Thursday, August 28, 2014

Targeting Syria

Targeting Syria

by Stephen Lendman

On Tuesday, Obama addressed the American Legion's annual convention in Charlotte, NC. More on his speech below.

The next day, the so-called UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria (COI) issued its latest anti-Assad report.

Its mandate is investigating human rights abuses. It's a pro-Western imperial tool. Paulo Pinheiro heads it.

His reports bear testimony to his bias. He largely blames Assad for Western-sponsored crimes.

Last summer, Syria's permanent UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari addressed the General Assembly, saying:

"The Commission of Inquiry on Syria is still deliberately blowing things out of proportion when displaying its findings, also fully disregarding or downplaying core issues.''

''There are blood-curdling scenes that flagrantly contravene the Syrians' dignity and human rights regarding the crimes of the armed terrorist groups, ranging from eating human flesh, cutting throats, mutilating bodies, beheadings on sectarian and confessional grounds, throwing bodies from rooftops to committing hundreds of suicide bombings using car bombs in populated areas, recruiting children, abducting and slaughtering clergymen, assassinating scholars in mosques, issuing instigative fatwas on 'sexual jihad,' killing children on the charges of infidelity, robbing factories and transporting them to Turkey."

COI largely ignored them until Obama declared war on IS. Doing so is a pretext to advance Washington's regional imperium.

It has nothing to do with humanitarian intervention. Democratic values don't matter. 

It has everything to do with seeking unchallenged dominance. It's about serving monied interests instead of popular ones.

COI's new report headlined "Syria's brutal war threatens international peace and security."

It ignores Washington's full responsibility for waging it. Proxy death squad killers are used. They're imported from dozens of countries.

They include growing numbers of Islamic State (IS) fighters. COI cited "(m)ass atrocities by Government and non-State armed groups."

It highlighted the risks of spreading conflict. "Hundreds of civilians are dying each day as the fighting goes on with no regard to law or to conscience," said Pinheiro.

In areas IS controls, "Fridays are regularly marked by executions, amputations and lashings in public squares." 

"Civilians, including children, are urged to watch. Bodies of those killed are placed on display for several days, terrorizing the local population." 

"Women have been lashed for not abiding by (IS's) dress code."

Its members committed crimes of war and against humanity, said Pinheiro.

They include "torture, murder, enforced disappearances and forcible displacement."

IS "poses a clear and present danger to civilians, and particularly minorities, under its control in Syria and in the region."

Other non-state groups pose similar threats, said Pihheiro. He saved his toughest criticism for Assad.

He did so unjustly. He did in previous reports. He's now apparently promoting direct US intervention.

He's a legal scholar. So is former Constitutional law professor Obama. They know only the Security Council can authorize letting one country attack another.

It can only be in self-defense. It's never how America wages wars. It doesn't matter. 

Naked aggression is official US policy. Pinheiro apparently supports it wholeheartedly. 

Damascus keeps committing crimes of war and against humanity with impunity, he claimed.

From January through July, he alleged government forces killed hundreds of men, women and children weekly.

He lied claiming government forces prevent injured civilians from reaching hospitals. Saying they block medical supply deliveries is false.

So is claiming "(h)umanitarian aid (is) obstructed as a weapon of war." And "(i)n Government prisons, detainees were subjected to horrific torture and sexual assault."

Saying "Government forces used chemical agents, likely chlorine, in eight separate incidents in western Syria" during April and May is a bald-faced Big Lie.

Anti-government accusations exclude credible evidence proving them. Plenty attests to the barbarity of extremist groups like IS, Jabhat al-Nusra and others.

Pinheiro largely points fingers the wrong way. He's done so as COI head since its August 2011 establishment.

His mandate is pro-Western propaganda. It's helping Washington oust Assad. Credibility isn't his long suit.

Reports targeting Assad up the stakes for direct US intervention. US surveillance flights began.

IS is the pretext. Syria is the target. Air strikes could begin any time.

IS fighters are proxies in Washington's war against Assad.

Stop NATO editor Rick Rozoff believes intelligence Washington wants aims to help them.

In 2012, CIA operatives trained them in Jordan. They're US allies against Assad and enemies in Iraq at the same time.

Obama speeches defend the indefensible. They repeat one Big Lie after another. 

He told Legionnaires they helped America "become what we are today - the greatest democratic, economic, and military force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known."

No nation has a more appalling human rights record. None is more responsible for genocidal mass murder, destruction and human misery worldwide.

None inflicted more harm on more people longer. None has less right to be called democratic.

Despite protracted Main Street Depression conditions since 2008, Obama lied claiming "we are stronger at home."

Economic conditions for most Americans are deplorable. Most jobs are part-time or temp ones with few or no benefits.

Most don't pay a living wage. So-called "quality, affordable healthcare" falls way short of touted benefits.

America's privileged alone are well-off. Most others struggle to get by.

Obama's claim about America best positioned "to lead in the 21st century than any other nation on Earth" is utter rubbish.

Indeed America's military is strongest. Unexplained is how it ravages one country after another.

