trial

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, March 16, 2020

Hopefully delay isn’t an escape hatch for Netanyahu to avoid long overdue justice.

Notably, charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust he faces don’t remotely rise to the level of his crimes of war, against humanity, and slow motion genocide committed against the Palestinian people.

These high crimes are what’s most important to hold him accountable for in an international tribunal — followed by conviction on all counts and longterm imprisonment.

On Sunday, his trial scheduled to begin March 17 was postponed until May 24 on the same day his regime’s justice minister Amir Ohana, a Likudnik Netanyahu loyalist, invoked emergency measures to combat COVID-19 — both issues unrelated to each other.

In response, the Jerusalem District Court announced the following:

“In light of developments regarding the spread of the coronavirus, and taking into account the latest guidelines given and the declaration of a state of emergency in the courts, we have decided to cancel the scheduled hearing.”

Ohana declared a “state of emergency (to halt judicial proceedings except for largely undefined urgent ones) as part of the national effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

Until proceedings were ordered largely halted for public health reasons, this action was only taken before for security reasons. Ohana changed the rules.

Following his announcement, the Movement for Quality of Government in Israel urged AG Mendelblit to stay the ruling, saying:

“This is a temporary minister in a temporary government that has never received the public’s trust.”

Ohana’s ruling came days after the Jerusalem District Court rejected a request by Netanyahu’s defense team to delay his trial for 45 days on dubious grounds of more time needed to receive and review all investigative materials related to the case.

Ohana’s declaration means most, not all, judicial hearings are on hold. Some can go on at the discretion of courts, including issues “relating to the special emergency.”

Halting proceedings on Netanyahu’s case followed a recommendation by his health ministry that “there is a real fear of serious harm to public health” — a dubious judgment unrelated to continuing court business normally.

Coronavirus Outbreak, a Global Public Health Emergency?

On Sunday, Netanyahu’s health ministry said 200 Israelis tested positive for COVID-19, a minute percent of its population, showing no just cause for declaring a state of emergency.

Only two Israelis ill from the coronavirus are in serious condition, 11 in moderate condition, others with mild symptoms, according to the health ministry.

Around 40,000 Israelis are quarantined at home, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists.

Tests for COVID-19 have been conducted on over 6,800 Israelis as of Sunday. The US with around 37-fold Israel’s population only tested about 11,000 people so far nationwide.

South Korea with around one-sixth the US population tests around 20,000 daily.

China through late February tested around 320,000 people, South Korea through March 13 nearly 250,000 people, Italy to date 86,000, Russia 77,000, Britain 30,000.

China’s Global Times cited the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, saying it provides 341,600 nucleic acid reagent test kits daily, enough to accommodate everyone in the country needing one with plenty available for export.

China’s BGI Group exported COVID-19 detection kits for testing around 310,000 people in 26 countries, including in Asia and Europe.

They’re available for export to the US in large numbers if permitted by the Trump regime — not so far.

He and his Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced that tests will only be offered by his regime to individuals showing COVID-19 symptoms — instead of getting ahead of the curve to detect early and treat as needed, what’s vital in dealing with a highly contagious disease easily spread from person to person.

It’s unclear how many ill Americans were misdiagnosed with seasonal flu and treated accordingly.

While it’s highly unlikely that contagion in the US is anywhere near epidemic levels, in dealing with infectious diseases, widespread testing is important because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Through mid-March, around 156,000 COVID-19 cases were reported worldwide, around 5,800 deaths from the disease — these numbers nowhere near suggesting a global pandemic.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 2,839,205 US deaths in 2019, including from the following diseases:

  • Heart disease: 647,457
  • Cancer: 599,108
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
  • Diabetes: 83,564
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633

Annual deaths from these diseases worldwide are at or near epidemic levels with no fear-mongering headlines blasted daily about them.

A few thousand COVID-19 infections in the US and a reported 59 deaths through Friday do not an epidemic make.

Around 40,000 Americans die in car crashes annually, around 36,000 from gun violence.

In 2019, there were 169,936 deaths by accidents and unintentional injuries, according to the CDC. There were 47,173 reported suicides.

All of the above numbers are far greater causes for concern in the US than COVID-19 — so far.

It doesn’t mean that the virus can be taken lightly or can’t rise to a much higher worrisome level.

It does mean that it hasn’t hasn’t so far and with proper steps taken at the federal, state and local levels, it should be controllable like other infectious diseases are handled.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

The Illusion of Restoring Peace and Stability in Afghanistan

By Stephen Lendman

Source

The US came to Afghanistan to stay, the same true for all its war theaters by occupation and/or installed puppet regimes serving its interests. More on this below.

Afghanistan’s troubled history goes back centuries. John Pilger explained that “no country has been abused and suffered more, and none has been helped less than Afghanistan.” 

If hell on earth exists, it’s headquartered in Afghanistan — with many global affiliate locations in the modern era, largely because of endless US wars by hot and other means.

For centuries, Afghans endured what few can imagine. Marauding armies besieged cities, slaughtered thousands, and caused vast destruction. 

In the 19th century, Afghans were victimized by “great game” struggles between imperial Britain and czarist Russia — a time of endless war, destruction, occupation and human misery, continuing from then to now, notably post-9/11.

Wherever the US shows up, endless wars and mass destruction follow, the human toll of no consequence.

According to Gideon Polya, “the horrendous carnage of the (post-9/11) US War on Terror (launched in Afghanistan caused) the deaths of 32 million Muslims abroad (by violence or imposed deprivation) and the preventable deaths of 27 million Americans at home inescapably linked to the fiscal perversion of committing to a $7 trillion long-term accrual cost of killing millions of Muslims abroad.”

The true cost is likely three-fold or more higher because of unaccounted for multi-trillions of dollars by the Pentagon since the 1990s.

“Bush, Obama and Trump are indeed American-killing US presidents,” Polya stressed, adding:

“(S)erial war criminal (Trump warned) that “no place is beyond the reach of American might.”

“The US-imposed, 4-decade Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide is to continue under more draconian rules of engagement.”

Since the 1990s, Polya estimated six million preventable Afghan deaths, millions more refugees, an entire population emmiserated, largely post-9/11.

Since US aggression against North Korea in 1950, he estimates around 40 million preventable deaths and tens of millions of refugees.

Since WW II, the US invaded or otherwise attacked “52 countries.”

“American exceptionalism means that the US is disproportionately  involved in…existential threats (to) humanity” — notably possible nuclear war that could destroy all life forms on earth.

The notion of first strike with these weapons that’s stated in US National Security Strategies from Bush/Cheney to Obama to Trump should terrify everyone everywhere.

What’s unthinkable is possible because of US rage to control planet earth, its resources and populations.

The so-called Trump regime/Taliban peace agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Time and again throughout US history, it breached treaties, conventions, and agreements — clear proof that its ruling regimes can never be trusted.

Time and again throughout US history, it breached treaties, conventions, and agreements — clear proof that its ruling regimes can never be trusted.

The notion of the US agreeing to peace and an end to its occupation of Afghanistan is pure illusion.

The deal calls for reducing numbers of US and allied forces in the country in the coming months, withdrawing entirely in 14 months, including abandonment of Pentagon bases that cost billions of dollars to build and maintain.

Earlier drawdowns of US forces in the country were followed by increased deployments — troops in a so-called advisory and counterterrorism capacity.

Pentagon terror-bombing continued throughout the war.

