Monday, July 06, 2015

"No" Supporters Win in Greece: Now What?

"No" Supporters Win in Greece: Now What?

by Stephen Lendman

Sunday evening in Greece should have been time for celebrations. "No" votes won decisively with over a 61% majority.

Phony corporate media polls showed the "yes" camp prevailing - to discourage "no" supporters from voting as well as swing undecided ones to accept Troika demands.

At the same time, heavy-handed Troika and corporate media tactics bombarded Greeks with relentless fear-mongering, Big Lies and threats for voting "no." 

It didn't work. In this respect, Sunday's vote was a huge triumph. Ordinary people had some say over their futures - a moment of democracy in an ocean of monied-controlled tyranny. Hold the cheers.

Greeks got the wrong choices -  either to accept most Troika austerity demands or all of them instead of up or down on accepting or rejecting them entirely.

Alexis Tsipras was elected on a mandate of ending austerity. He called it "unacceptable." Yet he largely surrendered to Troika demands and may entirely ahead (despite voters saying "no") in return for more impossible to repay odious debt - blood money slowly destroying Greece's economy along with euro entrapment overriding its sovereignty - hardly a cause for celebration.

What's ahead remains to be seen. For sure, punishing austerity will continue. Likely more will be added. Troika officials already are talking tough. Ignore what they say. Follow what they do.

The ECB governing council will meet Monday to decide if more support for Greek banks will be extended. France's Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said "(i)f the No wins, it would be a historic mistake to crush the Greek people."

Former ECB president Jean-Claude Tricket called "(t)he probability of a catastrophe for the Greek people…high."

Germany's Angela Merkel heads to Paris Monday to discuss Sunday's results with France's Francois Hollande. Troika officials scotched prospects for emergency talks on Greece. One official said they "would not know what to discuss."

At the same time, Reuters reported the European Commission and EU executive meeting in Strasbourg on Tuesday - then briefing European Parliament members on what they discussed.

German Social Democrat (SPD) party deputy parliament head Axel Schaefer said "EU leaders must get together immediately, even on Monday. The situation is too serious to leave to finance ministers."

"You have to have confidence in the ability of the ECB to act. We must use all the possibilities in the EU budget to help Greece, which is still a member of the euro and the EU."

European Parliament president Martin Schulz was defiant saying a "no" vote means Greece "will have to introduce another currency because the euro will no longer be available for a means of payment."

Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt indicated the door remains open for further talks.

Eurogroup president/Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Greece jeopardized its currency union standing. There is no room for further talks.

German Vice Chancellor/Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said little chance remains for reaching compromise with Athens.

At the moment, things are in unchartered waters. Greece can't borrow in capital markets. Remaining trapped in the euro straightjacket prevents it from controlling its monetary and fiscal policies.

The obvious solutions aren't taken, no matter the intermediate term pain unavoidable on a path back to economic health. Euro strangulation is slowly killing Greece. It's destroying other weak European economies.

Nations can't operate effectively without full sovereign control over their affairs - notably monetary and fiscal policies. Euro membership denies it - letting Troika bandits run Greece's economy instead of its elected government.

The clear solution for Greece is renouncing its odious debt, exiting the Eurozone, turning East for help, and accepting Russia's invitation to become the sixth BRICS member with access to its New Development Bank (NBD) for financial help on equitable, not loan shark terms. Direct Russian and Chinese help is available on the same basis.

Instead, Tsipras said he's ready to resume negotiations with predatory creditors bent on looting Greece entirely.

"Our immediate priority is to restore our banking system's functioning & economic stability," he twittered."

Chief Greek negotiator Euclid Tsakalotos said referendum results make it easier to reach an agreement with creditors. Not at all. Troika bandits don't negotiate. They demand. 

Yielding to one country means others to follow, weakening the euro system en route to ending it entirely at some point.

The Eurozone and EU are failed systems - exploitive so monied interests can benefit at the expense of ordinary people in return for benefits too inconsequential to matter.

Sunday's vote was important in one respect. It was a victory for resistance over powerful monied interests ruling the world destructively for their own anti-populist interests.

It's meaningless unless followed through with sustained refusal to accept continued predatory exploitation until it's eliminated altogether or weakened enough to end its one-sided dominant control.

Tsipras made it clear he intends reaching an agreement for more bailout help in return for greater austerity than already. Sunday's victory sadly looks pyrrhic. The wild card is how Greeks will react in response.

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 Military Court Justice: Rubber-Stamp Guilt

Israeli Military Court Justice: Rubber-Stamp Guilt

by Stephen Lendman

All police states operate the same way. America is no different - nor Israel.

Civil law applies for Israeli Jews - not Palestinians. They're subject to military kangaroo court justice. Rubber-stamp convictions follow. Fundamental international rule of law principles don't apply.

A new B'Tselem report explains how Israel's system works for Palestinians - titled "Presumed Guilty: Remand in Custody by Military Courts in the West Bank." They're one of the main ways Israel enforces occupation harshness. 

Since 1967, over 800,000 Palestinians were victimized by tribunal injustice. "Detention is injurious by definition," B'Tselem explained. 

"It cuts people off from their lives, families, and surroundings." They're totally at the mercy of prison officials and guards showing them little or none.

