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.

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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 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

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