In mid-2017, with around 8,400 US forces in Afghanistan, Trump OK’d increasing their numbers, then-US war secretary Mattis saying:

“This assures (that the Pentagon) can facilitate our missions and nimbly align our commitment to the situation on the ground (sic),” adding: 

“Our overall mission in Afghanistan remains the same, to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces so they can safeguard the Afghan people and terrorists can find no haven in Afghanistan for attacking us or others (sic).”

The Trump regime’s Afghan strategy put no limit on the number of US forces in the country.

US policy under Bush/Cheney, Obama and Trump has nothing to do with safeguarding the Afghan people or denying terrorists a safe haven — elements the US created and supports in all its war theaters and elsewhere.

Trump’s claim about “working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our troops back home” awaits its moment of truth in the coming weeks and months — the illusion of ending over 18 years of war in Afghanistan likely to be dispelled.

Whether Pentagon and allied troops stay or leave, the CIA maintains a private army of paramilitaries in the country that serve US interests.

They’re staying, not leaving, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, and likeminded jihadists to be deployed to the country at the discretion of Langley and the Pentagon.

Afghanistan’s strategic value to the US includes its vast resources and its geographical location near Russia and China.

The US wants both countries encircled with Pentagon bases. It wants oil and gas pipelines constructed across Afghanistan.

It wants opium production continued for heroin manufacture and distribution to world markets — a key revenue source for Western banks and the CIA.

It wants control over the country continued under pro-Western puppet rule.

It wants endless war waged in multiple theaters, serving its imperial agenda, feeding its military, industrial, security, media complex.

Restoration of peace and stability in its war theaters defeats its interests, why new millennium wars rage — threats invented to continue them endlessly.

Restoration of peace and stability to Afghanistan is likely to last no longer than an invented US pretext to breach what was agreed on.

All US wars are based on Big Lies and deception. The possibility for either of its war party wings turning a page for world peace and stability is virtually nil.

Longstanding US history shows it’s a warrior nation — how its been from inception against its native people to today against humanity at home and abroad.

“Russia AgainGate”: Phony Accusations of Russian “2020 Election Meddling”.The Big Lie that won’t Die

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, February 22, 2020

The NYT falsely warned of Russian meddling to re-elect Trump that hasn’t occurred.

Nor does any evidence suggest it’s coming ahead. Earlier accusations of Moscow electoral interference to help Trump defeat Hillary in 2016 were bald-faced Big Lies.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russian election meddling occurred in the US or anywhere else — a longstanding CIA/NED specialty in dozens of countries worldwide throughout the post-WW II period.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy researcher Dov Levin earlier documented 81 times Washington meddled in foreign elections from 1946 – 2000 – since then in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Honduras, Paraguay, Brazil, and elsewhere, unsuccessfully in Venezuela, Iran and Russia.

In his book titled “Demonstration Elections,” the late Edward Herman documented US involvement in orchestrating sham Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Vietnam elections, wanting regimes installed that serve US interests.

The same thing goes on in countless other countries, electoral coups masquerading as democracy in action, an abhorrent notion Washington tolerates nowhere, especially not domestically.

According to a Times report with no credibility, US intelligence officials “warned (that) Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected…”

No evidence was cited because none exists. The anti-Trump Times, still furious over his defeat of media darling Hillary, loves to resurface the Big Lie that won’t die.Report on Mueller’s Witch Hunt Exposes Russiagate Hoax

Reportedly House Intelligence Committee members were briefed by US intelligence officials on February 13.

According to the Times, lawmakers were told earlier of Russian US election meddling — no evidence presented suggesting it. Without it, accusations are groundless.

So-called “new information” that doesn’t exist about Moscow intending to interfere in primaries and the general election this year indicates lots more of this rubbish to come in the run-up to November.

Last April, Robert Mueller’s witch hunt report exposed the Russiagate hoax by revealing no damning evidence because there was none to find.

Cooked up by Obama’s Russophobic CIA director John Brennan, it was one of the most shameful chapters in US political history.

Mueller’s 19-lawyer team, 40 FBI special agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff spent around $25 million.

They issued 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, over 230 orders for communication records, interviewed about 500 individuals, and made 34 politicized indictments on dubious charges unconnected to his mandate.

When all was said and done, Mueller’s team discovered nothing connected to phony allegations of possible Trump team/Russia collusion to triumph over Hillary, no collusion, no obstruction of justice, no evidence of Russian US election meddling.

Why would Russia or any other country interfere in America’s political process when outcomes are always the same!

Dirty business as usual always wins, how duopoly rule works under a one-party system with two extremist right wings.

Earlier claims by the DNI and CIA that Putin personally ordered a campaign of US election meddling to favor Trump over Hillary in 2016 were rubbish.

Yet the Big Lie reared its ugly head in this year’s race for the White House — once again, no evidence backing phony accusations because none exists.

The Russophobic Times is front and center promoting what has no credibility — its own long ago lost.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from The InterceptThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Palestine: Legally Overriding a UN Security Council Veto. In Response to Trump’s Annexation Scheme

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, February 03, 2020

In response to the Trump regime’s annexation scheme of the century, Palestinians have binding recourse — in the General Assembly, not the Security Council.

US veto power prevents adoption of a SC resolution that upholds their rights under international law.

By invoking General Assembly Uniting for Peace Resolution 377 (1950), SC actions can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote of UN member states.

This step if taken and adopted by the GA cannot be overturned by SC veto.

GA Res. 377 can be invoked immediately by a UN member state at times when SC members fail to act as required to maintain international peace and security.

The State of Palestine exists — on the one hand as a PLO-represented observer state.

More importantly, the PLO  adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence on November 15, 1988 — drafted by Law Professor Francis Boyle, its legal advisor at the time.

He explained that Palestinian statehood is “determinative, definitive, and irreversible,” adding:

Palestine satisfies all essential criteria for sovereign independence and full de jure UN membership.

All UN Charter states (including America and Israel) provisionally recognized Palestinian independence in accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and League Covenant article 22(4).

As the League’s successor, the General Assembly has exclusive legal authority to designate the PLO Palestine’s legitimate representative.

The Palestine National Council (PNC) is the PLO’s legislative body. It’s empowered to proclaim the existence of Palestine.

According to the binding 1925 Palestine Citizenship Order in Council, Palestinians, their children and grandchildren automatically become citizens.

So do diaspora Palestinians.

Those living in Israel, Jordan, and elsewhere have dual nationalities.

Occupied Territory residents remain “protected persons” (under Fourth Geneva) until a final peace settlement is reached.Obama Rejects Palestinian Statehood

According to the following characteristics, Palestine qualifies for world community recognition as a de jure UN member state — with all rights and privileges of other world body members:

It’s territory is determinable even though not necessarily fixed, its borders negotiable, the state comprised of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza — where Palestinians have lived for thousands of years, deserving legal recognition of sovereignty over their homeland.

Palestine has a fixed population and functioning government. It supports peace, stability, and cooperative relations with other nations.

It accepts UN Charter provisions and can administer them on their own, along with the ability to establish diplomatic relations with other states.

Palestine fully qualifies for world recognition as a UN member state. If gotten, it can render Trump’s no-peace/peace scheme stillborn.

The General Assembly has sole UN member state admission authority, not the SC.

By invoking GA Res. 377, Palestinians can petition the General Assembly for de jure recognition as a UN member state.