Palestinians suffer horrifically under gulag conditions. Thousands of Palestinians are brought before military tribunals annually on bogus charges or none at all - including demonstrating peacefully, belonging to the wrong political organization or alleged stone-throwing.

Automatic guilt is standard practice. Justice is systematically denied. Remand proceedings alone expose gross injustice.

B'Tselem calls it "detention for the duration of all legal proceedings in the case of a person whose questioning and investigation has been completed and who has been formally charged." 

"Individuals on remand are not serving a prison sentence. They have not been sentenced, (or) found guilty. They are being held in custody when they should be presumed innocent."

Former Israeli Chief Supreme Court Justice Meir Shamgar explained as follows, saying:

"The defendant's very detention raises a serious preliminary question. This is, after all, a person who has not yet been convicted." 

"He is presumed innocent, and our experience shows that the presumption of innocence is not just a matter of theory, but that it is often substantiated when a defendant is acquitted."

Except for traffic violations not subject to imprisonment, remand most often is standard practice. Innocence is no defense. Military prosecutors routinely request detention and get it from military judges. The entire system reflects militarized police state injustice.

In theory, judges require three conditions for remand:

  • prima facie evidence of guilt;

  • at least one legal basis as justification; and

  • no alternatives to detention in their judgment.

In practice, IDF judges operate any way they wish. "The threshold for (acceptable) prima facie evidence is so low that it poses no obstacle to the prosecution," said B'Tselem. 

Virtually anything is acceptable no matter how bogus - regardless of complaints about abusive interrogations amounting to torture. The civilized world rejects so-called confessions extracted this way. Israel relies on them to convict and imprison.

Presumptions replace so-called "grounds for detention." No evidence is required or claiming it's secret for security reasons is good enough. So is saying suspects pose a danger to society or represent a flight risk.

Even in occasional cases when judges permit release, bail is set much higher than most Palestinians can afford.

Because justice in Israeli military courts is virtually impossible, most defense lawyers seek plea bargains. If clients go to trial, they'll often spend more time in detention than sentences imposed.

Arrests nearly always automatically assure detention - charged or held uncharged and untried administratively, indefinitely if Israel wishes.

Unlike civil justice for Israelis, military courts enforce occupation harshness - the longest by far in modern times at nearly half a century with no sign of it ending.

"(M)ilitary judges and prosecutors are always Israeli," BTselem explained. "They are soldiers in uniform enforcing martial law on the civilian Palestinian population living under military rule." 

"The people who take part in administering the occupation are on one side, while the regime's subjects are on the other. Military courts are not an impartial, neutral arbitrator. They are firmly entrenched on one side of this unequal balance."

Due process, judicial fairness and other international norms and standards don't exist. Police states make their own rules. They bear no relation to fundamental rule of law principles.

Israeli military courts are a cesspool of injustice. Numerous examples explain. On Monday, a Jerusalem military judge sentenced 23-year-old Odai Mofeed Bayyoumi to 13 months imprisonment plus four more suspended for expressing his views on Facebook.

Israel charged him with "incitement" for comments judged anti-Israeli. In May, 28-year-old Sami jamal Faraj Ideis was convicted of anti-Jewish social media comments. He'll spend eight months in prison on the bogus charge of supporting "terror."

Numerous other Palestinians face similar charges. Police states operate this way. Justice is systematically denied.

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. 

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Iran Bashing in Late Stage Nuclear Talks

Iran Bashing in Late Stage Nuclear Talks

by Stephen Lendman

Netanyahu and the Israeli Lobby are in full battle mode as talks continue in Vienna aiming to resolve remaining sticking points this week - whether possible remains to be seen.

On July 4 at the US ambassador's residence in Tel Aviv, he ranted irresponsibly like he always does claiming "Zionism has always been about freedom" - ignoring how it harms Jews and non-Jews alike, a humanity destroying cancer.

"Israel stands out as a beacon of freedom and human right, with unfailing constancy, an island of democracy in a sea of despotism," he absurdly claimed.

Fact: Democracy in Israel is pure fantasy. It's the region's most flagrant human rights violator. Its fascist governance risks embroiling the entire Middle East in conflict.

Netanyahu saved his most vicious broadsides for Iran - willful lies claiming it "conducts a campaign of aggression in the region and terrorism worldwide."

"It seek to build nuclear weapons to advance its mission to export the Islamic revolution…around the globe."

"Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon, (its) worldwide campaign of terrorism and aggression must be stopped."

The more Netanyahu rants, the more he exposes himself as a serial liar. Everything he said about Iran is false. Truth is polar opposite.

On Sunday, his irresponsible Iran bashing continued. At the start of his weekly cabinet meeting, he said "(i)t seems that the nuclear talks in Iran have yielded a collapse, not a breakthrough. The major powers' concessions are growing."

They're "pav(ing) Iran's path to the production of very many atomic bombs and it will also channel to Iran hundreds of billions of dollars that will serve its aggression and terrorism campaigns in our region and around the world."

It's hard enumerating how many times he called what's being negotiated "a bad deal." He absurdly calls Tehran more dangerous than the Islamic State - "1,000 times worse," he hyperventilates.

