Saturday, August 01, 2015

TPP Ministerial Deadlock

TPP Ministerial Deadlock

by Stephen Lendman

Friday’s fourth/dubbed “final” ministerial attempt to reach agreement failed. Global Trade Watch Director Lori Wallach called it a “Maui (Hawaii) meltdown.” 

Congress went on five-week summer recess with lots of unfinished business awaiting members in September - notably the Iran nuclear deal and 12 annual spending bills.

Wallach expects no 2015 congressional action on TPP - especially with other nations disagreeing on key provisions still unresolved. She believes chances for agreement are reduced because of “opposition building in many countries.”

“It’s good news for people and the planet that no deal was done at this final do-or-die meeting given the TPP’s threats to jobs, wages, safe food, affordable medicines and more, she explained. 

“Only the beleaguered negotiators and most of the 600 official US trade advisors representing corporate interests wanted this deal…” Polls show it’s unpopular in countries involved for good reason. 

It’s hugely anti-consumer/anti-environment. It’s a trade deal only corporate predators would love - along with government bureaucrats and other officials doing their bidding.

Ministerial disagreement is prelude to strong opposition once congressional members and the public see specific provisions adversely affecting their lives and welfare.

“Given the damaging impacts that some TPP proposals could have for many people, it’s not surprising that the same set of issues including investor-state dispute resolution and medicine patents as well as market access issues like sugar, dairy, and rules-of-origin on manufactured goods like autos remain deadlocked given they will determine whether a final pact is politically viable in various TPP countries,” Wallach explained.

Twenty-eight House Democrats backed Fast Track authority to ram TPP through Congress with minimal debate and no amendments. Many said their continued support depends on provisions mandating strong enforceable labor and environmental standards along with no changes in access to medicines by patent regulatory changes - standards TPP doesn’t meet.

The Financial Times called failure in Maui a “major blow…potentially complicating further the politics of an already controversial project.”

Days of Maui ministerial discussions were billed as a final negotiating round. Lots of disagreements remain - including market access for dairy products, autos and sugar, intellectual property rules, patents on pharmaceuticals and environmental concerns.

After five years of on-and-off negotiations, much remains unresolved. US Trade Representative Michael Froman put on a brave face saying “(w)e are more confident than ever that TPP is within reach.”

The timing of another meeting is uncertain - perhaps not until late this year when presidential politics heats up and Congress is pressured near yearend to resolve spending and other key issues before adjourning. 

The Wall Street Journal said “deep differences” remain. Whether resolvable so far is uncertain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Hillary Clinton's Scandalous Record

Hillary Clinton’s Scandalous Record

by Stephen Lendman

Kathleen Willey is a former White House volunteer. She said Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her during his first term in office - in his Oval Office private study.

She created “A Scandal a day” web site. Her book titled “Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton” became a best seller.

Willey created her web site to alert Americans about “the potential danger of Hillary Clinton becoming president.” Among an array of rogue presidential aspirants, she stands out as especially abhorrent - a menace to world peace, stability and security as well as what remains of homeland freedoms.

Perhaps scandals haunting her will derail her presidential ambitions. The Wall Street Journal revealed another one, headlining “UBS Deal Shows Clinton’s Complicated Ties.”

In return for intervening on behalf of Swiss banking giant UBS in a case involving an IRS suit seeking identities of Americans with secret accounts believed to be possible tax cheats, the Clinton Foundation got “large contributions…and a fat paycheck for Bill Clinton to participate in question-and-answer session(s) with” top bank officials - a clear conflict of interest.

The IRS wanted names of 52,000 accounts. Clinton got the number reduced to 4,450. UBS contributions to her foundation increased from less than $60,000 in 2008 to about $600,000 by yearend 2014.

It loaned a foundation initiative “to launch entrepreneurship and inner-city programs” $32 million. It paid Bill Clinton $1.5 million for a series of private Q & A sessions.

