Friday, January 30, 2015

Salaita Sues University of Illinois

Salaita Sues University of Illinois

by Stephen Lendman

Previous articles discussed Professor Steven Salaita academic lynching. Hired by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to a tenured faculty position.

Fired for criticizing Israeli aggression on Gaza. Supporting Palestinian rights. Chancellor Phyllis Wise lied claiming otherwise.

At the time, Columbia University Professor Bruce Robbins called his firing "an outrage to anyone who cares about academic freedom or simple human decency."

"In punishing him for speaking up by taking away his job, Chancellor Wise has inscribed her name in a shameful list that includes Joseph McCarthy, among others."

On January 29, Salaita filed suit in federal court. Represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Chicago civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy.

CCR saying "Salaita's termination, which functions as a penalty for his speech on an issue of public concern, constitutes 'viewpoint discrimination,' a violation of the First Amendment, and also threatens academic freedom by punishing a faculty member for speaking as a citizen on a critical issue."

Salaita's suit charges violation of his First Amendment rights. Other constitutional rights violations. Breach of his employment contract.

Dissent in America is endangered. Criticizing Israel is verboten. Virtually assuring academic lynching. 

A likely career-ender for professors deserving praise for their forthrightness and integrity.

Saliata was a tenured professor. He signed an October 2013 UIUC contract. Resigning his Virginia Tech position to do it.

Weeks before classes began, he was told he no longer had a job. Among other reasons cited was a disingenuous claim about lacking Board of Trustees approval.

Interim College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean, Brian Ross, wrote Salaita's job offer letter, saying:

"The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a wonderfully supportive community, and it has always taken a high interest in its newcomers." 

"I feel sure that your career can flourish here, and I hope earnestly that you will accept our invitation."

After his firing, CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy wrote Chancellor Wise, saying in part:

"The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) writes to express our considerable alarm about the decision of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to terminate the appointment of Professor Steven Salaita at the University based on the content of his constitutionally-protected speech critical of Israeli government practices in recent weeks." 

"Your seemingly unprecedented decision to terminate the appointment of a tenured professor on such grounds violates Professor Salaita's clearly established constitutional rights as well as elementary principles of academic freedom to which the University purportedly subscribes." 

"We urge you in the strongest terms to reconsider your unlawful course of action."

"An attempt by university officials to repress or penalize speech on a matter of public concern such as Israel/Palestine because of disagreement with its message is impermissible 'viewpoint discrimination,' a serious First Amendment violation."

CCR cited Texas v. Johnson. Justice William Brennan wrote the majority opinion, saying:

"If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable."

CCR criticized Chancellor Wise for "assert(ing) that the manner in which Professor Salaita expressed his views was uncivil or harsh or that the substance or style of his communication would offend his audience." 

"The Supreme Court has never accepted a desire to shelter offended listeners from harsh messages, recognizing that powerful and provocative speech is often necessarily 'vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasant.' "

"This recognition embodies "a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide-open."

"Beyond the First Amendment violation committed here, the University has betrayed elementary principles of academic freedom which naturally extend protections to faculty members' ability to 'speak or write as citizens,' and which must be free from 
'institutional censorship or discipline.' "

"Your actions have inflicted serious damage not just on one scholar; they have set your University on an unsustainable course charted against elementary constitutional principles." 

"We strongly urge you to retract this precipitous decision and reaffirm your commitment to academic freedom and the right of members of the University of Illinois community to engage vocally and vociferously on matters of great public concern."

Open letters from at least 10 academic organizations expressed strong support for Salaita's rights. Along with seven or more public statements from academic organizations.

Letters from Palestine Solidarity Legal Support. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago. The National Lawyers Guild-Chicago.

Numerous faculty-supportive letters. Petitions and academic boycott announcements backing him. 

Last September, the Chicago Tribune published Salaita's op-ed headlined "Steven Salaita: U of I destroyed my career."

Calling his UIUC tenured faculty position appointment "the pinnacle of (his) academic career."

Involving "numerous interviews with faculty" members. "(A)n intensive review of (his) scholarship, pedagogy and professional service."

Dean Brian Ross' employment offer followed. Rescinded a few weeks before scheduled classes "without any warning" or legitimate explanation.