Obama is waging America's third Iraq war. Syria is on deck. So-called surveillance flights are a ruse to target Assad.

To oust him. To replace him with a subservient pro-Western stooge. To remove a key Israeli adversary.

To isolate Iran. To head Washington closer to unchallenged regional dominance. To exploit its resources.

To enlist popular support for another US war of aggression indefensibly called just.

Obama is much more than a war criminal multiple times over. At stake is world peace. It's humanity's survival.

"(N)obody else can do what we do," said Obama. Nobody else does what we do the way we do it worldwide.

"No other nation does more to underwrite the security and prosperity on which the world depends," claims Obama.

No nation does more to undermine it than America. None disdains peace more. 

None is more dismissive of rule of law principles. None more contemptuous of democratic values.

Calling "the United States…the one indispensable nation in the world" belies its decades of genocidal crimes against humanity worldwide.

After vowing "American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq," Obama deployed 1,000 special forces killers to do so. 

Perhaps many more will follow. He ludicrously claimed "Al Qaeda affiliates (threaten) our homeland."

He lied saying "the security of the American people is my highest priority…" He claimed attacking Iraq is "to protect our diplomats and military advisors."

To help "thousands of men and women and children who were trapped on a mountain." To root "out a cancer like" IS.

To "protect our people and support our partners to take the fight to" IS.

False on all counts!. It's about protecting the interests of Big OIl. It's wanting unchallenged regional dominance.

It's about making the world safe for war profiteers. It's stoking fear deceptively to enlist public support.

It's plundering nations for profit. It's exploiting their people. It's prioritizing capital's divine right. It's imperialism's dark side and then some.

It's not about humanitarian intervention. It has nothing to do with defending the homeland. 

It's not to counter external or internal threats. It's not about spreading democratic values.

Obama left unexplained US surveillance flights over Syria in preparation for targeted air strikes.

He was silent about using IS fighters against Assad. He said nothing about likely direct intervention against another regional country posing no threat to America.

At the same time, he ignored how all US wars violate core international and constitutional laws. 

Attacking Syria will add another war crime to his rap sheet. 
Throughout his tenure, he ravaged one country after another. 

He targeted one independent government after another. He did so for regime change. Don't expect him to change now.

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.

The Russians Are Coming Big Lies

The Russians Are Coming Big Lies

by Stephen Lendman

Anti-Russian lies keep repeating. So many proliferate, it hard keeping up. The latest is over-the-top and then some.

It accuses Russia of launching a major offensive against Ukrainian forces.

Accusations without evidence are made. Kiev sources are cited. They've been caught red-handed lying many times.

Nothing they say is credible. It doesn't matter. Major media scoundrels repeat their rubbish like gospel. More on this below.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki claimed unsubstantiated reports "indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway in Donetsk and Luhansk."

"(W)e're also concerned by the Russian Government's unwillingness to tell the truth even as its soldiers are found 30 miles inside Ukraine," she said.

"Russia is sending its young men into Ukraine but are telling - are not telling them where they’re going or telling their parents what they’re doing."

Asked why she said "likely" instead of saying a Russian invasion is underway, Psaki said she "decided to say likely."

"But why," she was asked? "(L)ikely implies…some uncertainty because there is a possibility that it's not."

Psaki ducked the question. She merely cited "a range of (unsubstantiated) reports." 

"Well, is it an invasion," she was asked? "(A)re we seeing, like, brigades or divisions crossing the borders into Ukraine?"

"I don't have any other details to read out for you at this point in time," she said.

Fact: Washington's dirty hands are involved in Ukraine's war without mercy.

Fact: Obama officials support and encourage it.

Fact: Intelligence and material support are provided.

Fact: Parts of the Ukrainian/Russia border aren't clearly demarcated. 

Fact: Nationals and military personnel on both sides often cross over unwittingly.

Fact: Ukrainian soldiers did recently.

Fact: They've done it before.

Fact: Russian authorities send them home without incident.

Fact: If Moscow's intent was hostile, large numbers of heavily armed forces would have invaded.

Fact: Nothing of the kind happened.

Fact: No evidence suggests it.

Fact: No verifiable satellite images exist.

It doesn't matter. Big Lies proliferate.

On Wednesday, The New York Times first headlined "Ukraine Says Russian Forces Lead Major New Offensive in East," saying:

"Tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in this small border town but also a wide section of territory, in what Ukrainian and Western military officials described on Wednesday as a stealth invasion."

The report was then replaced by one headlined "Ukraine Reports Russian Invasion on a New Front."

Five armored personnel carriers replaced tanks, artillery and infantry. According to The Times, it’s Moscow’s attempt to blunt "the momentum of Ukrainian forces..."

Both reports lacked verifiable evidence. Ukraine, Washington, other Western countries and NATO have every incentive to lie. Times and other MSM reporters repeat them like gospel.

Numerous earlier anti-Russian accusations were false. Moscow is discretely neutral.

It urges both sides settle things diplomatically. Military solutions won't work, it stresses.

It wants friendly relations with Ukraine. Putin and Ukrainian president Poroshenko just held official bilateral talks for the first time.