Yet Israeli installed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas never took this step and is highly unlikely to go this route ahead — why new leadership is essential to pursue fundamental rights Palestinians have been long denied.

Francis Boyle earlier predicted that Palestine “would eventually achieve de jure diplomatic recognition from about 130 states” if its leadership formally seeks it.

He prepared the roadmap for its recognition as a UN member state — by “invok(ing) the UN General Assembly’s Uniting for Peace Resolution…to overcome US vetoes at the Security Council.”

Never taken before, now is the time to go this route in the wake of Trump’s annexation scheme.

Separately I said united under new leadership there’s hope for Palestinians. Divided under traitors in Ramallah serving Israeli interests as its enforcer there’s none.

On Friday, Trump regime UN envoy Kelly Craft warned Palestinians against pursuing their case in the Security Council.

Its UN envoy Riyad Mansour said he’d seek SC support for a draft resolution that counters Trump’s scheme by upholding Palestinian right — a dead-on-arrival initiative.

If followed by invoking GA Res 377, General Assembly UN member states can override the SC veto as explained above.

Mansour said no “Palestinian official will meet with American officials now after they submitted an earthquake, the essence of it the destruction of the national aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Israel’s UN mission said it’s working to thwart (Palestinian) efforts, and will lead a concerted diplomatic campaign with the US.”

Palestinians have a choice. Invoke GA Res. 377, seeking a two-thirds UN member state majority for their rights or face continued subjugation under Israel’s repressive boot — fully supported by the US and West.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Trump’s Legal Team Responds to Dems Impeachment Scam

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, January 20, 2020

There’s overwhelming just cause to impeach and remove Trump from office for legitimate high crimes.  

The same is true for most of his predecessors, along with most current and former congressional members.

The Constitution’s Article II, Section 4 states “(t)he President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Evidence supporting the removal of Trump from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, rising to the level of impeachable offenses as constitutionally defined, is lacking — charges against him by undemocratic Dems politicized.

Unrelated to removing him from office by Senate trial, they’re all about wanting him delegitimized and weakened ahead of November 2020 elections.

Ahead of proceedings to begin on Tuesday, Trump’s legal team formally slammed what’s going on as a “brazen and unlawful attempt” to overturn results of the 2016 presidential election. More on this below.

How would Abraham Lincoln fare today. He illegally suspended the Constitution and habeas rights, forcefully closed courts, arbitrarily ordered arrests, conscripted US citizens without congressional consent, closed newspapers opposing his policies, and ordered generals to commit war crimes.

Under his command, General William Sherman’s march to the sea involved rape, pillaging and mass murder.

His Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free a single slave. He wanted them deported at war’s end to maintain America as a white supremacist society.

Glorifying him as one of the nation’s greatest presidents ignores his dark side.

History taught Americans in secondary school, college, graduate school and in doctoral studies conceals the US dark side.

Slave owners Washington, Jefferson, and other US presidents diminished their moral and ethical standing, clearly not believing that all Americans are created equal.

Despite his lofty rhetoric and intellectual pursuits, Jefferson knew slavery was wrong, but owned them anyway, never freeing them like Washington.

He had a slave as mistress and lied about it. He or Washington could have set an example by freeing the nation’s slaves, neither figure having the courage to do the right thing.

Samuel Johnson asked: “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty from the drivers of Negroes?”Militarism Defines Trump’s 4th of July Spectacle

According to historian Stephen Ambrose, “(o)f all the contradictions in Jefferson’s contradictory life, none is greater,” adding:

“Of all the contradictions in America’s history, none surpasses its toleration first of slavery and then of segregation.”

Ambrose omitted endless US wars throughout most of the nation’s history — from exterminating Native Americans to ongoing war on humanity.

Washington reviled the nation’s native people, calling them “wolves” and “beasts of prey.”

He dispatched General John Sullivan to attack noncombatant Onondaga people in 1779, ordering him to destroy their villages, homes, fields, food supplies, cattle herds and orchards, wanting as many as possible killed. He stole Indian land.

Dem Woodrow Wilson’s tenure was defined by US involvement in WW I — after pledging to keep America out of Europe’s war.

It was also disgraced by signing the 1913 Federal Reserve Act into law, giving Wall Street control of the nation’s money, the supreme power above all others.

Policies under Franklin Roosevelt pressured imperial Japan to attack the US, giving FDR the war he wanted.

US history isn’t pretty, Trump the latest in a long line of presidents whose policies supported wealth, power and privilege exclusively over peace, equity and justice, notions considered un-American — based on policies pursued by its ruling class throughout US history.

The Clinton co-presidency was anti-New Deal, anti-Great Society, pro-war, pro-business, anti-populist, anti-labor, anti-public welfare.

Bush/Cheney waged US war OF terror, not on it in Afghanistan, Iraq, and against Muslims in America, numerous police state laws enacted on their watch.

Obama bragged about terror-bombing seven countries in eight years.

He institutionalized indefinite detention, authorizing the military to indefinitely detain anyone anywhere without charge, including US citizens, based on suspicions or spurious allegations.

His disposition matrix kill list ordered the elimination of alleged enemies of the state.

Trump exceeded the worst of his predecessors’ domestic and geopolitical policies — filling the swamp he pledged to drain with neocon hardliners, militarists, and super-wealthy individuals like himself.

He broke virtually everyone positive promise made, operating in bad faith, never to be trusted, while waging war on humanity at home and abroad.

Yet none of his legitimate wrongdoing is included in impeachment charges against him.

On Saturday, his legal team led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and personal attorney Jay Sekulow submitted a six-page response to impeachment charges against him — ahead of Senate trial proceedings to begin this week.

Rejecting charges by Dems, it said “articles of impeachment (they) submitted are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president,” adding:

“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election — now just months away.”

“Nothing in these Articles could permit even beginning to consider removing a duly elected President or warrant nullifying an election and subverting the will of the American people. They must be rejected.”

Rejection is virtually certain in the GOP-controlled Senate, trial proceedings likely to conclude in two or three weeks.

No president in US history was removed from office by impeachment, Trump highly unlikely to be the first.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from The BulletThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Sheer Stupidity Defines the Trump Regime’s Foreign Policy. Escalation and the Risk of an All Out War

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, January 03, 2020

A personal comment in response to the Trump regime’s assassination of redoubtable Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, a national hero now martyred by US imperial rage.

He represented Iranian resilience and resistance against US state-terrorism, its endless wars of aggression, its rage for global control by brute force — responsible for countless millions of deaths, vast destruction, and human misery globally.

The nation I grew up in long ago no longer exists. Never beautiful, it was world’s apart from today’s permanent US state of war on humanity at home and abroad.

Throughout the post-WW II Cold War period through Soviet Russia’s December 1991 dissolution, I never feared nuclear war.

Mutually assured destruction (MAD) when cooler heads ran things in Washington prevented the unthinkable.

Today’s criminal class in the nation’s capital makes the unthinkable possible — bipartisan hardliners abhorrent of peace, stability, equity, justice, and the rule of law.

They’re unchallenged by a largely ignorant, indifferent public, brainwashed by political and media talking heads, distracted by bread and circuses — while endless wars rage, the nation’s resources used for mass slaughter, vast destruction, conquest and colonization, at the expense of beneficial social change.

Will planet earth be consumed by US arrogance and rage for dominance?

Is catastrophic nuclear war inevitable? Will humanity survive or perish?