Salaita called it "devastating to (his) family…(A) grave threat to faculty and students everywhere."

"(A)nathema" to academic and speech freedoms. Unjustifiable tactics "used to silence faculty and students on campuses across the country for speaking in support of Palestinian human rights."

The disturbing implications of his sacking go "far beyond (his) job prospects," he explained.

Last November, UIUC denied Loevy & Loevy's FOIA lawsuit on behalf of Salaita. Seeking emails, other correspondence and records pertaining to his firing.

Calling the request "unduly burdensome." An unjustifiable excuse to  withhold information it wants suppressed.

In late December, UIUC's Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (CAFT) released a report.

Saying rescinding Salaita's appointment violated "existing policies and procedures in several substantial respects…"

Accusing him of incivility "is not consistent with the University's guarantee of freedom of political speech."

CAFT recommended his candidacy be remanded to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for review of his scholarship by a committee of qualified academic experts.

With Salaita provided full opportunity to respond to any proposed findings of professional unfitness before CAFT concluded its proceedings.

On January 15, UIUC rejected CAFT's recommendations. On January 29, CCR/Loevy & Loevy's lawsuit followed. Salaita seeks reinstatement. Unspecified monetary damages.

Other restitution for violating his constitutional rights, breach of contract, and "intentional infliction of emotional distress." He explained saying:

"My primary motivation in bringing this suit is to join my colleagues in the American Indian Studies program and begin teaching."

"I do not want (UIUC's) illegal actions to become the norm in US universities."

Suing was a last resort. After exhausting other alternatives. Contesting UIUC's "abuse of power." Despite Salaita's "stellar academic credentials…"

Defendants include 11 UIUC trustees and officials. Including board chairman Robert Easter, Chancellor Phyllis Wise and former US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Saying Wise destroyed evidence related to his case. Charging Defendants with conspiring illegally to deprive Salaita of his constitutional and UIUC contractual rights.

Firing him for "political speech challenging prevailing norms. (T)rampling on long-cherished principles of academic freedom."

Lawlessly causing him "severe economic, emotional and reputational damage."

Unnamed "John Doe donors" are targeted. For injecting themselves into UIUC's hiring process. Threatening to withhold future donations unless Salaita was fired.

He said he may refuse an out-of-court settlement because "we don't want a type of precedence to be established wherein…people can be fired for their speech."

"It's not as simple as my personal circumstance," he added. His separate lawsuit against UIUC for violating Illinois' open records law remains ongoing. Its next hearing is scheduled in February.

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. 

Heading for War with Russia?

Heading for War with Russia?

by Stephen Lendman

Ukraine is the epicenter of possible European war. Ongoing events should scare everyone.

Kiev's war on Donbas rages. Area freedom fighters continue routing its military. It's desperate for more Western support. 

Wanting greater numbers of US-led NATO boots on the ground than are already involved in fighting.

Three recent regime false flags didn't achieve Kiev's objective. Perhaps something major is planned. A Kiev 9/11. 

Big enough to embroil Europe in war. Meaning East/West confrontation. America v. Russia. Possible nuclear war.

It bears repeating what previous articles stressed. Today is the most perilous time in world history. Thursday Stop NATO reports are disturbing.

"US Army Trains for New War in Europe," reported editor Rick Rozoff. Exercise Allied Spirit I involves America, Britain, Canada, Hungary and the Netherlands.

Continuing through January 31. "(D)esigned to provide multinational interoperability training at brigade and battalion levels to enhance US and (NATO's) effectiveness."

In other words, prepare for potential war with Russia. According to US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) commander General David Perkins:

America's military is responsible for "synchronizing and delivering national power (to) seize, retain and exploit the initiative and maintain relative advantage over all enemies."

Prepare for an eventual US/Russia military showdown if current political and economic war fails to achieve Washington's objective.

Namely, turning Russia into another US colony. Eliminating a major rival. Controlling its resources. Exploiting its people.

Part of America's strategy for unchallenged global dominance. Waging permanent wars to achieve it.

Ongoing in Europe's heartland. Kiev's war on Donbas rages. Threatens to become much more than civil war.

Secretary-General Stoltenberg is a convenient US-controlled front man. NATO's number two is number one.

Its eminence grise. Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow runs things.