Putin said "Russia will do everything to promote this peace process if it is launched, and in our view, this process needs to be launched as soon as possible."

Why would Russia invade Ukraine hours after Putin stressed the urgency of pursuing peace? For what benefit?

What sense would it make? What credibility would Putin, Sergey Lavrov and other top Russian officials have left?

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeatedly denies claims about Russian military activity on Ukraine's borders.

On Wednesday, he said they have "nothing to do with reality." Claims about an alleged Russian build-up aren't new, he added.

"Such speculations are uttered regularly." They're false. "Russia regularly refutes (them)."

Washington, rogue NATO allies and Ukraine gain greatly by proliferating Big Lies. Media scoundrels repeat them ad nauseam.

Truth is suppressed. It's systematically buried. John Pilger is right. He calls journalism the first casualty of war.

It's a weapon of war, he stresses. It's virulent censorship. It's deception. 

It's repeating one Big Lie after another. They substitute for honest reporting. 

When America goes to war, plans one, or supports an aggressor ally, it's entirely absent. Managed news misinformation rubbish substitutes.

According to The Times, Russia's alleged incursion involved "five armored personnel carriers" and unnamed weapons.

It claimed "(e)vidence of a possible turn…in the panicky retreat of Ukrainian soldiers…"

Fact: Ukraine has thousands of heavily armed forces waging war.

Fact: Would they fear confronting five Russian armored personnel carriers if they did cross Ukraine's border?

Fact: Would they retreat in panic?

Fact: Answers are self-evident.

Don't expect Times or other MSM reports to explain. Instead, The Times quoted an unnamed "senior American official" claiming without proof:

"Russia is clearly trying to put its finger on the scale to tip things back in favor of its proxies."

"Artillery barrages and other Russian military actions have taken their toll on the Ukrainian military."

Previous articles explained Ukrainian soldiers are notoriously underpaid, poorly fed and clothed, as well as deplorably retreated.

Morale is low. Many are forced to serve involuntarily. Many others oppose fighting Ukrainian citizens.

Some defect. Most prefer being home. Some seek refuge in Russia. Many young men cross over to avoid military service altogether.

Even The Times described them as "(e)xhausted, filthy and dismayed." Many are "unwilling to fight," do so reluctantly or back off "in full retreat."

In contrast, self-defense forces show remarkable courage, resilience and strength. In recent days, they achieved impressive gains.

According to RIA Novosti, they took "control of checkpoints and strongholds in the outskirts of Mariupol…"

They hold "the bridge across the Gruzsky-Yelanchik River." They "moved tanks into Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov" on the Russian/Ukrainian border.

They captured dozens of Ukrainian border guards and soldiers. According to Itar Tass, "Ukrainian troops suffer(ed) heavy losses in southeast Ukraine."

Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) self-defense forces said their counteroffensive killed or wounded around 750.

Overnight Wednesday, over 150 voluntarily surrendered. Dozens more crossed into Russia for asylum.

According to DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko, around three to four thousand Russian volunteers are aiding self-defense forces.

"Many of them have left the republic, but the majority stayed here," he said.

"Today very many questions are asked how this could have happened that the DPR army grew from scattered guerrilla units in a strong military organization which can not only resist Ukrainian armed forces, but also defeat them on the battlefield."

“Kiev and the West stated repeatedly about Russian military invasion to justify somehow massive defeats which Ukrainian army has been suffering already for several months."

"We have never concealed that many Russians are fighting in our ranks without aid of which we would be in a very difficult situation and this would be much heavier for us to fight.”

Many retired Russian servicemen are involved, said Zakharchenko. 

“Current servicemen are also fighting in our ranks (voluntarily), as they came to us to struggle for our freedom…" Moscow didn't send them.

Public anger is growing in Ukraine. According to Itar Tass:

"Hundreds of protesters blocked one of Kiev's thoroughfares on Thursday demanding the resignation of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and urgent deployment of military hardware in the combat area in eastern Ukraine."

"The protesters who gathered near the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's headquarters are also seeking the resignation of Minister Valery Geletei and commanders of the military operation in the southeast."

Others "rall(ied) with similar demands near the presidential administration…"

Meanwhile, US-led NATO intends a "readiness action plan." It plans one to counter a nonexistent Russian threat.

For the first time, it will establish military "reception facilities" in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

According to Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen:

"We have something already called the NATO response force, whose purpose is to be able to be deployed rapidly if needed."

"Now it's our intention to develop what I would call a spearhead within that response force at very, very, high readiness." 

"In order to be able to provide such rapid reinforcements you also need some reception facilities in host nations." 

"So it will involve the pre-positioning of supplies, of equipment, preparation of infrastructure, bases, headquarters."

In other words, US-led NATO intends a hostile Eastern European presence encroaching on Russia's border. Asked if it'll be permanent, Rasmussen said "yes."

"(F)or as long as necessary," he stressed. He lied claiming:

"We have seen artillery firing across the border and also inside Ukraine. We have seen a Russian military buildup along the border." 