Hillary’s involvement with UBS “is a prime example of how (she and husband Bill’s) private and political activities,” perhaps cross the line - potentially illegally, said the Journal. 

“UBS is just one of a series of companies that engaged with both the Clinton family’s charitable organization and the State Department under Mrs. Clinton.” In this case, she intervened on behalf of a foreign bank, “not a popular constituency among Democrats.”

Mixing foundation contributions with fundraising reflects a disturbing Clinton family practice - selling influence for huge sums.

Law Professor Lawrence Lessig said they “engaged in behavior to make people wonder: What was this about?” What other than what’s been revealed.

UBS officials lied claiming no connection between their IRS case and foundation donations. along with lucrative sums to husband Bill. A Swiss embassy in Washington spokeswoman declined comment.

In May 2008, former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld was indicted for arranging “fictitious trusts and bogus corporations to conceal the ownership and control of offshore assets. (He) advised clients to destroy bank records and helped them file false tax returns…”

In January 2010, he began serving a three-year, four-month sentence for blowing the whistle on one of the largest tax fraud schemes in US history.

He was the first insider ever to explain the secretive world of Swiss banking. He said 90% of his UBS clients were tax cheats. Senior bank officials ignored criminality for profits.

Birkenfeld said he exposed 19,000 international criminals with accounts worth over $19 billion.

“The disclosure led UBS to enter into a deferred-prosecution agreement with the Justice Department in 2009,” said the Journal. 

“The bank admitted to helping set up sham companies, creating phony paperwork and deceiving customs officials. It paid a $780 million fine and turned over the names of 250 account holders.”

Another 52,000 accounts worth $18 billion remained secret in a dispute with the IRS. Clinton’s role in resolving things was more extensive than earlier reported. She got involved at least in part over “separate diplomatic concerns,” said the Journal.

She met with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey. Switzerland’s Tehran embassy represented US interests since 1979. Iranian issues were discussed - including a jailed US journalist, the Swiss energy consulting company Colenco allegedly violating US sanctions, and so-called “low-risk” Guantanamo detainees Clinton wanted Switzerland to take.

Its government responded to her concerns favorably. Out-of-court negotiations to settle the UBS case resolved it. Clinton pressure was apparently heavy-handed. Calmy-Rey said the US-Swiss relationship was at stake.

On Friday, a deal in principle was announced at the State Department. The Justice Department and IRS dropped the lawsuit, settling things under a US-Swiss treaty. UBS agreed to reveal names of only 4,450 of 52,000 secret accounts.

Calmy-Rey called resolution a “Peace Treaty.” UBS was pleased. So were thousands of US tax cheats. Large sums of bank cash flowed to the Clintons for services rendered.

Former Justice Department lawyer Stu Gibson in charge of prosecuting UBS said the process leading to resolution “raises questions that need to be addressed, or should be addressed.” If the Clintons violated US laws, accountability should follow.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

America's Sham Democracy

America’s Sham Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

America’s political season never ends - a monied interest-driven perpetual electoral cycle too corrupted to fix. Voters are deluded to think they matter. They have no say whatever. 

Duopoly power rules. Powerful interests decide everything. Democrats and Republicans are virtual clones of each other, differences between them too minor to matter on issues mattering most.

Co-founder of the Industrial Workers of America (the Wobblies) and five-time presidential candidate (first as a Democrat, later the nation’s most prominent Socialist) Eugene Debs (1855 - 1926) once said:

“The differences between the Republican and Democratic parties involve no issue, no principle in which the working class has any interest.”

Politicians breach campaign pledges when elected. Ignore what they say on the stump. Follow only what they do.

All announced presidential aspirants march to the same drummer - not a dime’s worth of difference among them on major issues, including war and peace, corporate empowerment, social injustice and hardline crackdowns on nonbelievers.

Bernie Sanders was the only overt Senate supporter for universal healthcare. When it mattered most, he voted with Democrats for Obamacare. 