A former Assistant Defense Secretary for International Security Affairs. 

Clinton's National Security Council European Affairs director. A former US ambassador to Russia.

Calling Moscow "more an enemy than partner." Intends NATO measures to counter nonexistent Russian aggression.

Including stepped up US military presence near its border. America's dirty hands risk the unthinkable. War with Russia means all bets are off.

Supporting Kiev's war on Donbas increases the possibility. On Thursday, Stoltenberg met with Ukraine's illegitimate foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin.

Expressed concern about nonexistent "support of Russia to the separatists." 

Telling Klimkin "we will continue to support you, and we will work with you, with strong support to the independence and the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine."

Saying NATO "support(s) all efforts (for) a peaceful solution based on the Minsk agreements."

While systematically violating them. Arming, funding and training Kiev's military. Participating in its war on Donbas.

Disingenuously talking peace. Waging dirty war without mercy. Showing no signs of ending. Heading for potentially much greater conflict than already.

Ukraine is effectively bankrupt. Its economy deeply in tatters. Outside aid alone keeps it from disintegrating. Whether enough remains to be seen.

At the same time, military spending increases. So-called defense is the only sector of Ukraine's economy showing growth.

Illegitimate oligarch president Poroshenko said "(t)his year we plan to increase strength of the armed forces of Ukraine up to 250,000 people."

In other words, preparing for greater conflict. Backed by US-dominated NATO.

Risking far greater war than already. "NATO Trains Very High Readiness Joint Task Force For War With Russia," reported Stop NATO.

Consisting of land, air, sea and "special operations" as needed. (A)ble to deploy within a few days to respond to any challenges that may arise on NATO's flanks."

Code language for possible war on Russia? It remains to be seen. US-dominated NATO policy heads dangerously in this direction.

Obama wants congressional authorization for unconstrained war. On the phony pretext of combating IS. Syria, Iran, Donbas freedom fighters and Russia the real targets. 

With lunatics running things in Washington, expect continued wars without end ahead. 

Michel Chossudovsky new book titled "The Globalization of War: America's 'Long War' against Humanity" is essential reading.

Visit Global for special offer pre-order information. In his preface, Chossudovsky calls the "globalization of war" a "hegemonic project."

Like nothing in human history preceding it. "Major military and covert intelligence operations are (ongoing) in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East," Chossudovsky explains.

Combining "major theater operations (and) covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states."

US-dominated NATO partnered with Israel coordinate global conflicts "at the highest levels of (Western) military hierarchy."

Political and economic wars accompany them. At stake is humanity's survival. It's very much up for grabs.

Challenging Russia irresponsibly risks crossing an unthinkable red line. Risking potential military confrontation.

On December 4, US House members barely stopped short of declaring war on Russia. Overwhelmingly passing a non-binding resolution. Signaling hostile US intentions.

Former Congressman Denis Kucinich said at the time:

"NATO encirclement, the US-backed coup in Ukraine, an attempt to use an agreement with the European Union to bring NATO into Ukraine at the Russian border, a US nuclear first-strike policy, are all policies which attempt to substitute force for diplomacy."

Heading things dangerously toward open confrontation. The unthinkable. Possible nuclear war.

Last May, Senate members introduced S. 2277: Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014. 

Its full title is "(a) bill to prevent Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia, and for other purposes."

Senator Bob Corker (R. TN) introduced it with 26 Republican co-sponsors. Senate Foreign Relations Committee members considered it.

No action was taken so far. Perhaps in the new Congress. Obama as anti-Russian as congressional hawks. Fascists making policy.

Proposed legislation provides "major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services."

Effectively incorporating these countries into NATO. Making its killing machine more formidable. 

Letting Washington establish bases on Russia's border. Challenging Moscow irresponsibly. Risking direct East/West confrontation.

Ongoing events risk the worst possible outcome. Chossudovsky is clear and unequivocal saying "America’s s global military design has been one of world conquest." 

"War and globalization are intricately related. Militarization supports powerful economic interests." 

"America’s 'Long War' is geared towards worldwide corporate expansion and the conquest of new economic frontiers."

US-dominated NATO partnered with Israel and other rogue states comprise "a formidable military force, deployed in all major regions of the World."