"Quite clearly, Russia is involved in destabilizing eastern Ukraine."

"You see a sophisticated combination of traditional conventional warfare mixed up with information and primarily disinformation operations." 

In response, Russia's permanent mission to NATO said Moscow "will react to NATO moves eastward with a view to ensure its security."

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin called NATO's threat serious. They come from "the secretary-general level," he said.

"They have probably already come up with some plan while moving NATO eastward" to confront Russia.

Doing so advances US-led recklessness to a new level. It increases chances for direct confrontation.

So do anti-Russian Big Lies. According to Rasmussen:

"Since the end of the Cold War we have lived in relatively good weather. Now we are faced with a profound climate change."

Washington bears full responsibility. Weeks earlier, Putin said "(n)o matter what our Western counterparts tell us, we can see what's going on."

"…NATO is blatantly building up its forces in Eastern Europe, including the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea areas." 

"Its operational and combat training activities are gaining in scale."

Plans are to incorporate Ukraine into NATO unofficially. Western funding will finance its military. 

At issue is targeting Russia. The threat of direct confrontation grows.

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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Washington Sabotages Russian/Ukrainian Summit

Washington Sabotages Russian/Ukrainian Summit

by Stephen Lendman

Washington wants control over all former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact countries. 

It wants pro-Western governance replacing sovereign Russian independence. 

It's part of its longstanding world dominance agenda. It wants all challengers eliminated. 

On Monday, Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko met in Minsk. It was their first official bilateral meeting.

They discussed relevant geopolitical issues. Key is resolving Southeastern Ukraine's ongoing conflict. 

Putin urges doing it peacefully. Poroshenko's continues war without mercy. He deplores democracy.

He wants freedom fighting self-defense forces crushed. He wants unchallenged hardline rule.

He lied saying his visit was "to stop the bloodshed and to start the process of finding a political compromise. The interests of the people of Donbass should and will be taken into account."

His actions speak louder than words. Peace is an executive decision away. 

He can make it by calling off his dogs. He can choose diplomacy over confrontation. 

He can order a ceasefire. He can do so straightaway. He can meet face-to-face with Southeastern Ukrainian leaders. He can respect their democratic credentials. He can listen to their demands.

Washington supports and encourages his dirty war. Its February coup helped elevate him to power.

He's a billionaire war criminal. He's anti-democratic, fascist, neoliberal, belligerent and lawless.

He's opposite what Ukrainians deserve. He OK'd war without mercy. He did so straightaway in office.

He's beholden to Western interests. Behind the scenes, Washington pulls the strings. He supports its anti-Russian policy.

Monday talks went nowhere. It didn't surprise. Ukraine's coup-appointed prime minister Aseniy Yatsenyuk called bilateral ones with Putin fruitless.

He called NATO "our partner. We expect the Western countries and NATO to provide practical assistance," he said.

"We also expect decisions to be made at the (September 4-5) NATO summit" in Wales.

Putin's worldview is polar opposite Poroshenkno's. His Minsk's speech stressed Russian respect for inviolable national sovereignty.

"Russia has always respected the sovereign choice of any nation to organize its political life and make all sorts of unions, both military and economic, and we will continue to do so," he said. 

"However, we hope that this will not be detrimental to other participants in international communication, and not at our cost."

He believes crisis conditions "can’t be resolved by further escalation of the military scenario, without considering the best interests of the southeastern regions of the country, without a peace dialogue with their representatives."

"(W)e are ready to have an exchange on (Ukraine's) critical situation…which, I am certain, cannot be resolved…without a peaceful dialogue with these regions' representatives."

Talks produced no significant breakthroughs. They weren't expected. Not when Washington sabotaged them without even attending.

Not when it prioritizes Russia bashing. Not when it considers Putin public enemy No. 1.

Not when it chooses confrontation over peaceful conflict resolution. Not when it wants Russia marginalized, weakened, isolated, contained and co-opted.

Not when it wants pro-Western governance replacing its sovereign independence. Not when it risks war to achieve it.

Putin pledged all-out efforts for peace. It "must be launched as soon as possible," he stressed.

He acts in good faith. He wants to build trust. At the same time, it's not Moscow's prerogative to propose ceasefire terms between Kiev and Southeastern self-defense forces.

"We didn't substantively discuss that, and we, Russia, can't substantively discuss the conditions for a ceasefire, or agreements between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk, " he stressed. 

"That’s not our business. It's up to Ukraine itself. Certain agreements were reached, he added.

He discussed the urgency of providing Lugansk and Donetsk with humanitarian aid.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expects Russia to send another convoy this week. He suggested more may follow. 

Dire conditions demand it. Many lives are at stake. It remains to be seen if Kiev will obstruct and delay like last time.

Given how often it falsely accuses Russia of directly aiding Southeastern Ukraine freedom fighters, it's hard imagining things will go smoothly.

On Monday, Ukrainian NSDC Information-Analytical Center spokesman Andriy Lysenko said:

"Yesterday, violation of the airspace of Ukraine was recorded by the army aviation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the area of the settlement of Chervony Chaban, Kherson region, where three helicopters of the Russian Federation flew up to 500 meters from the territory of Crimea to the mainland of Ukraine."