Are we doomed by diabolical US rage to force other countries to bend to its will — naked aggression and other hostile actions its favored tactics, multi-world polarity fought tooth and nail, peace and stability considered un-American!US Waging Wars on Multiple Fronts: Cold Wars, Hot Wars, Economic Wars, Propaganda Wars …

As a boy, youth and young man, I was free from what I fear now — possible global war that could kill us all.

The road to hell pursued by the US ruling class is paved with ill-intentions — abhorrent of what just societies cherish.

In my 9th decade, I fear for younger generations in the US and elsewhere.

Will they match my longevity or perish in a mushroom-shaped cloud or by other destructive means?

Are they doomed by US rage to rule the world unchallenged by whatever it takes to achieve its aims, the human toll of no consequence?

Heaven help us in the new year and what follows. 2020 began with a bang! Is the worst ahead?

In response to Soleimani’s Trump regime assassination, Russia’s upper house Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev called what happened “the worst case scenario,” adding:

Iranian retribution “will not take long…This is very difficult news, a harbinger of new clashes between the Americans and radical Shiites in Iraq.”

“But I will be glad to be proved wrong because wars are easy to start, but very difficult to end.”

A statement by Russia’s Foreign Ministry said:

“We consider the killing of Soleimani as the result of an American missile strike in the vicinity of Baghdad to be a bold step that will lead to increased tension throughout the region,” adding:

“Soleimani was devoted to protecting Iran’s national interests. We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people.”

Russian expert Dmitry Trenin said Soleimani’s assassination “will not deter Iran. More likely it will further escalate the situation in the region, starting with Iraq” — where it already began by renewed US aggression.

On Friday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced Soleimani’s successor, saying:

“Following the martyrdom of the glorious General Haj Qasem Soleimani, I name Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani as the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

He also declared three days of mourning to honor Soleimani’s leadership, courage, and dedication to defending Iran from the threat of foreign aggression.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Israel Preparing for War on Iran?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Israel’s longtime goal is unchallenged Middle East dominance partnered with Washington.

Achieving it depends on transforming independent regional nations into US/Israeli vassal states by war or other hostile means, Iran most of all.

Along with Turkey, it’s the only regional country able to challenge Israel militarily if attacked.

On Wednesday, IDF chief of staff General Aviv Kochavi claimed Jewish state friction with Iran may increase next year, perhaps leading to war.

Fact: Nonbelligerent Iran threatens no one. Along with the US and NATO, Israel threatens world peace, stability and security.

Kochavi falsely called Iran Israel’s main threat, stressing that close ties to Washington is its key strategic asset.

He ignored Jewish state undeclared war on Palestinians and Syria, time and again terror-bombing Gaza and the Syrian Arab Republic with impunity, the world community ignoring its high crimes of war, against humanity, and slow-motion genocide against long-suffering Palestinians.

Nuclear armed and dangerous Israel falsely claims nonbelligerent Iran poses a nuclear threat.

Its legitimate program has no military component, repeatedly confirmed by the IAEA, its inspectors banned from illegal Israeli nuclear sites, Iran’s legal ones the world’s most heavily monitored.

According to Kochavi, Israel is preparing for war on Iran. If launched, it’ll be preemptive by the Jewish state, possibly together with the US, not the other way around by a nation that hasn’t attacked another one in centuries, what Israel and Washington do repeatedly.

“We will not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria, or in Iraq,” said Kochavi, failing to explain that Tehran works cooperatively with these nations and others, its military advisors alone in Syria, helping Damascus combat US/Israeli supported terrorists.

Kochavi falsely accused Iran of “smuggl(ing) advanced weapons (into Iraq) on a monthly basis, and we can’t allow that.”

Responding, Iraqi parliamentarian Hassan al-Kaabi called his remarks “incorrect and politically motivated,” bent on “creating sedition and finding an excuse to infiltrate into the Iraqi territory.”

Along with the US, Israel is likely involved in stoking violence, vandalism and chaos in Iraq.

The Jewish state terror-bombed Iraqi sites several times, the Pentagon reportedly providing air support.

According to Kochavi: “In the coming war (with Iran, Syria, Lebanon or Gaza), we will have to attack with great force in populated areas and also target the state structure of the entity that allows terrorism to act against us (sic).”

“Israel will target everything that helps in combat operations, such as electricity, fuel, bridges,” and other targets at its discretion.

Israel considers civilians legitimate targets, striking residential areas indiscriminately in all its wars of aggression, the policy stated earlier by future IDF chief General Gadi Eisenkot, saying:

“We will apply disproportionate force at the heart of the enemy’s weak spot (civilians) and cause great damage and destruction.” 

“From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages (towns or cities). They are military bases. This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.”

Retired General Giora Eiland earlier said Israel’s war strategy is all about destroying “the national infrastructure (of enemies) and (inflicting) intense suffering among the population.”

This strategy reflects core Israeli policy — to cause maximum casualties, destruction, displacement and human suffering, grave international law breaches.

In November, former Israeli envoy to Washington Michael Oren said the Jewish state is preparing for war with “Iranian proxies,” falsely accusing Tehran of “provocations,” adding:

Senior Israeli officials met “to discuss the possibility of open war with Iran…Israeli troops, especially in the north, have been placed on war footing.” 

“Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time.”

Zionist ideologue Oren once arrogantly said: “We expect the world to stand with us.”

He’s a polarizing figure. Brandeis University students earlier strongly protested against his choice as commencement speaker by university officials.

A letter signed by scores of students slammed his “far-right positions” and marginalization of growing numbers of US Jews who disagree with him.

What’s coming in the new year may be more war at a time when the world community should prioritize ending ongoing ones.

Pearl Harbor Revisited: Dispelling Surprise Attack Mythology 

Image result for Pearl Harbor Attack

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

December 7, 2019 is the 70th anniversary of what Franklin Roosevelt called “a date which will live in infamy (when) the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

“I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”

Around one hour after Roosevelt’s December 8 address before a joint congressional session, the body declared war on Japan with one dissenting vote, signed into law by FDR the same day.

All wars are unjustifiably justified based on Big Lies and deception, WW II no exception. Roosevelt wanted involvement in Europe’s war. He wanted legislation requiring US neutrality reversed.

On July 4, 1941, he said: “(S)olemnly (understand) that the United States will never survive as a happy and fertile oasis of liberty surrounded by a cruel desert of dictatorship.” 

His July 25 Executive Order froze Japanese assets, claiming it was “(t)o prevent the use of the financial facilities of the United States in trade between Japan and the United States in ways harmful to national defense and American interests, to prevent the liquidation in the United States of assets obtained by duress or conquest, and to curb subversive activities in the United States.”

In 1937, he planned a naval blockade of Japan, the idea dropped because of opposition. In 1938, it resurfaced because he knew strangling Japan economically assured war he wanted.

From 1933 to late 1941, he spurned Japanese peace overtures that would have protected all American interests in the Pacific. 

By November 25, 1941, the die was cast. War Secretary Henry Stimson said war depended only on how to maneuver Japan to attack with the lowest number of US casualties.

Roosevelt encouraged an attack on Pearl Harbor by stationing the Pacific Fleet there — against the advice of its commander and chief of naval operations.

After the Japanese code was broken, intercepted cables confirmed an attack was coming. The US tracked its fleet from the Kurile Islands to its North Pacific refueling point en route to Pearl Harbor on or about December 7.