Targeting all independent countries for regime change. Including Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Hezbollah in Lebanon and others.

Potential US-instigated nuclear war threatens humanity's survival. MSM propaganda increases the possibility. 

So does public indifference. Anti-war activism is absent. More than ever needed to stop America's hegemonic madness.

Its "long war" rages. No end in sight looms. Either we find a way to end it or it'll end us.

A Final Comment

On Thursday, EU foreign ministers met in Brussels. Extended  economic/financial sanctions on Russia through September.

Agreed to consider additional ones. To be decided when ministers meet on February 9. A statement issued lied.

Blaming Russia for "continued and growing" support for Donbas rebels. Saying Moscow shares "responsibility" for escalated conflict.

Russia and Donbas freedom fighters are consistently blamed for Kiev's crimes. Greece's new government expressed phony rhetorical opposition to renewed sanctions. 

Its Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias approved them. Brussels unity was required to do so. "We are not the bad boy," Kotzias maintained. 

Saying one thing. Doing another shows what ordinary Greeks can expect from its new government.

A previous article called it business as usual wrapped in populist rhetoric. Betrayal after promising real change.

Moscow's EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov commented saying:

"By acting in such a narrow-minded way, the EU in essence is subjecting to additional tests our partnership - the partnership between Russia and the European Union, which is regrettable."

"(B)esides selective assessments of these or those events, sweeping criticism of Russia is the dominating element." 

"As if Russia, and not the Kiev authorities with the connivance of the EU, had unfolded the bloodbath in eastern Ukraine."

"The call for implementation of the Minsk agreements contrasts with statements heard in the past few days from the Ukrainian capital that they are no longer content with the Minsk agreements and it’s necessary to seek another format."

"But while these conversations can be heard, shelling of residential districts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Gorlovka continue." 

EU foreign policy chief Federica "Mogherini, while summing up the meeting on Thursday, selected three components in the EU's reaction to deterioration of the situation in eastern Ukraine. Unfortunately, all three are wrong."

On Thursday, Putin said Russia "must overcome the pressure of external factors by means of strengthening its economic and financial sovereignty."

"The current period is not easy," he explained. "(B)ut nothing unexpected has happened. The crisis developments were expected."

Russia won't surrender its political and economic sovereignty. Putin promised new measures for "additional stability against external shocks…"

Including "diversification, the growth of non-energy, high technology, agriculture, and the national financial and banking sector."

At the same time, he intends confronting major Western challenges diplomatically. Given America's rage for regime change, he'll need tough-minded policies with teeth.

The only thing US lunatics running things understand.

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. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Islamic State Recruiter Admits Getting Funds from America

Islamic State Recruiter Admits Getting Funds from America

by Stephen Lendman

Call it one of many US dirty secrets. Washington covertly recruits, funds, arms, trains, and directs extremist Islamic State and other Takfiri terrorists.

The same ones it lies about waging war on. Uses them as proxies against its adversaries.

Notably during Obama's tenure against Libya's Gaddafi. Currently against Assad in Syria. Ahead against future enemies to be named later. 

Iran very much in Washington's cross hairs. Longstanding US regime change plans remain firm.

RT International, Fars News and LiveLeak reported the same story. 
Calling Yousaf Al Salafi an IS Pakistani commander.

In detention in Pakistan, he admitted getting funds from America. On January 22, he and two associates were arrested in Lahore, said AFP.

According to the English language newspaper The Express Tribune:

"During investigations, (Al Salafi) revealed that he was getting funding - routed through America - to run an organization in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria." 

The information came from its sister Urdu language Daily Express. From a source close to Pakistan's investigation on condition of anonymity. Saying Al Salafi was arrested in December.

Admitted getting $600 per recruit. Worked with at least one accomplice. Reportedly a Pakistani imam. According to the unnamed source:

"The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organizations, which is being routed through the US." 

"The US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests, and that is why it launched offensive (actions) against the organization in Iraq but not in Syria."

Its oil facilities, infrastructure, grain silos and other non-military sites are targeted. Scores of civilians were killed. 

IS fighters remain largely unscathed. New ones enter Syria through Turkey, Jordan and Israel's Golan.

According to a Pakistani security source, recruiting IS fighters "was raised several several times (by) local media" reports.