He accused Moscow of spying. At the same time, Yatsenyuk ludicrously said Russia wants Ukraine "fully cut" off from energy supplies.

"We know about (Russia's) plans…to cut transit in winter - even for the EU member countries," he said.

He accused Moscow of "global military and global energy security" benefitting Russia at the expense of Ukraine.

He lied claiming "Ukrainian border guards were shelled with unguided rockets from two Mi-24 combat helicopters of the Russian Armed Forces."

Four border guards were killed and three wounded, he added. Maybe Ukrainian forces killed their own. Maybe self-defense forces deserve credit.

On Wednesday, Lysenko said Russian soldiers illegally crossed Ukraine's border in armored vehicles and a truck not far from where 10 others were detained on Monday.

Videos were released. They showed men in so-called "camouflage" clothing. Ukraine's Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey's Facebook's post lied, saying:

"Officially, they are on military exercises in various corners of Russia. In reality they are involved in military aggression against Ukraine."

Areas of the Russian/Ukrainian border aren't clearly demarcated. Nationals on both sides often cross over unwittingly.

Ukrainian soldiers did so recently. They've done it before. Russian authorities send them home without incident.

According to a Russian defense source: 

"The servicemen in question were indeed patrolling the Russian-Ukrainian border." 

"They had probably crossed it by mistake through an area which wasn’t manned."

"As far as we know, there was no resistance during their arrest."

Putin hadn't yet received an official Defense Ministry report. "From what I heard," he said, "they patrolled the border so could have ended up on Ukrainian territory" by mistake.

"But they crossed to us, too, Ukrainian soldiers in armored vehicles. And no problems arose." Putin hopes Kiev will reciprocate in kind.

If Moscow's intent was hostile, large numbers of heavily armed forces would have invaded. Nothing of the kind happened.

Western media Big Lies followed. The New York Times said "camouflage(d) (men) identified themselves as members of a Russian airborne division who had been sent into Ukraine in unmarked vehicles."

"Analysis by Western officials indicates that Russia is orchestrating a multipronged offensive against Ukrainian forces."

Moscow is "trying to help separatists in eastern Ukraine break the siege of Luhansk…and open a corridor to…Donetsk."

Fact: Throughout months of conflict, Russia has been discretely neutral.

Fact: No evidence whatever suggests it's helping Southeastern Ukrainian self-defense forces.

Fact: None shows it's supplying them weapons and munitions.

Fact: None indicates Russian forces are involved.

Fact: Moscow has gone all-out for peaceful conflict resolution.

Fact: Kiev wages dirty war.

Fact: Washington supports and encourages it.

Fact: Moscow's involvement sticks to diplomacy and delivering urgently needed humanitarian aid.

Fact: Claims otherwise are false. They stoke conflict in lieu of attempts to resolve it responsibly.

A same day NYT editorial featured Big Lies. It unjustifiably accused Russia of "pretending that it is not in the fray."

Moscow "blithely denies it is involved in the fighting at all, despite incontrovertible evidence that it is, and seems prepared to stoke the fires until Kiev accepts a political arrangement that would give the eastern regions a veto over any moves toward the West."

"Mr. Poroshenko is right to avoid an unconditional cease-fire at this time."

His "challenge…and the West('s) is how to persuade Mr. Putin that Russia cannot impose it will on Ukraine through economic and military pressures…"

Fact: Times editors repeatedly turn truth on its head.

Fact: Spurious accusations falsely accuse Moscow of involvement in Southeastern Ukraine fighting.

Fact: Verifiable proof is absent.

Fact: None exists.

Fact: Times editors know it.

Fact: They "blithely" claim otherwise.

Fact: In Minsk, Putin was clear and unequivocal.

Fact: Russia respects Ukrainian sovereignty. 

Fact: Putin won't interfere in its internal affairs.

Fact: "It's not Moscow's prerogative to propose ceasefire terms between Kiev and Southeastern self-defense forces," he said.

Fact: He hasn't and won't.

Don't expect Times editors to explain. Big Lies substitute for accurate reporting and analysis.

Times editors are on the wrong side of history. Western leaders must support Ukraine, they insist.

They should pile on more "sanctions against Russian businesses and financial institutions…"

Endorsing Poroshenko's opposition to ceasefire shows Times support for premeditated Ukrainian aggression.

It doesn't surprise. When America wages war or plans one, Times editors march in lockstep.

They back Israel's genocidal Gaza wars. They support mass murder and destruction. 

They ignore rule of law principles. They endorse wrong over right. 

They ignore Kiev's putschist governance. They treat ruling fascists like democrats.

They claim Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters are pro-Russian separatist terrorists.

They repeat one Big Lie after another. They keep their readers misinformed. 

They betray them in the process. All major Western media print and electronic media operate the same way.

Managed news misinformation substitutes for what readers and viewers need to know. Fiction substitutes for facts. 

News is carefully filtered. Dissent is marginalized. Monied interests matter more than popular ones.