His no vote would have killed what Ralph Nader calls a "pay or die" system - a rationing scheme benefitting insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains.

The problem with Sanders is his rhetoric belies his record. He votes 98% of the time with Senate Democrats - supporting many policies he publicly rejects.

He'll back war goddess/corporate shill/anti-populist Hillary Clinton if she's nominated. "Maybe I shouldn't say this: I like Hillary Clinton," he said.

He refuses to attack her appalling record as senator, secretary of state, and influence-peddling worth tens of millions of dollars for the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Foundation. When asked if he'll support the Democrat party nominee, he said: "Yes. I have in the past." 

He refuses to run as an independent. "(A)bsolutely not," he said. "I've been very clear about that." Instead of challenging America’s corrupt duopoly, he’s part of it like all the rest. In his case, a rhetorical populist, concealing a hardcore business as usual agenda.

Previous articles said 2016 presidential aspirants from both parties look more like an FBI most wanted list - a rogue bunch no different from Bush and Obama or maybe worse.

No matter who’s elected president or to key congressional posts next November, endless imperial wars will continue, whatever Wall Street wants it’ll get, other corporate favoritism will continue at the expense of social justice, and police state toughness will crack down as needed.

A Sanders presidency assures business as usual. He says one thing and does another. He’s been a phony populist throughout his political career. Ralph Nader once called him a loner, unwilling to work with civic groups on issues he claims to support.

As Burlington, VT mayor in the 1980s, he reassured monied interests saying “I’m not going to war with the city’s financial and business community, and I know there is little I can do from City Hall” to change things.

He supported business interests at the expense of ordinary people he pledged to serve. In Congress, he backed lawless Iraq sanctions responsible for the death of around 1.5 million people (mostly young children) and Clinton’s rape of Yugoslavia.

In 2001, he supported unlimited Authorization for the Use of Military Force - the green light for endless phony “war on terror” aggression against one country after another.

Though rhetorically against Bush’s Iraq war, he voted for the March 21, 2003 resolution stating:

“Congress expresses the unequivocal support and appreciation of the nation to the President as Commander-in-Chief for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the ongoing Global War on Terrorism."

He supported Afghanistan and Iraq occupations, saying “I don’t think you can do (an) immediate withdrawal…I don’t think that’s practical.”

He opposed impeaching Bush and Obama - despite their horrendous war crimes demanding accountability. 

He unapologetically supports Israeli criminality - including last summer’s Gaza war, a bandit act of naked aggression. He opposes Palestinian statehood based on pre-1967 borders - 22% of historic Palestine.

He backed the 2006 Iran Freedom Support Act - authorizing funding for groups wanting Tehran’s sovereign independence replaced by pro-Western stooge governance.

He voted for the 2014 Ukraine Freedom Support Act - authorizing lethal and other aid for the US-installed, Nazi-infested coup d’etat junta masquerading as legitimate governance. The regime continues waging war on its own people while committing horrendous human rights abuses against anyone resisting its tyranny.

He supports prosecuting Edward Snowden for connecting important dots for millions about lawless NSA spying - while calling information he revealed “extremely important.”

He’s anti-immigrant. He wants federal visas restricted or suspended. He pretends it’s to protect US jobs.

He’s a hardcore Democrat party member - calling himself independent or socialist is rhetorical deception to enlist popular support.

The race for the White House in 2017 involves all candidates from both parties supporting a race to the bottom for ordinary Americans - along with no letup in endless wars. Next November, vote independent or stay home.

A Final Comment

Candidate Sanders again rhetorically backs universal healthcare. “The time has come to say that we need to expand Medicare to cover every man, woman and child as a single-payer, national healthcare program,” he said.

It’s a fundamental human right. So why did Sanders vote for a corporate-run system - excluding millions, overcharging, making it unaffordable for millions more, and making America’s dysfunctional system worse? 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Israeli State Terror Without Mercy

Israeli State Terror Without Mercy

by Stephen Lendman

Daily state-sponsored terror against millions of Palestinians is official Israeli policy - settler violence and vandalism an extension of how soldiers, police and other security forces ruthlessly abuse them.