Neocon lunatics in Washington are likeminded. House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans don't have enough votes to override Obama vetoing their rejection of a nuclear deal if reached. 

Their best strategy is preventing success in Vienna, he believes. The usual way is by repeating Big Lies often enough to get most people to believe them. Its commonplace Washington practice - especially on major issues.

In late June, AIPAC continued its anti-Iranian demonizing saying "(a) nuclear agreement with Iran that fails to close off all Iranian pathways to a bomb will have devastating consequences for the region and shatter the nuclear nonproliferation regime" - knowing no such path exists or is planned. 

"The United States should continue to employ diplomacy to reach an agreement that blocks Iran’s nuclear quest, but should not accept a deal that falls short of American objectives."

Tehran made far more concessions than it's gotten back in return - with sticking points remaining to be resolved to force more sacrificing of its legitimate rights.

A bad deal for AIPAC and Israel is one satisfying Iran. A deal falling short of hardline US objectives "(a)llows Iran to become a nuclear threshold state," said AIPAC - a bald-faced lie.

Other whoppers, gross distortions and willful misinformation it proliferates claims any agreement Israel objects to "raise(s) the prospect of war." It "spur(s) a regional arms race." 

It "provide(s) significant resources to fund terrorism." It "embolden(s) Iran's expansionist efforts." It "weaken(s) our allies and undercut(s) US credibility."

It's hard imagine anyone besides morons and liars believing this rubbish - vicious, irresponsible Iran bashing without a kernel of truth.

No wonder Iranian Ground Force Commander Brig. General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said don't expect rapprochement with America even if nuclear talks succeed.

"The US might arrive at some agreements with us within the framework of the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany), but we should never hold a positive view over the enemy," he said.

"Our enmity with them is over the principles and is rooted because we are after the truth and nations' freedom, but they seek exploiting nations and putting them in chains."

Decades of US hostility toward Iran assure any nuclear deal with Iran will be suspect if reached. Washington's sordid history shows its word isn't its bond - notoriously breaching international agreements and blaming other nations for its duplicity. 

Expect Iran treated the same way if any final deal is reached - negating years of good faith talks by its officials.

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 Threatens World Peace

Hillary Clinton Threatens World Peace

by Stephen Lendman

It's hard imagining a worse choice for the nation's highest office than presidential aspirant/unindicted war criminal Hillary Clinton - notoriously called a war goddess.

Sixteen months ahead of next year's election, she's in full campaign mode recklessly making baseless/inflammatory accusations likely influencing policies if elected.

She's part of America's lunatic fringe masquerading as a populist democrat. Earlier she threatened to "totally obliterate" Iran - meaning a peaceful nation's entire population.

She violated US statute law saying "(w)hoever, whether in time of peace or in time of war and with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in substantial part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group as such - 

(1) kills members of that group;

(2) causes serious bodily injury to members of that group;

(3) causes the permanent impairment of the mental faculties of members of the group through drugs, torture, or similar techniques;

(4) subjects the group to conditions of life that are intended to cause the physical destruction of the group in whole or in part;

(5) imposes measures intended to prevent births within the group; or

(6) transfers by force children of the group to another group;
shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

(b) Punishment for Basic Offense. The punishment for an offense under subsection (a) is -

(1) in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(1), where death results, by death or imprisonment for life and a fine of not more than $1,000,000, or both; and

(2) a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both, in any other case."

On July 4, Clinton was on the stump in Gorham, New Hampshire. Local response was mixed. Cheers and jeers greeted her. Reporters were roped off from approaching her after briefly being allowed to get close.

New York Times presidential correspondent Maggie Haberman tweeted: "Spectacle of Clinton as candidate - press being pulled along with a rope."

Restricting media access equates to muzzling it. Politico politics reporter Glenn Thrush tweeted: "Never underestimate @HillaryClinton's capacity to fritter away natural advantages with poor judgment."

Democrat party opponent Bernie Sanders blasted her saying:

"Today, Republican presidential candidates marched in parades across New Hampshire that were open to the public without obstruction from their staff. Their efforts to reach out to voters and engage in retail campaigning stand in sharp contrast to Secretary Clinton's arrogant and shameful behavior." 

Arrogance is one thing, threatening world peace quite another. Clinton irresponsibly bashed Russia and China - accusing them of menacing their neighbors and undermining US interests.

Beijing "steal(s) commercial secrets…from defense contractors (and) huge amounts of government information (by) hack(ing) into everything that doesn't move in America," she blustered.

Accusations without evidence are willful lies besides harming Sino/US relations. "(W)e have to be fully vigilant," said Clinton. 

"China's military is growing very quickly. They're establishing military installations that again threaten countries we have treaties with, like the Philippines, because they are building on contested property."

China has few bases outside its mainland territory. America has many hundreds worldwide (including secret ones) in scores of countries with status of forces agreements (SOFAs) legitimizing de facto occupations in many cases.

Beijing spends a small fraction annually on its military compared to America's bloated defense budget, global saber rattling and endless wars of aggression. Its "contested property" is in its own waters in the South China Sea.

Clinton turned truth on its head calling Iran "a state sponsor of terrorism." Its "aggressiveness will not end," she blustered.