Imperial wars are called liberating ones. Human suffering is a small price to pay. 

Human rights and civil liberties are suppressed for our own good.
Patriotism means supporting lawless governance. Democracy is pure fantasy.

Ukraine's war without mercy continues. So does Russia bashing. "(L)ong before (Ukrainian crisis conditions erupted), the West's attacks on Russia assumed an irrational form," said Lavrov.

"We are not interested in confrontation. We are not interested in" sanctions wars.

Western leaders lie. They "incite public opinion, and then claim it is the people who are forcing them to take anti-Russian measures."

Relentless pressure on Russia stems from its forthrightness to express opinions candidly, Lavrov believes. It's speaking frankly about its interests.

Moscow values its independence. It listens "open(ly) to others." It deserves likeminded treatment.

Washington and other Western countries are "going against the course of history." Some try "to restrain the emergence of an egalitarian international arena."

Russia will respond in kind to more unjustifiable sanctions. US-led Western countries create more problems than they solve.

"Cold War blocs" aren't relevant in today's multipolar world.

Moscow supports the right of Southeastern Ukrainians to live like their ancestors, "speaking Russian, teaching their children in Russian schools, and electing their own governors, as well as having the chance to retain some of the taxes they pay as a result of their economic activities," said Lavrov.

They're entitled to democratic rights. They deserve better than Kiev-imposed diktats. Especially ones imposed "under the cover of bomb blasts."

Washington's agenda is polar opposite. Its orchestrated coup installed fascist rule. 

It wants internal challengers crushed. It wants democracy in name only. It wants what freedom-loving people deplore.

We're all Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters. They're on the right side of history. Their struggle is ours.

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.

Gaza Ceasefire: Hold the Cheers

Gaza Ceasefire: Hold the Cheers

by Stephen Lendman

On Monday, both sides agreed to open-ended ceasefire terms. Peace talks will resume in Cairo within a month.

Terms agreed on include opening border crossings, "enabl(ing) the rapid entry of humanitarian aid," as well as construction supplies for rebuilding.

Monitoring will ensure reconstruction is solely for civilian purposes.

Effective immediately, coastal fishing waters will expand from three to six nautical miles. They'll gradually increase to 12 miles by yearend.

Israel agreed to halt targeted assassinations. Days earlier, Netanyahu called Hamas leaders legitimate targets. 

Israeli hardliners want Hamas and other resistance groups entirely crushed. They reject peace out of hand.

Terms largely replicate how both sides ended Israel's November 2012 Pillar of Cloud aggression.

Hamas stuck to the letter of the deal. Israel violated it straightaway. It blamed Hamas for its crimes. Expect nothing different this time.

Israel's agenda excludes good faith. Decades of conflict, repression and occupation harshness attest to its dark side. 

Expect no change enough to matter this time. Promises made are broken. It's longstanding Israeli policy. Major issues remain unresolved. 

They include Hamas wanting Gaza's siege entirely lifted, permitting an airport and seaport to facilitate imports and exports, and releasing Palestinian political prisoners.

Israel wants Gaza demilitarized. It wants resistance groups defenseless against certain future IDF onslaughts.

It wants overall siege harshness maintained. It largely prohibits Gazan product sales to its two primary markets - the West Bank and Israel. They amount to 2% of pre-2007 levels.

It permits minimal exports overall. It restricts imports. Israeli policy perpetuates dependency on outside aid.

It prevents economic development. It leaves almost half the working-age population unemployed. Youth unemployment tops 60%.

Free movement of people is more myth than reality. Restrictions are unrelated to security.

Exit permits are hard to get. Adults with them can bring children under age six. Older ones are excluded.

Israel's blockade has nothing to do with security. In June 2010, McClatchy newspapers headlined "Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn't about security," saying:

"McClatchy obtained an Israeli government document that describes the blockade not as a security measure but as 'economic warfare' against the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory."

In response to a Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement lawsuit, documents obtained said Israel called blockading Gaza "economic warfare." According to a government statement:

"A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using 'economic warfare.' "

Nations may indeed decide whether or not to have relations with other states. It may not interfere in their internal affairs. Doing so violates core international law.

Blockading Gaza is illegal. Doing so is an act of war. It's a crime against humanity. Israel remains unaccountable.

Monday's ceasefire is a temporary respite. Hold the cheers. Expect no substantive change in Israeli policy.

It prioritizes violence and instability. It excludes peace and good will.

It's just a matter of time before more conflict. Pretexts are easy to invent. Blaming victims is longstanding Israeli policy.

Washington supports its worst crimes. It doesn't give a damn about Palestinian rights. It never did. It doesn't now.

On August 26, John Kerry lied saying Washington is "fully committed…to work with our international partners on a major reconstruction initiative…to ensure (it's) for the benefit of the civilian population in Gaza…"

He turned truth on its head calling Hamas and other legitimate resistance groups "terrorist organizations."

Throughout 50 days of conflict, Washington supported Israel's killing machine. According to Gaza's Health and Interior ministries, one of its many high crimes included murdering 89 entire families.