The vast majority of incidents go reported - nor pain and suffering of people deserving better, terrorized by a brutal occupying force, stealing their land, denying them all rights, cracking down hard on legitimate resistance.

The immolation of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha by soldier-protected settlers shows why no Palestinians are safe from Israel’s murder and mayhem regime - a terror machine masquerading as democratic governance.

In July 2014, settlers abducted Mohammed Abu Khdeir. They burned him alive the way 18-month-old Ali died. 

His father Hussein said “(t)he Israeli government is too lenient and strengthens these racist criminals. We feel our son was murdered all over again. (Israel) doesn’t want peace.” It wants endless violence and chaos.

Settlers commit crimes against Palestinians and their property with full state support and encouragement. Yesh Din Volunteers for Human Rights reports over 85% of investigations of settler crimes against Palestinian are closed for lack of “sufficient evidence to enable indictment.”

They follow a scant 7% of incidents. One third of legal proceedings exonerate settlers - fully or partially. Less than 2% of complaints filed by Palestinians lead to convictions. Settlers have near immunity to abuse them any way they wish.

So do soldiers, police and other Israeli security forces. High crimes they commit against Palestinians rarely ever lead to prosecutions and convictions.

Two years after Operation Cast Lead (Dec. 2008 - Jan. 2009), only four Israeli soldiers faced criminal charges - two for credit card fraud, two others for using a nine-year-old boy as a human shield. None for cold-blooded murder.

The defrauders alone got short-term prison sentences and early releases - the others suspended sentences. In late January 2011, an Israeli military court declined to incarcerate Lt. Col. Omri Burberg - despite his conviction for murdering a shackled and blindfolded Palestinian detainee.

Israeli soldiers and commanders responsible for killing, wounding or otherwise harming Palestinians are promoted and decorated for their criminality.

Peaceful protesters are attacked with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets and at times live fire - for exercising their legitimate right to demand justice.

Children are murdered for stone throwing - trigger-happy soldiers shoot to kill with impunity. Justice is systematically denied. Police state lawlessness prevails.

Friday incidents alone included soldiers lethally shooting 17-year-old Laith al-Khaldi near a Ramallah military checkpoint. Two surgeries couldn’t save him.

Two Gazans were shot for walking too close to Israel’s lawlessly imposed buffer zone on Palestinian land. They threatened no one. 17-year-old Mohammad Hamid al-Masri died instantly.

In the past two weeks alone, Israeli forces opened fire on nonthreatening Gazans 23 times - for approaching too close to the so-called security zone.

On Friday, thousands of Palestinians publicly mourned 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha’s death by immolation. His charred body beyond recognition was wrapped in a Palestinian flag.

Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces after Friday prayers. Hamas called for a “day of rage” across Palestine. Spokesman Abd al-Rahman posted a Facebook call for action, saying:

“We ask our sons in the West Bank to stand vociferously against these crimes and to respond to the occupation with whatever means are at hand.” He urged mass “Friday of Anger” protests.

Another Hamas spokesman, Husam Badran, said this “crime makes legitimate targets out of Israeli soldiers and settlers for the resistance everywhere.” 

Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees called for a “revolution of anger” across Palestine - adding Israel can only be stopped by force.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) urged “escalate(d) resistance” against Israel.

They revealed multiple international law violations. Settlements compromise fundamental Palestinian human rights.  

Violations are “interrelated.” They comprise “part of an overall pattern of breaches.”

They're “characterized principally by the denial of the right to self-determination and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian people which occur on a daily basis.”

“Since 1967, Israeli governments have openly led, directly participated in, and had full control of the planning, construction, development, consolidation and encouragement of settlements.”