At a December 5 cabinet meeting, Navy Secretary Frank Knox said: “Well, you know Mr. President, we know where the Japanese fleet is?” 

“Yes, I know,” said Roosevelt, adding: “Well, you tell them what it is Frank.” Naval intelligence reports indicated it was in Pacific waters heading toward Hawaii. On December 6, the attack was imminent. It came the next morning at 7:55AM Hawaii time.

Pearl Harbor commander Admiral HE Kimmel got no intelligence about what was coming. Roosevelt wanted isolationist congressional members and the public transformed into raging Japan haters. He got the war he wanted.

Ahead of the attack, Red Cross officials were secretly told to send large amounts of medical supplies and personnel to Hawaii. By November 1941, they were in place.

Japan’s December 7 “surprise attack” was no surprise. On November 29, Secretary of State Cordell Hull told the UK envoy to Washington that “the diplomatic part of our relations with Japan was virtually over and the matter will now go to the officials of the Army and Navy.”

Ahead of the attack, three US Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers were at sea on maneuvers to avoid the coming attack.

Around 3,500 US military personnel were killed or wounded, 68 civilians killed, others wounded.

Nineteen US warships were destroyed or damaged, including eight battleships, along with 188 aircraft destroyed, another 159 damaged.

US blockade and embargo toughness on Japan during the preceding months pushed its ruling authorities to war.

In his book, “The Good War: An Oral History of World War II,” the late Studs Terkel explained its good and bad sides through people experiencing it.

The good was America “was the only country among the combatants that was neither invaded nor bombed. Ours were the only cities not blasted to rubble,” said Terkel.

The bad was WW II “warped our view of how we look at things today, (seeing them) in terms of war” and the notion that they’re good or why else fight them. 

This “twisted memory…encourages (people) to be willing, almost eager, to use military force” to solve problems, never mind how they exacerbate them.

Wars are never just or good. In the nuclear age they’re “lunatic” acts – horrific by any standard. 

December 8, 1941 was the last time the US waged war legally, declared by Congress as constitutionally required. 

Today, Security Council members alone may authorize war by one nation against others — not heads of state, legislatures or courts. 

It’s permitted only in self-defense if attacked, never preemptively, how all US post-WW II wars were and continue to be waged — flagrant UN Charter and constitutional violations under its Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2).

Commenting on WW II, the late historian Howard Zinn, who served aboard a US bomber in Europe during the war, said “war brutalizes everyone involved, begets a fanaticism in which the original moral factor (like fighting fascism) is buried at the bottom of a heap of atrocities committed by all sides,” later adding:

“(W)hile there are certainly vicious enemies of liberty and human rights in the world, war itself is the most vicious of” all.

“And that while some societies can rightly claim to be more liberal, more democratic, more humane than others, the difference is not great enough to justify the massive, indiscriminate slaughter of modern warfare.”

Atrocities are weapons of war. In his book titled “War Without Mercy,” John Dower documented viciousness by both sides in the Pacific — the US as unprincipled as the Japanese.

US forces mutilated its war dead for body part souvenirs. They sank hospital ships, shooting sailors abandoning them.

Japanese pilots bailing out of warplanes were killed in cold blood. So were wounded enemy soldiers. 

Prisoners were tortured and killed, other combatants buried alive, civilians slaughtered as mercilessly as military personnel. 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were two of history’s greatest crimes — gratuitous mass murder months after Japan sought surrender, the war lost to superior US military might.

The Big Lie that won’t die is that nuking both cities hastened war’s end and saved many lives. Harry Truman falsely claimed that bombing Hiroshima “destroyed its usefulness to the enemy,” adding:

“It was to spare the Japanese people from (further) utter destruction…If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the likes of which has never been seen on this earth.”

Ignored by Truman was War Secretary Stimson saying “Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary.”

Calling the atomic bomb “a barbarous weapon” after the attacks, Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral William Leahy said: “The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.”

WW II launched Washington’s permanent war policy, an agenda contributing to its decline.

In his book titled “The World in Crisis,” Gabriel Kolko said it “began after the Korean War, was continued in relation to Cuba, and was greatly accelerated in Vietnam – but (Bush/Cheney did) much to exacerbate it further,” the Obama and Trump regimes escalating what they inherited.

US power is declining, said Kolko, “the world…no longer dependent on its economic might.” At the same time, China, Russia, India and other nations are rising.

America’s “century of domination is now ending,” Kolko added. Others share similar views.

The US was at the height of its power post-WW II, maintained for some years in the post-war era, decline beginning and continuing in recent decades, notably post-9/11.

It’s the same dynamic that doomed other empires – a nation in decline because of its imperial arrogance and rage for dominance, waging endless wars against invented enemies, and its unwillingness to change.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.

 My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Nonbelligerent Iran v. Nuclear Armed and Dangerous Israel

By Stephen Lendman

Source

The agenda of both countries are world’s apart. Iran is the region’s leading advocate of peace, stability, and mutual cooperations with other nations.

It fully observes its JCPOA and NPT obligations. It resists major power pressures, maintains its sovereign independence, and opposes neocolonialism, especially US-led Western domination.

It’s been a Non-Aligned Movement member since its 1979 revolution. At the NAM summit in Havana that year, Fidel Castro said the following:

The NAM’s purpose is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security of non-aligned countries (in their) struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as as against great power and bloc politic.”

Like Cuba, Bolivarian Venezuela, and other nations unwilling to abandon their sovereign independence to a higher power in Washington, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s adherence to these principles made it a prime US target for regime change — notably because of its world’s third largest oil reserves and second largest natural gas deposits, along with being Israel’s main regional rival and challenging its revanchist aims.

Israel is nuclear-armed and dangerous, developing these weapons since the mid-1950s, its well-known open secret the official narrative conceals.

Its ruling authorities refused to sign the NPT or abide by its provisions. Nor do they permit IAEA inspections of their nuclear facilities.

According to the Federation of American Scientists and other experts, its nuke warheads can be launched by air, ground, sea, or sub-surface — able to strike targets in the Middle East and elsewhere.

It’s believed the Jewish state also has 100 or more laser-guided mini-nuke bunker-buster bombs — able to penetrate and destroy underground targets.

According to the establishment front organization Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), “US inspections of Israeli nuclear sites in the 1960s proved largely fruitless because of restrictions placed on the inspectors.”

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Joseph Circincione earlier said (e)veryone knows about Israel’s bombs in the closet.”

Yet the West fails to contest their threat to regional peace and security.

Iran’s nuclear program has no military component and never did, its ruling authorities wanting these weapons eliminated everywhere.

Unlike the US and Israel, permitting no inspections of their nuclear weapons sites, Iran’s legitimate nuclear facilities are the world’s most heavily monitored, its ruling authorities fully cooperating with IAEA inspectors.

Iran’s ballistic, cruise, and other missiles are solely for self-defense, its program fully complying with its obligations under Security Council Res. 2231, unanimously affirming the JCPOA nuclear deal.

No Iranian ballistic or other missiles are designed to carry nuclear warheads, conventional ones alone. No evidence suggests otherwise.

Neither SC 2231 or any other SC resolutions prohibit Tehran’s legitimate ballistic missile development, testing and production. 

The right to self-defense is inviolable under international law, UN Charter 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.”

The right of self-defense pertains solely to deterring armed attacks, preventing future ones after initial assaults, or reversing the consequences of enemy aggression.