Israel bears full responsibility for well-planned naked aggression.
Launching it had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. It had everything to do with maintaining business as usual.

On the day both sides halted hostilities, Israeli forces terrorized West Bank and East Jerusalem residents.

Twelve Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) activists were arrested. Their whereabouts remains unknown.

Days earlier, Israeli soldiers targeted Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Khalida Jarrar in Ramallah.

They ordered her deported to Jericho for six months. They gave her 24 hours to leave. 

Nonexistent secret information claims she "poses a threat to the security of the region, so she must be put under special monitoring."

Jarrar is a senior Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member. She's an Addameer Prisoner Support group board member. 

She's banned from traveling abroad. Freedom fighting comes with a price.

During Monday ceasefire discussions, Israel kidnapped two Palestinians in Hebron, three in Bethlehem, six in Nablus, nine in Jenin, and one in Jerusalem.

Homes were invaded, searched and ransacked. Property was damaged or stolen.

Amjad Abu 'Asab heads the Jerusalemite Family Committee of Palestinian political prisoners. He said Israeli soldiers went on a rampage.

Former political prisoner En'am Qalanbo was arrested for participating in a solidarity with Gaza march.

'Asab expects many arrests following Monday's ceasefire deal. He believes Israel wants Jerusalem and other West Bank Palestinians punished for supporting Gazans and resisting occupation harshness.

According to the Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center,  Israeli police attacked Palestinians marching for liberation with tear gas, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets.

On Tuesday, other marches and demonstrations occurred in Shu'fat refugee camp, al-Eesawiyyam, Wad al-Jous, al-Jabal, Silwan, al-Mokabber Area, Hizman and East Jerusalem.

Israeli soldiers and police responded violently. Scores were injured. Arrests were made. Israel prohibits public demonstrations. It calls legitimate resistance terrorism.

On August 27, Maan News said "Palestinian communities in Jerusalem are experiencing the largest upsurge in detentions since the Second Intifada, with a marked increase in Israeli police brutality and the collective punishment of entire neighborhoods, local organizations say."

Since Israel murdered teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir, over 770 East Jerusalemites were arrested.

After three Israeli youths were abducted on June 12, up to 1,000 West Bank Palestinians were detained.

Collective punishment is official Israeli policy. Hamas leaders were unjustifiably blamed for the June kidnapping/murder of three Israeli youths.

Operation Protective Edge followed preemptively.  It bears repeating. It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. Firing them responded to Israeli aggression.

Jeff Halper heads the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). He calls motivation for Operation Protective Edge twofold. 

It was an effort to "get Israel off the hook for massive" human rights and international law violations.

It sought to "help other governments overcome similar ('asymmetrical warfare,' counterinsurgency' and 'counter-terrorism') constraints…against peoples resisting domination."

Israel calls it "lawfare." It followed "notable legal setbacks and challenges Israel incurred" since 2001.

For his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacres, Ariel Sharon was indicted. It didn't matter. He wasn't tried.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Israel's Separation Wall illegal. Enforcement didn't follow. Construction continues.

Israel considers civilians legitimate targets. Its policy violates core international humanitarian law.

Israel circumvents it by "creat(ing) new categories of combatants." They call them "non-legitimate actors."

They include anyone Israel calls "terrorists," "insurgents," or "non-state actors." An entire population is held hostage.

Israel claims it warrants no protection and other fundamental rights for resisting repression.

Obama and other Western leaders support Israel's right to self-defense. Victimized Palestinians are denied the same right.

Israel's lawfare strategy considers them villains. It's a "new doctrine of military ethics." It's based on a "Just War Doctrine of Fighting Terrorism."

It bears repeating. Terrorists include adversaries and others legitimately resisting Israeli repression.

Its lawfare strategy uses "new military ethics" to justify lawlessness. 

It's based on the notion that wrongdoing repeated often enough unaccountably will get nations worldwide to accept it or do nothing to stop it.

It lets Israel get away with high crimes against peace. It assures business as usual. 

It's just a matter of time before Israeli rampaging repeats. Expect Palestinians to be blamed for its crimes like always. 

Expect Western leaders to support them. Expect no change in long denied justice. Palestinians remain isolated on their own.

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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Obama Declares War on Syria

Obama Declares War on Syria

by Stephen Lendman

The Islamic State is the pretext. Syria is the target. At issue is regime change. 

It's replacing its sovereign independence with pro-Western stooge governance. It's wanting unchallenged regional control.

It's wanting Big Oil exploiting its resources. It's wanting Iran isolated. It's aiding Israel's Greater Middle East agenda.

It's making the world safe for war profiteers. It's about colonizing nations.

It's advancing America's imperium. It's about carving up whole continents belligerently. It's doing so for dominance and profits.

It's about justifying might over right. It's about destroying nations to save them.

It's about calling imperial exploitation economic development. It's about glorifying war in the name of peace.

It has nothing to do with democratic values. It's not about humanitarian intervention or responsibility to protect.

It's expanding Obama's Iraq aggression cross-border. It's violating core international law.

No nation may attack another except in self-defense. None may do so without Security Council authorization.