UN Mission findings included violating Fourth Geneva's Article 49.

It prohibits “(i)ndividuals or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, regardless of their motive.”

The Mission said “Israel must cease all settlement activities without preconditions.” They benefit Jews exclusively. They institutionalize racist segregation. Military occupation enforces policies contrary to international law.

“The Mission notes that despite all the pertinent United Nations resolutions declaring that the existence of the settlements is illegal and calling for their cessation, the planning and growth of the settlements continues both of existing as well as new structures.”

It called for settlement activities halted without preconditions - “immediately initiat(ing) a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the OPT.”

It urged companies and governments to “assess the human rights impact of their activities” - calling on them to “cease all connections to settlements.”

It suggested possible imposition of economic and political sanctions. With Washington's support, Israel remains unpunished for its high crimes.

Decades of occupation harshness terrorize Palestinians systematically - part of Israel’s longstanding ethnic cleansing and slow-motion genocide agenda for maximum Jews and minimum Arabs throughout historic Palestine. 

Unrelenting committed resistance against appalling injustice is the only chance for liberation. Nothing else can work.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hollow Israeli Sorrow Over Palestinian Baby Immolation by Settlers

Hollow Israeli Sorrow Over Palestinian Baby Immolation by Settlers

by Stephen Lendman

Israeli officials throughout its history consistently showed contempt for Palestinian rights - from Ben-Gurion to Allon to Meir to Begin to Rabin to Peres to Sharon to Netanyahu and others, an array of rogue leaders, not a democrat in the bunch.

All believed in affording rights solely to Jews. None supported fundamental fairness. All committed high crimes against defenseless Palestinians - from Ben-Gurion’s Nakba to Netanyahu’s Protective Edge along with decades of racist persecution from 1948 through today - horrific barbarism against an entire population, flagrantly violating international law unaccountably.

Netanyahu’s “shock” over 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha’s immolation by settlers belies his reign of terror on Palestine, his genocidal Gaza war last summer, his daily persecution of millions of Palestinian victims, his contempt for the rule of law.

IDF spokesman Moti Amoz ludicrously said “I cannot recall such a serious incident in the past few years.”

What about deliberately targeting Gazan civilians during Operation Protective Edge, murdering scores of entire families in cold blood, reducing residential communities to rubble, ordering soldiers to shoot to kill all Palestinians in sight - including women, young children, infants as they slept, the elderly and infirm.

What about attacking refugee camps, UN safe havens, hospitals, schools, mosques, residential homes and numerous other civilian targets unrelated to military necessity.

What about teaching young Jewish children to hate Arabs - manipulating their minds when they’re too young to understand.

What about a nation facing no threats mobilized for war at all times. What about soldiers rampaging daily through Palestinian communities, breaking into homes pre-dawn, terrorizing families, traumatizing children, vandalizing property, making lawless arrests followed by brutal interrogations amounting to torture, then detention without right to counsel or family contacts for days or weeks, including for devastated young children.

What about a racist rogue terror state exceeding South African apartheid viciousness. What about Palestine a virtual free-fire zone - soldiers and other security forces brutalizing and killing with impunity.

Opposition Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog called baby Ali’s immolation “terror of the worst kind.” What about Israeli mass murder last summer for 51 horrifying days, affecting 1.8 million trapped Gazans.

Israel is its own worst enemy. An accompanying article said regular settler crimes are a microcosm of issues of far greater consequence - reflected in daily state sponsored terrorism against millions of defenseless Palestinians.

They’re persecuted, beaten, and murdered for protesting peacefully for rights everyone deserves. They’re targeted for the crime of “fishing.” They’re shot tilling their fields.

Young children are terrorized at home, at play or coming from or going to school. They’re arrested and now face up to 20 years in prison for the crime of stone-throwing. They’re killed or wounded by trigger-happy soldiers with impunity.

International leaders able to intervene responsibly yawn and do nothing - endorsing Israeli atrocities by silence or inaction.