"They will continue to destabilize governments in the region and beyond. They will continue to use their proxies like Hezbollah. And they will continue to be an existential threat to Israel."

Washington has to be "much smarter" in dealing with Vladimir Putin's "territorial ambitions," she claimed - despite clear evidence he has none.

If Ukraine was a NATO member when Crimeans exercised their international law guaranteed self-determination right by re-joining Russia to correct a historic mistake "that would have caused us to have to respond," Clinton said - a direct threat to world peace.

Beijing called US hacking accusations hypocritical. Clear evidence shows America operates the world's most aggressive spying apparatus against virtually every country - especially important ones like China, Russia and Iran, as well as key allies like Germany and France.

Earlier, China's official news agency Xinhua said "presidential candidates make strong, even acrimonious comments, about China to win votes, and yet, once they get into the White House and are confronted with the reality of the situation, they take US relations."

"This is a common tactic in US politics. It seems that Hillary Clinton is an exception. She is taking a hard line before the election, but she'll take an even tougher one afterward."

Her style is recklessly confrontational and divisive. She has a knack for making enemies. Putin commented on her Saturday bluster saying she "has never been known for the elegance of her remarks."

Last winter, she accused European leaders of being "too wimpy" in dealing with him. In June, she said "(m)eet new 'enemies of the American people - 'traditionally threatening' Russia and 'rising' China."

She includes Iran and North Korea on her enemies list. At least one recent poll showed nearly 60% of Americans consider her dishonest and untrustworthy. At the same time, she's the Democrat party frontrunner - Bernie Sanders alone challenging her. 

Another Bush or Clinton in the White House in January 2017 should scare all Americans. Either one might make things more intolerable than ever at home while launching nuclear war risking 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. 

UN Human Rights Council Denounces Israeli War Crimes

UN Human Rights Council Resolution Denounces Israeli War Crimes

by Stephen Lendman

The whole world knows Israel committed horrific war crimes last summer against 1.8 million largely defenseless Gazans - even greater ones than it was condemned for in 2008-09 and 2012.

UNHCR's Commission of Inquiry (COI) held top Israeli government and military officials accountable for mass murdering Gazan civilians threatening no one.

COI chairwoman Mary McGowan Davis said "the extent of the devastation and human suffering…was unprecedented and will impact generations to come." 

Nuremberg Principles apply but aren't enforced for rogue states like Israel and America - repeatedly committing mass murder and destruction with impunity because nothing is done to stop them.

Operation Protective Edge was premeditated naked aggression. It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets or bogus claims about it being a terrorist organization. 

It had everything to do with preventing Palestinian statehood and maintaining brutal, illegal military occupation, among other objectives.

Civilians were indiscriminately killed in high density populated areas. Dozens of entire families were mercilessly slaughtered.

On Friday, the HRC adopted a resolution approving its report condemning Israel for war crimes last summer. Washington alone voted against it - de facto endorsing Israeli mass murder, the same type US forces commit on a much greater scale globally.

Five nations disgracefully abstained - Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Macedonia and Paraguay. Major countries endorsing HCR's resolution included Brazil, Britain, China, France, Germany, Japan, and Russia. It passed 41 to 1.

Drafted by Arab countries, it states "the need to ensure that all those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law are held to account, through appropriate fair and independent domestic or international criminal justice mechanisms."

It called on "the parties concerned to cooperate fully with the preliminary examination of the International Criminal Court and with any subsequent investigation that may be opened."

Unindicted war criminal Netanyahu responded as expected saying "(t)he UN Human Rights Council is not interested in the facts and is really not interested in human rights."

"The UNHCR decides to condemn Israel for no fault of its own, for acting to defend itself from a murderous terrorist organization."

"The council that has adopted more decisions against Israel than against all other countries cannot call itself a human rights council."

Earlier Israel's Foreign Ministry lied saying its "military acted according to the highest international standards." Nothing in them justifies mass murder - an Israeli specialty.

Its UN ambassador in Geneva Eviator Manor said HRC's resolution "is an anti-Israeli manifesto. (It) distorts the intention of the authors of the report by completely ignoring alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups."

Fact: Hamas and Palestinian resistance groups violated no international laws with regard to war. 

HRC claiming otherwise in its report (not resolution) ignored the right of all attacked people to respond in self-defense. Israel preemptively waged naked aggression against Gaza last summer.

Washington's UN ambassador in Geneva Keith Harper said "(w)e are troubled that this resolution focuses exclusively on Israel."

US officials should be especially troubled about their nation's odious history of horrendous genocidal crimes of war and against humanity since the republic's inception.

Palestinian UN ambassador in Geneva Ibrahim Khraishi welcomed HRC's resolution saying it shows how "Israel stands above international law…"

Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said America "stands embarrassing alone (41 - 1) in opposing the UN rights council resolution urging justice for (Israeli committed) Gaza war crimes." One rogue state supports another.

On April 1, Palestine became an ICC member. In June, its Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki filed war crimes charges in the Hague over Israel's 2014 Gaza aggression and illegal settlements.

Chief ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will use them in determining if a full investigation is warranted - a decision ICC pretrial department judges make.