None exists. Obama added more crimes to his rap sheet. He's a war criminal multiple times over.

Washington uses the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other extremist groups as both allies and enemies. It does so in different war theaters. At times simultaneously.

Morning headlines reflect what's likely. Obama authorized surveillance flights over Syria. He did it lawlessly.

Violating another country's air space without permission is illegal. Doing it as likely precursor for airstrikes reveals Obama's real intention.

According to The New York Times:

"(D)rones and possibly U2 spy plane (surveillance) flights are a significant step toward direct American military action in Syria…"

"Administration officials said the United States did not intend to notify the Assad government of the planned flights."

"(T)he Pentagon is drafting military options…" On Monday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki justified unilateral US action, saying:

"(W)hen American lives are at stake, when we're talking about defending our own interests, we're not looking for the approval of the Syrian regime."

"(W)e're not going to be restricted by borders…And certainly we would not view (confronting the Islamic State in Syria) as being on (its) side just because there is a common enemy."

The so-called "common enemy" has been Washington's ally throughout many months of conflict. Regime change remains official policy.

Washington won't work jointly with Syria against the Islamic State. According to deputy national security advisor Benjamin Rhodes:

"It is not the case that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Joining forces with Assad would essentially permanently alienate the Sunni population in both Syria and Iraq…"

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said "entire wings" of the Pentagon are "dedicated to making sure the president has a range of plans and options that they can present to him when - if and when necessary.

"(A) lot of cross pressures (are in play) here. There's no doubt about that."

"But our policy as it relates to pursuing American interests in this region of the world are actually really clear, that we want to make sure that we are safeguarding American personnel."

False! Official US policy prioritizes regional dominance. It's resource control. It's eliminating independent governments. 

It's replacing them with pro-Western ones. It's waging wars of aggression to do it.

It's ravaging and destroying one nation after another. It's America's dark side writ large. 

It has nothing to do with "safeguarding American personnel" or protecting national security.

It has everything to do with advancing Washington's imperium.

Earnest falsely claimed Obama has constitutional authority to violate another nation's air space or territory to protect US citizens or interests.

No such authority exists. Or international law authorization.

On Tuesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said his government "is prepared to cooperate and coordinate on the regional and international levels to combat terrorism as per Security Council resolution no. 2170 within the framework of respecting Syria's sovereignty and independence."

On August 15, 2014, SC Resolution 2170 was unanimously adopted. It "condemn(s) gross, widespread abuse of human rights by extremist groups in Iraq (and) Syria."

It "called on Member States to take national measures to prevent fighters from traveling from their soil to join (terrorist) groups…"

"It expressed readiness to consider putting on the sanctions list those who facilitated the recruitment and travel of foreign fighters."

It left unexplained Washington's direct responsibility. That rogue NATO partners, Israel, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states and Jordan share it.

Al-Moallem correctly called "any violation of Syrian sovereignty (by) any party (an act) of aggression."

At the same time, he welcomed all countries willing to fight terrorism in Syria cooperatively with the Assad government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow supports Syrian and Iraqi efforts against Islamic State terrorists.

Washington claims a unilateral right to operate extrajudicially. To target any country for any reason. To violate international law unaccountably.

Lavrov said "each military effort cannot be granted without the consent of the country concerned."

"We will be fully prepared to work together and coordinate efforts with the countries which came under direct terrorist threats, and here I particularly mean Iraq and Syria, which we will be helping to consolidate their capabilities against armed terrorism."

"We will stand firmly for all anti-terrorism operations to be conducted in agreement with the country concerned and in full respect to its sovereignty."

The White House declined comment on its strategy. According to National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden:

"We're not going to comment on intelligence or operational issues. As we've been saying, we'll use all the tools at our disposal when it comes to the protection of our people."

Other US officials said US policy doesn't make Syria an ally.

On August 25, Washington Post editors headlined "The Obama administration must put boots on the ground to stop the Islamic State," saying:

Kerry calls it an "evil" that must "be destroyed. Chuck Hagel says it's "as sophisticated and well-funded as any groups that we have seen."

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey says it "will have to be defeated" by attacking it cross border in Syria.

Unexplained is US support for Islamic State fighters and likeminded extremist groups. It's been US policy throughout three and a half years of Obama's proxy war on Syria.

It includes importing death squad killers from dozens of countries. It's about funding, arming, training and directing them.

It's using them to pursue regime change. It's doing so without Security Council or congressional authorization.

It's without popular support. It's at a time when the vast majority of Americans want peace, not war. 

They want popular needs addressed. They want long neglected social justice. 

They want what they've long been denied. They want what they won't get. 

Obama is the latest in a long line of warrior presidents. Permanent war is official US policy. So is waging it preemptively.

Rule of law principles don't matter. Or democratic values. Advancing America's imperium is longstanding official policy. 

Millions of lost lives are a small price to pay. So is unspeakable human misery. America's so-called war on terror is a war of terror.

It rages extrajudicially. It does so against largely defenseless populations. Direct US intervention against Syria appears likely. War on humanity may 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.