Nations mobilized for war at all times, waging them constantly, persecuting their own people and others, showing contempt for rule of law principles, and serving its privileged few at the expense of all others are doomed to fail.

America and Israel are Exhibits A and B - partners in horrific crimes of war and against humanity. Their day of reckoning awaits.

The late Chalmers Johnson warned about “the sorrows of empire,” a culture of corruption and militarism, endless wars of aggression called humanitarian ones, collapse of constitutional governance, a nation run by criminals posing as democrats, a phony war on terror not ending in our lifetime.

An unavoidable day of reckoning awaits. Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance and punisher of hubris and arrogance in Greek mythology is among us, he said.

She’s unseen, patiently stalking our way of life, awaiting the moment to make her presence known. Johnson compared her to Wagner's Brunnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen. 

Unlike Nemesis, she collects heroes, not fools and hypocrites. They both announce their presence the same way: "Only the doomed see” them, unable to escape their sting.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Israeli Settlers Burn Palestinian Infant to Death

Israeli Settlers Burn Palestinian Infant to Death

by Stephen Lendman

On July 31, extremist Israeli settlers attacked at least two Palestinian homes in Duma village near Nablus. They arrived late at night.

They spray-painted anti-Palestinian racist hate slogans on the Dawabsha family home. They smashed a window, threw firebombs inside, set the structure ablaze, burned 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha to death, inflicted third-degree burns (the most severe kind) on three other family members - his mother, father and brother aged four.

Their home was completely destroyed. An adjacent one was partly burned. The attack reflects more than criminal arson. It represents an extreme example of systemic settler violence and vandalism committed against nonthreatening Palestinians on their own land - vicious racist acts rarely punished.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner called the attack “nothing short of a barbaric act of terrorism. A comprehensive investigation is underway in order to find the terrorists and bring them to justice.” We’ll see what follows.

Racist settler supporter Education Minister Naftali Bennett condemned the attack as “criminal…Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism,” he twittered.

What Israeli officials expressed outrage over its premeditated genocidal wars on Gaza, its ruthless persecution of millions of Palestinians for not being Jewish, its gulag filled with thousands of Palestinian political prisoners wanting freedom on their own land in their own country, a rogue state run by fascists, racists and religious zealots threatening world peace.

Settler crimes are a microcosm of issues of far greater consequence. So far this year, they carried out at least 120 West Bank/East Jerusalem acts of violence and/or vandalism - according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Often they happen with Israeli security force protection - or soldiers and police ignoring what’s occurring.

B’Tselem says “(t)he undeclared policy of the Israeli authorities in response to these attacks is lenient and conciliatory. Perpetrators are rarely tried, and many cases are not investigated at all or are closed with no operative conclusions.”

The Yesh Din Volunteers for Human Rights group addressed the issue in a June report titled “Standing Idly By,” saying:

Israeli soldiers do virtually nothing to protect Palestinians from settler violence and vandalism. According to an unnamed IDF staff sergeant:

“A Jew throws rocks. The soldiers will call the police. The soldiers won’t point their guns at him. They will not arrest him. They won’t do anything to him. The police likely won’t either, except for telling him off” - if that.

Israeli Knesset members just passed legislation mandating up to 20 years imprisonment for Palestinians (including young children) accused of throwing stones with intent to cause harm - true or false. No evidence needed. Guilt by accusation is standard Israeli practice.

Yesh Din said “(t)he phenomenon of ‘standing idly by’ refers to incidents when soldiers witness violence by Israeli citizens against Palestinians and their property and do nothing to prevent the harm while the action is ongoing; refrain from detaining or arresting the perpetrators after the event; fail to secure the scene to allow the collection of evidence; or fail to testify about the event to the police.”

International law requires occupying powers to protect the welfare of people in territories they control. Israeli High Court rulings mandate this responsibility.