Established in July 2002 to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes of war and against humanity, court authorities never once charged Western or Israeli officials with high crimes too grave to ignore. Expect nothing different this time.

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. 

Greek Bailouts for Creditors, not Economic Recovery

Greek Bailouts for Creditors, not Economic Recovery

by Stephen Lendman

Troika bandits are running a giant Ponzi scheme - wealth transfer looting of Greece's economy and population to benefit banksters violating the EU constitution prohibiting bail-outs. They violate Maastricht and Lisbon Treaty provisions.

State financing through ECB purchases of government bonds is prohibited. Article 125.1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union forbids one member state from bailing out another, stating:

"The Union shall not be liable for or assume the commitments of central governments, regional, local or other public authorities, other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of any Member State, without prejudice to mutual financial guarantees for the joint execution of a specific project." 

"A Member State shall not be liable for or assume the commitments of central governments, regional, local or other public authorities, other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of another Member State, without prejudice to mutual financial guarantees for the joint execution of a specific project."

Greece is in a financial death spiral caused by economic mismanagement and multiple bailouts imposing a crushing burden too great to bear. The more assumed, the worse things get.

Banksters profit at the expense of economies they loot and populations they punish. Taxpayers are on the hook for most unserviceable debt. 

Greece is Exhibit A for what's planned across Europe, in America and elsewhere - mass thirdworldizing to create ruler-serf societies worldwide benefitting monied interests through grand theft and crushing debt peonage.

Bailouts are based on the fiction of financial aid to stabilize economies and help restore growth. Ponzi schemes require new money to pay investors. Without it, things collapse.

Public Ponzi schemes are more flexible than private ones. Financing can let debt grow exponentially with no theoretical finite limit - at least until taxpayers rebel and stop irresponsible practices or economies collapse under their own weight. What can't go on forever, won't.

Greece is a stark example of how Troika bandits operate. Around 90% of what's loaned goes to pay European financial institutions. The rest lets the country continue operating by paying bureaucrats and other public employees, etc. 

Nothing goes to stimulate recovery and economic growth. The more money borrowed, the greater the death spiral at the expense of crushing burdens on ordinary people and looted Greek wealth, assets and enterprises.

Greek debt is odious - illegitimately incurred to benefit powerful monied interests at the expense of its economy and people. The obvious solution is default - walking away, refusing to pay, wiping the slate clean and starting over to restore economic health, freed from Troika-imposed debt peonage.

Doing the right thing works. In December 2001, Argentina halted all debt payments to domestic and foreign creditors. Months earlier, an IMF loan didn't help. 

Nearly $100 billion in debt was restructured, completed in 2005 on a take it or leave it basis. Stiff haircuts were imposed on bondholders agreeing to terms of around 65%, deciding something was better than nothing. 

Most holdouts out capitulated in 2010 on similar terms. 
Sustained economic growth followed from 2003 through 2007, helped by debt restructuring and a devalued currency. 

Greece and other troubled Eurozone countries can resolve their financial burdens the same way - by rejecting odious debt bondage, reclaiming their sovereignty, controlling their own monetary and fiscal policies, reinstituting their pre-euro currencies, and beginning the path back to economic growth.

Icelanders suffered hugely when economic crisis conditions hit in 2008. Many lost everything. A fourth of its homeowners faced mortgage default.

Today Iceland is a modern-day success story. It rejected austerity and bank bailouts, imprisoned crooked bankers, devalued its currency to stimulate exports, maintained vital social services throughout troubled times and restored economic growth.

President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson enjoys strong public support - reelected for a fifth term in 2012.

In 2013, he asked "(w)hy are the banks considered to be the holy churches of the modern economy? Why are private banks not like airlines and telecommunication companies and allowed to go bankrupt if they have been run in an irresponsible way?" 

"The theory that you have to bail out banks is a theory that you allow bankers enjoy for their own profit, their success, and then let ordinary people bear their failure through taxes and austerity," he added. 

"People in enlightened democracies are not going to accept that in the long run." Western leaders aren't like Grimsson. Instead of governing responsibly for all their people, they serve monied interests exclusively at the expense of their own people.

A Final Comment

Greeks are voting up or down as this is written on whether to accept most harsh austerity terms or all of them - in return for bailout help for banksters, not them or their economy.

The obvious choice not offered is rejecting austerity entirely and following the Argentine or Icelandic models. Irresponsible SYRIZA governance denies them the only way back from the financial abyss not taken.

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. 

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Thoughts on Independence Day Weekend

by Stephen Lendman

As Americans festively celebrate Independence Day weekend, their leaders are busy conducting business as usual.

Attempting to topple popularly elected Ecuadorean and Venezuelan governance takes precedence over barbecues, outings and other celebratory activities.

So does waging genocidal direct and proxy wars as well as covert mischief worldwide - against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Donbass freedom fighters, Libyans wanting to live free, Somalis, partnered with Israel against Palestine and elsewhere - besides at home against Blacks, Latino immigrants, Muslims, environmental and animal rights activists, as well as political dissidents and people believing popular rights matter more than monied ones willing to risk harsh recrimination for refusing to accept less than equity and justice in a nation systematically denying both to most of its people while high-mindedly claiming otherwise.