At the same time, force must conform to the principles of necessity, distinction, and proportionality — what US-dominated NATO and Israel ignore when waging preemptive wars.

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.

A fourth consideration requires prevention of unnecessary suffering, especially affecting noncombatants.

Anticipatory self-defense is permitted when compelling evidence shows likely imminent threats or further attacks after initial ones.

Iran hasn’t attacked another country in centuries — what US-dominated NATO and Israel do repeatedly.

According to Israeli media Friday, the IDF conducted a missile test, launched from a military base in central Israel, a statement saying:

“The defense establishment (sic) conducted a launch test a few minutes ago of a rocket propulsion system from (its  Palmachim airbase south of Tel Aviv). The test was scheduled in advance and was carried out as planned.”

The Times of Israel reported the following:

“Israel does not publicly acknowledge having ballistic missiles in its arsenals, though according to foreign reports, the Jewish state possesses a nuclear-capable variety known as the Jericho that has a multi-stage engine, a 5,000-kilometer range and is capable of carrying a 1,000-kilogram warhead.”

According to Haaretz, Friday’s test came “amid increasing tension between Israel and Iran and was intended to send a clear message.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif slammed Israel’s test, saying the following:

“Israel today tested a nuke-missile, aimed at Iran. E3 (UK, France, and Germany) and US never complain about the only nuclear arsenal in West Asia – armed with missiles actually DESIGNED to be capable of carrying nukes.”

The West has “fits of apoplexy over our conventional and defensive” missiles, capable of carrying conventional warheads alone.

In response to Britain, France, and Germany falsely accusing Iran of breaching SC Res. 2231 by developing “nuclear-capable ballistic missiles” by letter to UN Secretary General Guterres, Zarif responded sharply, tweeting:

“Latest E3 (Britain, France and Germany) letter to UNSG on missiles is a desperate falsehood to cover up their miserable incompetence in fulfilling bare minimum of their own #JCPOA obligations.”

“If E3 want a modicum of global credibility, they can begin by exerting sovereignty rather than bowing to US bullying.”

On Monday, he tweeted: “@SecPompeo once again admits that US #Economic Terrorism on Iran is designed to starve, and in the case of medical supplies, kill our innocent citizens.”

Earlier to the E3 and EU, he tweeted: “To my EU/E3 Colleagues 

“Fully upheld commitments under JCPOA…YOU? Really?

Just show ONE that you’ve upheld in the last 18 months”

On Wednesday, US under secretary of war for policy John Rood falsely accused Iran of building up a “hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq,” adding:

“We also continue to see indications, and for obvious reasons I won’t go into the details, that potential Iranian aggression could occur.”

A Wednesday NYT report, reading like a Pentagon press release, said:

“Iran has used the continuing chaos in Iraq to build up a hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq (sic), part of a widening effort to try to intimidate the Middle East and assert its power (sic)” — citing unnamed US military and intelligence officials, adding: 

Iran “pose(s) a threat to American allies and partners in the region, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, and could endanger American troops (sic).”

Phony claims about any Iranian nuclear and regional threat posed by the nation were debunked time and again.

Tehran has military advisors in Syria and Iraq at the behest of their ruling authorities. They’re involved in combatting US-supported ISIS and likeminded jihadists.

The Islamic Republic threatens no other nations. US-dominated NATO and Israel threaten humanity.

 

Presidential Pardon for Netanyahu?

Global Research, December 06, 2019

Is a deal in the works for Netanyahu to step down as prime minister in return for a presidential pardon — with the aim of avoiding a third election next year? More on this below.

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Netanyahu faces prosecution for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Israeli attorney general Avichai Mendelblit said he “damaged the image of the public service and public trust in it (by abusing his office), knowingly “taking a bribe as a public servant in exchange for actions related to (his) position.”

Charges against him are over arranging favorable news site coverage and accepting lavish gifts in return for political favors.

He remains prime minister because his Likud party and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party failed to cobble together a majority 61-seat ruling coalition after elections in April and September.

An unprecedented third one looms next year without deadlock resolution. Netanyahu vowed to stay in office despite charges against him. Israeli law only requires a sitting prime minister to step down if convicted.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin accused political leaders of preferring “to go crazy” rather than agree on coalition rule.

If impasse is unresolved by December 11, a third election will be called for next year, late February the earliest possible date, according to a Knesset legal official.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu’s latest meeting with challenger Benny Gantz failed to resolve differences, Gantz reportedly saying he distrusts the prime minister more than ever.

Israel’s Channel 13 said Netanyahu seeks a deal to let him remain prime minister for another three to six months in return for Gantz’s Blue and White party getting key ministries.

Gantz reportedly rejected the offer and earlier ones because Netanyahu can’t be trusted to fulfill promises made. Reportedly he said: “I believe him less today.”

On Wednesday, Netanyahu said he’s “ready for (new) elections,” adding: “They’re not moving one millimeter. One nano-meter, they’re not moving.”

“We made all kinds of proposals, with all kinds of ways to make sure that this unity government will be stable, but they are simply refusing.”

Gantz responded saying: Netanyahu “has been digging in his heels and has not been offering anything new,” adding:

“That is not how you conduct negotiations. He needs to look me — and Israeli citizens — in the eye and say what he thinks and wants instead of shirking responsibility.”

According to the Jerusalem Post (JP), Israeli President Rivlin “will consider pardoning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in exchange for the PM retiring from political life and confessing to the crimes of which he is accused, Channel 12 reported Wednesday night.”

Earlier he rejected a plea bargain or pardon. So far, he hasn’t responded to the latest offer. According to the JP, his former lawyer Jacob Weinroth failed to convince him to take a similar deal earlier.

In June 2018, the JP said Mendelblit supports the above deal. No formal offers have been reported so far.

At the same time, Rivlin has been exerting heavy pressure on Netanyahu and Gantz to avoid a third election — the outcome likely to be similar to April and September results if held, leaving impasse unresolved.

As things now stand, the best chance, maybe the only one, to resolve things and be able to form a new government is for Netanyahu to resign.

It remains to be seen if he’ll accept Rivlin’s reported offer — stepping down, admitting guilt, and accepting public humiliation in return for avoiding prosecution, likely conviction and imprisonment.

Charges against him omit his highest of high crimes of war, against humanity, and slow-motion genocide against long-suffering Palestinians.

For over a decade, Gazans have been harmed most of all under suffocating medieval siege, an entire population held hostage for political reasons.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Criminalizing Speech and Press Freedoms. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

Global Research, December 01, 2019

The persecution of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning is all about waging war on truth-telling.

Chelsea Manning remains imprisoned for invoking her constitutional right to remain silent — for refusing to testify against Assange.

Her First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eight Amendment rights were violated.

Since her ordeal began in 2010, she was imprisoned for courageously revealing US high crimes of war and against humanity in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Subjecting her to unreasonable searches and seizures violated her Fourth Amendment rights.

Her Fifth Amendment rights of due process, protection from self-incrimination, and possible double jeopardy were violated.

So was her Sixth Amendment right of a public trial represented by counsel, an impartial jury, and evidence explaining charges against her.

Subjecting her to cruel and unusual punishments, including the threat to her freedom and well-being by demanding she testify before a grand jury in secret without counsel violated her Fifth, Sixth, and Eight Amendment rights.

Instead of being a shield against oppressive, arbitrary authority, the US grand jury system is a sword against fundamental constitutional rights because of its manipulative practices, prosecutors doing whatever it takes to get indictments.