“(T)he IDF is obligated to maintain law and order in the West Bank,” Yesh Din stresses. Its actions are polar opposite - facilitating settler violence and vandalism, doing virtually nothing to prevent it or arrest guilty parties.

Dozens of Breaking the Silence soldier testimonies show they’re not aware of their obligation. They’re not trained to help Palestinians they control.

Only one soldier was ever held accountable for failing to provide protection as international law mandates. Disciplinary action alone followed, not criminal prosecution, Yesh Din explained.

It “demands that the phenomenon be addressed on the criminal level and be defined as a crime in the Military Justice Law, which should impose a deterring punishment on soldiers and officers who commit such offenses.”

“Offenses by Israeli citizens in the West Bank - settlers and others - have been tolerated for decades,” Yesh Din’s Eyal Hareuveni noted. 

“In order to confront this long-standing and entrenched pattern, the IDF must issue clear and concise standing orders that clarify to the soldiers their powers as law enforcers and their duty to protect the Palestinian population,” he added. 

“Likewise, the offense of standing idly by should be defined as a criminal offense in the Military Justice Law.” 

Lawless Israeli occupation remains ongoing after nearly half a century. Long denied justice is as remote now as ever.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

US Neocon Urges War on Iran

US Neocon Urges War on Iran

by Stephen Lendman

Age hasn’t mellowed neocon lunatic Norman Podhoretz. At 85, he’s as outrageously over-the-top as ever. 

He urges mass murdering Iranians in a Wall Street Journal op-ed no respectable editors would touch. Journal editors featured it. Podhoretz urged the same criminal act numerous times before.

The late Alex Cockburn called him an “apex neo-con.” He nicknamed him “Norman the Frother.” Journalist Bob Dreyfuss once called him a “wheezing neoconservative warhorse.” 

He’s a longtime apologist for Israel’s worst crimes - and America’s. His anti-Iranian rants border on delirium. He calls the failure to stop its nonexistent nuclear weapons program the equivalent of not confronting Hitler pre-WW II.

It’s hard imagining anyone takes him seriously. He headlined his Wall Street Journal piece “Israel’s Choice: Conventional War Now, or Nuclear War Later.” 

He called “Obama’s (nuclear) deal a calamity.” He repeated the tired old canard about it furthering its path to the bomb. 

He ignores Tehran’s abhorrence of nuclear weapons, clear evidence its program has no military component, its longtime advocacy for a nuclear-free Middle East, and nuclear armed and dangerous Israel. Not a word about it.

“(I)f the objective remains preventing Iran from getting the bomb (the whole world knows it doesn’t have or want), the only way to do so is bomb Iran,” he ranted.

He ludicrously claimed diplomacy “never work(s).” And the real P5+1 goal is “open(ing) the way to lucrative business contracts.” If so, why wait 36 years to do it.

For Obama, it’s achieving “his long-standing dream of a US detente with Iran.” He “conceded just about anything the Iranians wanted - without…admitting (his) acquiescence (to) an Iran armed with nuclear weapons and the rockets to deliver them.”

“(A)llowing Iran to get the bomb, (he’s) setting the stage for a nuclear war between Iran and Israel.”

You can’t make this stuff up. Iran hasn’t attacked another country in centuries. It threatens none now. It bears repeating. The whole world knows its nuclear program is peaceful with no military component or desire to have one.

Israel is polar opposite - a warrior state, indoctrinating its people to hate Arabs from the cradle to the grave. Waging endless wars on Palestine and neighboring countries. Threatening regional peace and stability.

Podhoretz repeated the longstanding Big Lie about Iran “bound and determined to wipe the Jewish state off the map.”

His alternatives are “conventional war now or nuclear war later.” He urges unilateral Israeli war now to “spar(e) itself - and the rest of the world - a nuclear conflagration in the not too distant future.”

He’s not the only neocon lunatic urging war on nonbelligerent Iran. They know its government wants peace, not conflict.