Independence for growing numbers of Americans in the world's richest country means poverty, unemployment, underemployment, discrimination, police brutality, homelessness, hunger and deprivation levels not seen since the height of the 1930s Great Depression - when New Deal programs addressed human need compared to today's force-fed austerity exacerbating it.

The so-called "greatest nation on earth" - for Hillary Clinton an "indispensable" one - enriches its few, exploits its majority and cracks down viciously on nonbelievers. The world's largest gulag bears testimony to its lawlessness.

So do money-controlled elections mocking legitimate ones. America's Potemkin facade conceals government of, by and for its privileged few alone - on Independence Day like all others.

Judge America by its actions - not self-aggrandizing hypocrisy, by its lunatic imperial pursuits, its cruel and unreasonable brutality on millions worldwide.

On Independence Day and all others, remember no nation in human history caused more harm to more people over a longer duration than America.

None are more violent and inhumane on a global scale, none more committed to unchallenged global dominance, no matter the cost in human lives and welfare for most people worldwide.

The late Howard Zinn once asked who gained from America's revolution? Everything changed but stayed the same under new management.

America's founders were an earlier day Wall Street crowd - bankers, lawyers, merchants, slave owners, the rich, well-born and privileged.

"Do you think the Indians cared about independence," asked Zinn? Or Blacks considered property, not people? Or women consigned to homemaking and child rearing, denied the right to vote until 1920 Nineteenth Amendment enfranchisement - in the so-called land of the free and home of the brave.

America's founding fathers wrote slavery into the Constitution. They legitimized it - now transformed to wage slavery.

"What about class divisions," asked Zinn? "We try to pretend in this country that we're all one happy family. We're not," he said.

America's so-called revolution wasn't "a simple affair of all of us against all of them" - any more than sending young men and women warriors abroad to make the world safe for capital today advances democratic principles.

Zinn urged everyone to "rethink this question of war(s)" and why they're waged. America never fought liberating struggles, imperial ones only to advance its hegemonic agenda.

Its leaders serve its privileged few alone - protecting their freedom to "invest, speculate, trade and accumulate wealth," Michael Parenti explained.

Celebrants this holiday weekend enjoying outings, picnics, barbecues, ballgames, outdoor concerts, parades, fireworks displays, visits to the shore, and other pleasures might reflect about growing millions of Americans in need and billions worldwide harmed by their government's lunatic quest to rule the world at the risk of destroying it.

Washington's maniacal agenda is no reason to celebrate. Nor is the human misery it causes at home and abroad.

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-Orchestrated Coup Attempt in Ecuador

by Stephen Lendman

Washington wants all independent governments toppled - regime change by US-orchestrated color revolutions, coups or naked aggression.

Ecuador is in the eye of the storm. Obama's earlier 2010 attempt to forcibly unseat popular President Rafael Correa failed. 

He's trying again. Ecuadorean democracy is being attacked. Since early June, US-orchestrated right-wing protests (mainly in Quito and Guayaquil) erupted. They continue at times violently to replace Correa with fascist rule.

They began on the pretext of announced higher inheritance and capital gains taxes affecting about 2% of the population - the Law to Redistribute the Wealth now being debated after Correa halted its implementation to make rich Ecuadorians pay more along with creating more social enterprises, collectives and cooperatives. 

Protest leaders want Correa forcibly ousted. Interior Minister Jose Serrano revealed a plot to storm the presidential palace, block airports and bridges on the Colombian and Peruvian borders, as well as attack security forces.

Serrano said opposition lawmakers Andres Paez and Lourdes Tiban conspired with former Col. Mario Pazmino to instigate violence and chaos during protests.

Pazmino was former army military intelligence head - "very close to the CIA," according to Correa. In 2008, he was sacked for colluding with Colombia's bombing of Ecuador.

The coup plotters' plan involved advancing from north and south to converge around Quito's presidential palace - intending to occupy it forcibly.

"They planned to use pointed sticks to break police shields, throw balloons filled with paint for police to lose visibility, pepper-spray police horses and dogs" to scare and scatter them, Serrano explained.

They intended publishing letters in two national newspapers - El Universo and La Hora - as well as anti-government letters to Pope Francis to undermine his forthcoming visit, an American tour beginning in Ecuador on July 5 followed by Bolivia, Paraguay, Cuba and the United States.

Serrano said "if they were not able to seize power, (they) would have created national chaos" to force Pope Francis to cancel his visit, as well as "maintain…indefinite protest(s)."

Correa commented on "clear evidence of a plot meant to take over the (presidential) palace. They want to defeat violently a government internationally and domestically supported," he explained.

They'll be defeated like September 30, 2010 plotters (called 30S) "peacefully but firmly," Correa said. "We are more, many more," he stressed.

On Thursday, violent clashes erupted. Right-wing extremists attacked Ecuadorean police near Quito's presidential palace. Their plan to breach their lines failed. Four officers sustained injuries.

Journalists were attacked. Culture Minister Guillaume Long said "(t)oday we are facing (a) real threat of destabilization. It is fundamental (for) the people of Ecuador to come here and (defend) democracy. We're not going to allow more coups."