Wrongfully imprisoned in London at the behest of the Trump regime, Assange faces extradition to the US for the “crime” of truth-telling journalism the way it’s supposed to be — putting other independent journalists at risk in the West and elsewhere.

Weeks earlier, Assange’s father John Shipton said his son is “subjected to every kind of torment” imaginable by UK authorities in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison.

His physical and emotional health fast-deteriorating, he’s being slowly assassinated.

“The only people who are breaking the law are the UK government and the Crown Prosecution Service,” said Shipton — in cahoots with the Trump regime, adding:

The intensity of his mistreatment increased since forcefully dragged from London’s Ecuadorian embassy in April.

UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer earlier said

“(i)n 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution, I have never seen a group of (so-called) democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”

We’re all Julian Assange. His fate is ours. At stake is the fate of speech, media and academic freedoms. Losing them jeopardizes all other fundamental rights.

What’s happening to Assange and Chelsea Manning puts everyone publicly expressing views that differ from the official narrative at risk — fascism triumphing over freedom, the rule of law rendered null and void.

Candidate Trump said “I love WikiLeaks.” Calling its site “amazing,” he added “I love reading those WikiLeaks.”

As president, he called Assange “disgraceful,” adding he deserves the “death penalty.” Following his April arrest, DJT turned truth on its head, saying “I know nothing about Wikileaks. It’s not my thing.”

Exposing government wrongdoing, truth-telling journalism, dissent, doing the right things despite risk of great personal harm are the highest forms of patriotism.

When whistleblowers and journalists are criminalized for exposing government wrongdoing on the phony pretext of protecting national security or other fabricated reasons, fundamental freedoms no longer exist.

Thomas Jefferson once said speech “cannot be limited without being lost” — the fundamental right upheld by Supreme Court rulings.

WikiLeaks earlier published an open letter to Trump, saying the following:

“We are journalists, activists and citizens from the United States and around the world who care about press freedom and are writing to you in response to the latest threat of prosecution against WikiLeaks for its journalistic work.”

“We ask you to immediately close the grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks and drop any charges against Julian Assange and other Wikileaks staff members…”

“This threat to WikiLeaks escalates a long-running war of attrition against the great virtue of the United States — free speech.”

Obama “prosecuted more whistleblowers than all (former US) presidents combined and opened a grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks that had no precedent.”

“It now appears the US is preparing to take the next step — prosecuting publishers who provide the ‘currency’ of free speech, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson.”

Wrongful “charges (against Assange), including conspiracy, theft of government property and violating the Espionage Act” were fabricated to frame him.

“A threat to WikiLeaks’ work — which is publishing information protected under the First Amendment — is a threat to all free journalism. If the DOJ is able to convict a publisher for its journalistic work, all free journalism can be criminalized.”

“We call on you as president of the United States to close the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks and drop” all charges against Assange and WikiLeaks.

“It was a free and robust press that provided you with a platform on which to run for president.”

“Defending a truly free press requires freedom from fear and favor and the support of journalists and citizens everywhere; for the kind of threat now facing WikiLeaks — and all publishers and journalists — is a step into the darkness.”

At a November 24 UK launch of the book titled “In Defense of Julian Assange,” John Pilger said the following:

Assange’s revelations represent “(a)ll the people whose lives were devastated in Iraq, the people whose lives were devastated in Afghanistan, and Yemen, all over the world that WikiLeaks had told us so much about.”

His unjust persecution is all about robbing people of their freedom and other fundamental rights.

“If they can come for Julian they can come for the rest of us, unless we stand up, speak, make sure our voices are heard,” Pilger stressed.

Assange is a political prisoner, “guilty” of truth-telling investigative journalism the way it’s supposed to be.

In 2015, life-sized bronze statutes of Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden were unveiled in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz.

Their sculptor Davide Dormino said he wanted to “represent three contemporary heroes who have lost their freedom for the truth,” adding: “Their work is reminder of “how important it is to know the truth.”

On Thursday at a large gathering in London for Assange, Australian journalist Kerry O’Brien warned that he’s unjustly “mouldering in a British prison awaiting extradition to the United States.”

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance head Paul Murphy slammed Western media for failing to support Assange, siding with his persecutors.

Historian, former UK ambassador, human rights activist Craig Murray explained that “(d)espite the lack of coverage or biased coverage in mainstream media, there is now an understanding that Julian is being extradited to the United States for nothing except for publishing the truth,” adding:

He believes “we will see one of the largest campaigns (in support of Assange) of our time” next year.

UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer warned that “(i)f Assange gets extradited to the United States and if he gets punished for exposing the truth, then essentially what’s happening is that telling the truth becomes a crime,” adding:

“He’s going to be sentenced by the same judge that sentences all of these whistleblowers in a closed court in East Virginia, and he’ll disappear in a high security prison in inhumane conditions for the rest of his life…if he makes it that far.”

Assange faces either longterm US gulag hell imprisonment or death before arrival from UK brutal mistreatment designed to kill him.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from TruePublica

Israel’s Netanyahu: Dead Man Walking Politically and Judicially

By Stephen Lendman

Source

He’s charged with fraud, bribery and breach of trust, Israel’s first ever sitting prime minister to face prosecution for these serious offenses.

Hard evidence against him is damning. His scourge appears coming to an end once the legal process expected to take time plays out.

Make no mistake. He’s a world-class thug Time magazine called “King Bibi” in May 2012.

Saying he conquered Israel suppressed his high crimes of war, against humanity, and other offenses — compounded since then. 

The puff piece also ignored his deep-seated corruption, his governance of, by, and for privileged Israelis exclusively, his persecution of Palestinians for not being Jewish, his tenure exceeding Sharonian evil.

Arundhati Roy once called India a “limbless, headless, soulless torso left bleeding under the butcher’s clever with a flag driven deep into her mutilated heart.” 

The above describes Israeli regimes throughout the country’s history, notably during Netanyahu’s time in office — his agenda pockmarked with malign viciousness, institutionalized racism, militarism and belligerence, exploitive cruelty, occupation harshness, neoliberal rapaciousness, and wars at his discretion without declaring them.

Governing anti-democratically with an iron fist, he spurns regional peace, stability, equity, justice, and the rule of law — notions he abhors.

He once called no-peace/peace talks with Palestinians “a waste of time.” He wants all valued parts of Judea and Samaria unlawfully annexed, Palestinians dispossessed for Jews-only development.

He’s losing the fight for his political life and ability to remain free from incarceration.

A psychopathological liar, he falsely called criminal charges against him fabricated, “an attempted government coup against the prime minister through blood libels and a biased investigation process (sic).”

According to Israel’s Channel 12, he’s losing Likud support, saying senior party members admit that “the Netanyahu era is over,” plotting behind the scenes to remove him as party leader following AG Mandelbit’s indictment.

A Channel 13 report was similar, Likudniks saying: “We are trying to figure out how to wrest the party from his hands.”

Senior party members reportedly are seeking consensus on who should replace him.

Channel 12 and 13 said Mandelblit won’t demand he resign as prime minister unless convicted, but will insist he relinquish four ministerial posts he holds — agriculture, health, social and diaspora affairs.

Until recently, he also held the foreign affairs and war ministry portfolios.

On Friday, Ynet News said Mandelblit will likely issue a legal opinion, saying “significant legal difficulties” stand in the way of affording him a mandate to form a new government — given serious charges he faces.