They want it toppled - replaced by pro-Western puppet governance, letting mainly US monied interests loot its resources, exploit it people, at the same time eliminating Israel’s main regional rival.

The phony Iranian nuclear scare is all about power, control and carving up another country for profits - not its nonexistent path to the bomb or barbarians at the gates. A neocon lunatic fringe echo chamber wants this phony threat alone repeated ad nauseam.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

More Illegal US Sanctions on Russia

More Illegal US Sanctions on Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Unilateral or jointly imposed sanctions by one or more countries against others are illegal. Authority rests solely with Security Council members.

They must first “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression,” as UN Charter, Chapter VII, Article 39 stipulates.

They may then “decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures,” as authorized under Article 41. 

“These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.”

It bears repeating. All unilateral or multilateral impositions of sanctions circumventing Security Council authority are illegal. America is by far the leading scofflaw - a lawless rogue state operating by its own rules and standards exclusively, spurning fundamental rule of law principles repeatedly, ignoring what demands compliance.

On March 6, 2014, Obama signed Executive Order 13660 - a lawless diktat authorizing sanctions on individuals or entities allegedly involved in violating Ukraine’s sovereignty or territory.

On March 17, Executive Order 13661 followed - another extrajudicial diktat targeting Russia for its legitimate right to maintain a military presence in Crimea, its nonexistent undermining of so-called Ukrainian “democratic processes,” including nonsensical claims about threatening its peace, security, stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On March 20, a third Executive Order “block(ed) property of additional persons contributing to the situation in Ukraine.”

Fact: No constitutional authority permits Executive Orders - other than stating "executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America (Article 2, Section 1)."

Its use is abused by bypassing Congress. "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives (Article 1, Section 1.)."

Constitutional checks and balances prevent empowering one governmental branch over another. Diktat power reflects tyranny.

On July 30, Obama imposed further sanctions on Russia by Executive Order - perhaps in response to its vetoing a Security Council resolution to establish a US-controlled MH17 kangaroo tribunal, one Washington wanted to hold Moscow and Donbass freedom fighters accountable for its own complicity in Kiev’s downing the commercial aircraft.

Eleven more individuals and 15 companies were targeted - including affiliates of oil giant Rosneft as well as others linked to Vnesheconombank (a state owned Bank of Foreign Economic Activity called the Russian Development Bank). 

Eight have ties to Russian businessman Gannady Timchenko. Four are former Ukrainian Yanukovych administrations officials. Five are involved in Crimean port or sea ferry operations.

The US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets acting director John E. Smith commented, saying:

“Today’s action underscores our resolve to maintain pressure on Russia for (its nonexistent violations of) international law (or involvement in) fueling the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Our message is clear. We will continue to act to ensure the effectiveness of our sanctions.”

Other senior US officials lied saying Thursday’s action was “routine,” not an “escalation.” It’s further proof of Washington continuing to act provocatively, upping the stakes, headed toward likely direct belligerent confrontation if these actions along with military ones in Eastern Europe continue.

Longstanding US policy calls for regime change - replacing Russian sovereignty with US-controlled puppet governance, pillaging its resources, balkanizing its huge land mass for easier control and exploiting its people.

Paul Craig Roberts is right saying Washington “wants to coerce Russia into submission.” He cites the (Paul) Wolfowitz Doctrine - co-authored with his deputy Scooter Libby when he was Bush I’s Under Secretary of Defense.

Its core principles were part of the Bush (II) Doctrine - what the late Senator Edward Kennedy described as “a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept.”

Roberts explains US policymakers consider any country “capable of standing up to Washington” a threat to its national security. “Today there are two such countries, Russia and China.”

“Washington always needs an enemy in order to justify the one trillion dollar annual budget of the military/security complex” and endless wars of aggression waged against invented adversaries threatening no one.

America’s hegemonic ambitions aim for achieving unchallenged world dominance - madness risking WW III, potential nuclear war able to end life on earth.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.