Thousands of Correa supporters rallied Thursday night to defend their government in Quito's Independence Plaza, its main square (the Carondolet). 

Correa addressed them saying "(w)e are ready to defend the revolution against coup plotters. We will remain firm in defending the revolution against the ultra-right."

"(M)obilizations to tire us out…to prevent us from governing (won't) work. We are willing to defend our history and our citizen's revolution. Here we have democracy. Here the majority rule and the past will never return." 

Washington wants Correa's government replaced by a regime it controls, neo-colonial rule most Ecuadoreans oppose - following the pattern of earlier failed Venezuelan protests. 

So far, popular support for Correa prevails. At the same time, dark forces headquartered in Washington never end their dirty game for unchallenged global dominance - a plot to create unfit to live in ruler-serf societies worldwide.

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. 

Tentative Deal on Iran Sanctions Relief?

by Stephen Lendman

Ending US-pressured Western sanctions on Iran is one of the thorniest issues in ongoing P5+1 talks. On July 4, AP News headlined "Tentative agreement on Iran sanctions relief," saying:

P5+1 countries and Tehran tentatively agreed on what "sanctions will be lifted and how quickly" - short of key officials signing off on final agreement terms.

Unnamed diplomats said sanctions terms were resolved this week. No details were provided. An unnamed senior US official indicated work remains to complete a final deal.

Other sticking points include inspection guidelines, Iranian advanced nuclear technology R & D, non-nuclear related sanctions, snapback of relief if Tehran violates agreement terms (true or false), as well as fabricated claims of Iranian human rights violations and involvement in regional terrorism.

Longstanding US Iran bashing is the thorniest matter of all standing in the way of treating the Islamic Republic fairly and resolving nuclear talks equitably.

Whatever is agreed on in Vienna, Congress has final say up or down - with enormous Israeli Lobby pressure to block terms Tel Aviv rejects. 

In a Friday video message, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said all sides "have never been closer to a lasting outcome" than now. "But there is no guarantee" of resolving remaining sticking points.

"Getting to yes requires the courage to compromise, the self-confidence to be flexible, the maturity to be reasonable, the wisdom to set aside illusions and the audacity to break old habits."

"Some stubbornly believe that military and economic coercion can ensure submission. (E)ight years of aggression by Saddam Hussein and his patrons did not bring the Iranian nation that stood alone to its knees."

"(T)he most indiscriminate and unjust economic sanctions against my country have achieved absolutely none of their declared objectives."

Nations hostile to Iran "need to make a critical and historic choice: agreement or coercion…(B)alanced agreements (alone) can withstand the test of time."

Ongoing talks are short of resolution.  An unnamed Iranian source said "nothing (is) agreed on (until) agreement (is reached) on everything."

Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister/senior negotiator Majid Takht Ravanchi said "(m)ost of the issues in the experts meetings have ended, while talks among the deputies continue, and there will possibly remain one or two issues that will need ministerial decisions."

US-led Western officials must decide if they want to resolve things equitably with Iran or continue unwarranted hostility benefitting no one but war-mongers and Israel's extremist regime.

Closer than ever to resolving differences, as Zarif explained, may end up back at square one if Washington chooses confrontation over ending fabricated claims about Iran's well-known legitimate nuclear program. The ball, as they say, is in America's court.

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 Warns of Nonexistent Iranian Threat to Israel

by Stephen Lendman

Iran promotes regional peace and stability. It threatens no other nation. Claims about it wanting Israel destroyed are manufactured Big Lies - repeated to demonize the Islamic Republic, maintain lawless sanctions and keep it isolated.

On Friday, presidential aspirant/unindicted war criminal Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an "existential threat to Israel."

She demonized Tehran further saying "I hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts a lid on (its) nuclear weapons program."

"Even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran. They are the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism." 

"They use proxies like Hezbollah to sow discord and create insurgencies to destabilize governments. They are taking more and more control of a number of nations in the region and they pose an existential threat to Israel."

"We…have turn our attention to working with our partners to try to reign in and prevent this continuing Iranian aggressiveness."

Fact: US and Israeli intelligence both say Iran's nuclear program has no military component.

Fact: No evidence whatever suggests Tehran wants one. Plenty indicates otherwise.

Fact: Iran is a leading anti-terrorism force - polar opposite America and Israel, the world's leading sponsors of destabilizing violence and aggression.

Fact: Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas threaten no one - nor seek control of other nations.

Fact: No Iranian aggressiveness exists. Claiming otherwise is willful lying - a notorious Hillary Clinton trait.

As a 2008 presidential aspirant, she addressed AIPAC's annual convention saying:

"The United States stands with Israel now and forever. We have shared interests....shared ideals....common values. I have a bedrock commitment to Israel's security." 

"(O)ur two nations are fighting a shared threat" against Islamic extremism. I strongly support Israel's right to self-defense (and) believe America should aid in that defense."

"I am committed to making sure that Israel maintains a military edge to meet increasing threats. I am deeply concerned about the growing threat in Gaza (and) Hamas' campaign of terror."

No such campaign exists. The only threats Israel faces are ones it invents.