Though Israeli law permits an indicted prime minister to remain in office unless convicted, the issue was never judicially ruled on in Israeli history.

Its Supreme Court may have final say on it given serious wrongdoing Netanyahu is charged with, making him politically damaged goods.

According to a Friday published poll, 56% of Israelis want Netanyahu to resign. Only 35% support his staying on as prime minister.

According to Israeli Law Professor Suzie Navot: “All of the questions that we are dealing with now are new questions for Israel. We’ve never been in this situation. It’s unprecedented.”

Labor party leader Amir Peretz said lawyers representing the party will petition Israel’s Supreme Court to order Netanyahu’s removal as prime minister because he’s an obstacle to resolving the election standoff while under indictment.

He may be losing US establishment media support. The NYT accused him of “attack(ing) his country’s institutions,” adding:

“(H)e turned viciously on the police and prosecutors, urging Israelis to ‘investigate the investigators,’ warning of an ‘attempted coup’ and vowing not to step down.” 

“It was a hard conspiracy theory to swallow, as the attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, had been appointed by Mr. Netanyahu and had once been his cabinet secretary.”

Separately, the Times said if Netanyahu’s “allies don’t make him stand down, we are headed for chaos,” adding:

“The right way out of this sorry situation is for Mr. Netanyahu’s party and his allies to step up — and tell the prime minister it is time to step down.”

“Some (Netanyahu) supporters are sticking by him, while others are wavering.”

“(S)ome rock-solid Netanyahu voters who expressed doubts about the criminal charges said that it was untenable for him to try to continue in office while he defends himself in court.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that “Netanyahu faces growing frustrations in his Likud party,” adding:

Members are “increasingly calling for a leadership vote as they question Mr. Netanyahu’s ability to lead them to victory in a new vote.” 

“On Friday, some members of Likud’s governing body said the party should hold primaries to choose a new leader that could try to form a new government to avert a third election and give Mr. Netanyahu time to address his legal issues.”

He can’t deal with legal proceedings against him, run Likud, and govern as Israeli prime minister at the same time.

The Journal cited Likudnik MK Yoav Kisch, saying primaries are inevitable to decide who leads the party ahead.

“Other Likud members also acknowledged a growing frustration with Mr. Netanyahu’s legal struggles and its harm to the party’s electoral fortunes,” the Journal reported.

“Other Likud members also acknowledged a growing frustration with Mr. Netanyahu’s legal struggles and its harm to the party’s electoral fortunes.”

Haaretz editors called for him to “go home now,” adding: “Anyone who expected a modicum of proper conduct from the prime minister saw once again his colossal irresponsibility,” adding: 

“Netanyahu proved that Israel is not his top priority, but rather a means for him to continue in office.”

Separately, Haaretz said he “won’t go quietly and will opt for the burning torches.”

Resolving his political and legal status has a long way to go, the likelihood of his remaining PM and prevailing judicially weak at best.

Israel’s Supreme Court — Upholding “Targeted Assassinations” and Torture

Global Research, November 08, 2019

Time and again, Israel’s high court upholds human and civil rights abuses committed by the state.

In 2006, the court upheld its targeted assassinations policy, claiming they’re OK when no other choices exist to protect against dangers to national security — that don’t exist it failed to say.

The policy contravenes Israeli law, the laws of war, and human rights law. Time and again, Israel falsely calls legitimate self-defense by Palestinians “terrorism,” unjustifiably justifying its lawless actions, most often upheld by its high court.

In Public Committee against Torture in Israel et al v. the Government of Israel et al (1999), Israel’s Supreme Court banned the practice it earlier OK’d, ruling “psychological pressure (and) a moderate degree of physical pressure” are permissible.

Israel’s 1987 Landau Commission condemned harsh interrogations amounting to torture, but approved the practice to obtain evidence for convictions in criminal proceedings, saying these tactics are necessary against “hostile (threats or acts of) terrorist activity and all expressions of Palestinian nationalism.”

Despite calling the 1984 UN Convention against Torture “absolute (with) no exceptions and no balances,” Israel’s high court OK’d coercive interrogations in three cases.

It permitted violent shaking, painful shackling, hooding, playing deafeningly loud music, sleep deprivation, and lengthly detainments.

Loopholes in the high court’s 1999 ruling OK’d abusive practices amounting to torture despite banning the practice.

It notably allowed physical force in so-called “ticking bomb” cases, giving Israeli interrogators and others wide latitude on their actions.

The court effectively ruled both ways, approving torture and other abusive practices despite banning it.

International law is clear and unequivocal on this issue, banning it at all times, under all circumstances with no allowed exceptions.

In 2015, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by human rights groups and political movements that called for overturning the Anti-Boycott Law.

At the time, the Global BDS Movement and Coalition for Women for Peace called the bill “one of the most dangerous anti-democratic laws promoted” by Knesset members, adding:

“Boycott is a nonviolent, legal and legitimate means to promote social and political aims that are protected in civil rights of freedom of expression, opinion and assembly. The bill constitutes a fatal blow to all these civil rights.”

The police state law punishes entities or individuals that call for boycotting Israel, or an economic, cultural, or academic boycott of its illegal settlements.

According to the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Israel’s Supreme Court “ignored the chilling effect of this law, and missed the opportunity to tell legislators that there are limits to their anti-human rights actions. This law encourages discrimination against the Arabs in Israel.”

The 2012 Nakba Law “harms both the freedom of expression and the civil rights of Arab citizens, even before its implementation.”

“Because the law’s formulation is so broad and vague, many institutions have already begun and will self-censor in order not to risk incurring penalties.”

Israel’s high court upheld the law, falsely claiming it “does not raise difficult and complex questions.”

It violates Arab history, culture, heritage, and the right to express, teach, or disseminate it freely.

Arab intellectual Constantin Zureiq earlier called the Nakba “the worst catastrophe in the deepest sense of the word, to have befallen the Arabs in their long and disaster-ridden history.”

Compromising their ability to publicly denounce what happened compounds the high crime against them.

Speech, press, and academic freedoms in Israel are gravely endangered. In 2017, legislation was enacted that banned foreign nationals who support BDS from entering the country.

Last April, Israel’s Jerusalem district court ruled against Human Rights Watch’s Israeli office director Omar Shakir, a US citizen, ordering him deported for supporting the global BDS movement, his lawful free expression right.

HRW appealed the ruling, petitioning Israel’s Supreme Court to overturn the injustice. It got an injunction to let Shakir stay in the country until the high court heard his case.

On Tuesday, the court ruled against him, Shakir tweeting:

“Breaking: Israeli Supreme Court upholds my deportation over my rights advocacy. Decision now shifts back to Israeli gov; if it proceeds, I have 20 days to leave…(W)e won’t be the last.”

Critic of Israeli human rights abuses Amnesty International said

“the court has made it explicitly clear that those who dare to speak out about human rights violations by the Israeli authorities will be treated as enemies of the state.”

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled against free expression. Without it, all other rights are jeopardized.

Compromising speech, press, and academic freedoms is the hallmark of totalitarian rule — the new normal in the US, other Western societies and Israel, affirmed by its high court.

Is is just a matter of time before Western ones rule the same way?

Is digital democracy in the West and Israel endangered?

Are abuses against Chelsea Manning, other whistleblowers, Julian Assange, and other independent journalists prelude for much more severe crackdowns against fundamental freedoms ahead?

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from IMEMC


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