Clinton repeated tired old lies saying Hamas' charter "calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran threatens to destroy Israel."

"I support calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard what it is: a terrorist organization. It is imperative that we get both tough and smart about dealing with Iran before it is too late."

She backs "massive retaliation" if Iran attacks Israel, saying at the time:

"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

In other words, she threatened to murder 77 million Iranians. She's unabashedly hawkish. She favors police state harshness domestically. She voted for the Patriot Act as a US senator and other repressive legislation.

She endorses outsized military spending. She supports every war America wages and plans. She earlier said "I'll stand behind (GW) Bush for a long time to come."

She endorses using cluster bombs, toxic agents and nuclear weapons in US war theaters. She calls them deterrents that "keep the peace."

She was one of only six Democrat senators opposed to blocking deployment of untested missile defense systems - first-strike weapons entirely for offense.

She represents the worst of America's dark side - a monument to wrong over right, a major threat to humanity if she's elected president next year.

Global predator George Soros and media mogul Haim Saban are two of her major donors along with powerful corporate interests hedging their bets by supporting leading candidates from both parties.

She's an unabashed warmonger indifferent to human suffering. Her posturing about human rights belies her public record. 

She's militantly anti-Putin. At an earlier California fundraiser, she outrageously compared him to Hitler. 

Will she claim a mandate to confront him militarily if elected president? Will she be remembered as the lunatic who launched WW III? It's hard imagining a worse choice for the nation's highest office.

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. 

Scare-Mongering Greeks to Vote "Yes" on Sunday

by Stephen Lendman

Choice Greeks have in Sunday's referendum is accepting most Troika austerity demands or all of them - what this writer calls death by hanging or firing squad.

A real choice should be starvation under oppressive euro straightjacket rules and diktats or sovereign independence - freedom for Greece to make its own monetary and fiscal choices, not have them mandated by Brussels and Frankfurt, externally imposed tyranny by any other name.

Troika bandits are going all-out to scare Greeks to accept what most harms them - endless austerity until the entire population (except its elites) is forced into impoverished  indentured servitude under Western bankster rules.

The latest 11th hour rumor claims "Greek banks prepare plan to raid deposits to avert collapse," according to the Financial Times.

A so-called "bail-in" would impose at least a 30% haircut on deposits over 8,000 euros, the FT said citing unnamed bankers and businesspeople. It would resemble the 2013 Cyprus plan imposing haircuts on uninsured deposits over 100,000 euros.

An unnamed source said the bail-in "would take place in the context of an overall restructuring of the bank sector once Greece is back in a bailout programme. This is not something that is going to happen immediately."

It's not coincidental that rumors  like this (true or false) are floated on the referendum's eve. With a close vote expected, Troika bandits aim to shift enough undecided Greeks to the "yes" camp on Sunday.

Banks are closed. Capital controls remain in place restricting depositor access to maximum 60 euros daily from ATM machines alone. No foreign transactions are allowed.

Greek bankers want people to vote "yes" on Sunday - to protect their bottom line interests. The FT cited two unnamed Athens ones saying only enough cash remains to supply them for a few more days.

Greek deposits are guaranteed up to 100,000 euros. The FT said deposit insurance funds amount to only three billion euros - not enough to cover demand in case of bank collapses. 

Months of capital flight left few deposits over 100,000 euros left. The FT quoted an unnamed analyst saying "it makes sense for the banks to consider imposing a haircut on small deposits as part of a recapitalisation" plan.

Bail-ins are grand theft by other means - a financial coup d'etat on top of all other wealth transfer schemes imposed to save banks from their own transgressions - making ordinary people pay to keep them operating by declaring deposits part of their capital structure, no longer money belonging to savers.

Whether bail-ins are coming remains to be seen. Greece's Bank Association head/National Bank of Greece chairman Louka Katseli said reports of depositor raids belong "only in the sphere of fantasy. There are no such scenarios at any Greek bank, not even as an exercise on paper."

In late May, the European Commission gave France, Italy and nine other EU countries two months to adopt new rules on propping up banks facing insolvency or face legal action.

All EU countries must comply with so-called bank recovery and resolution directives (BRRD) mandating bail-ins instead of bail-outs to rescue troubled financial institutions.

Greece is in compliance so can institute bail-ins if ordered. They may follow if conditions warrant. 

It bears repeating. Raising the issue and other pressure tactics ahead of Sunday's vote aim to scare Greek voters to accept what demands rejection. It remains to be seen what they decide. Polls indicate it could go either way.

Voting "no" won't change Europe's financial landscape. It won't end Greek crisis conditions or painful austerity. It will be a huge victory in one respect - showing ordinary people can say no to bankers and perhaps triumph. 

At the same time, the struggle for Greece's soul, all Europe, America and beyond continues. Business as usual still dominates - the power of monied interests over democracy and populism. Nothing in prospect suggests real change. 

A Final Comment

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Troika officials offered an acceptable bailout deal, according to a Channel 4 interview. It's conditional on Greeks voting "no" on Sunday.

He didn't reveal details so it's unclear what both sides may accept. It's very clear terms involve greater austerity than already - instead of no further anti-populist measures and an agenda to restore vital social services once economic and financial conditions permit.

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.