"(E)ven in the diplomatic corridors between US and Pakistan…(M)edia reporters here suggest(ed) that hundreds of recruits have been exported from Pakistan."

The issue was discussed with John Kerry on his recent Islamabad visit.

"The matter was also taken up with CENTCOM (US Central Command) chief, General Lloyd Austin, during his visit to Islamabad earlier this month," an unnamed source said.

Reuters was told Al Salafi is a Pakistani-Syrian. Came to Pakistan via Turkey. Arrived five months ago. Established a Pakistani-based IS group.

Local media report growing internal IS influence. Citing incidents in Lahore and Multan. Where IS flags and graffiti are clearly visible.

Last year, Obama began bombing claimed IS sites in Iraq and Syria. Washington wants unchallenged regional control.

Fear-mongering is longstanding US practice. Obama nonsensically calls IS "unique…If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond (the) region, including to the United States," he claims.

Washington's objectives include controlling regional oil. Installing pro-Western puppet regimes.

Balkanizing iraq into the Kurdish north, Baghdad center and Basra south. Controlling the country more effectively this way.

Ousting Assad. Eliminating a key Israeli rival. Replacing him with a US-friendly stooge. Isolating Iran. Its turn awaits US regime change plans.

America's dark side threatens world peace. Obama wants congressional authority for unconstrained war. Billions of dollars in funding.

America's longstanding business is war. Obama calls it US "leadership." International law calls it naked aggression.

Based on Big Lies. With no just cause. No existential or other threats. No legal standing regardless of congressional action. 

Security Council members alone may authorize war. Every US post-WW II one was illegal. Including ongoing direct and proxy ones. New ones planned.

War is America's strategy of choice. Permanent ones. Dirty ones. Waged without mercy. Against nations US forces can easily roll over.

How many more countries will America ravage and destroy? How many more victims will die?

Wars won''t end when Obama leaves office. Whoever replaces him will continue them seamlessly. Wage new ones.

Expect no end to mass slaughter and destruction. Not as long as lunatics run the Washington asylum. 

The only solution is nonviolent revolution. The alternative is continued death, destruction and growing homeland repression. 

Tyranny by any standard. Masquerading as democracy works only for so long. America's dark side is to ugly to hide.

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. 

Human Rights Groups Condemn Israeli Gaza War Crimes

Human Rights Groups Condemn Israeli Gaza War Crimes

by Stephen Lendman

Israel's Operation Protective Edge (OPE) was cold, calculated, premeditated naked aggression against 1.8 million Gazans.

Previous articles explained in detail. It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. Everything to do with preventing Palestinian self-determination.

Maintaining occupation harshness. Continuing settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land. 

Keeping beleaguered Gazans besieged. Sabotaging Fatah/Hamas unity. Preventing diaspora Palestinians from returning. 

Having Jerusalem as Israel's exclusive capital. Denying Palestinians all international law guaranteed rights. Continuing to treat them as subhumans.

Amnesty International (AI) accused Israel of war crimes. Said its "forces displayed 'callous indifference' to deadly attacks on family homes in Gaza."

Targeting them "without warning…(K)illing entire families. (B)razenly flout(ing) the law(s) of war," said AI's Philip Luther.

Israel "show(ed) a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians…" AI quoted a Gazan witness to an Israeli attack on a residential home, saying:

"All I can remember are the bits and pieces of bodies, teeth, heads, arms, insides, everything scattered and spread."

Israel remains unaccountable for its genocidal high crimes against peace. Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned them in a report on its attacks on schools used as shelters.

Saying "(t)he Israeli military carried out attacks on or near three well-marked schools where it knew hundreds of people were taking shelter, killing and wounding scores of civilians."

"Israel has offered no convincing explanation for these attacks on schools where people had gone for protection and the resulting carnage."

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel condemned Israeli war crimes. Its fact-finding mission (FFM) reported most deaths and injuries occurred "in, or very close to, (victims') homes or those of relatives and neighbors."

Significant numbers of casualties included "members of the same family and rescuers killed or injured…"

" '(D)ouble tap' or multiple consecutive strikes on a single location led to multiple civilian casualties and injuries and deaths among rescuers."

"(H)eavy explosives were used in residential neighborhoods resulting in multiple civilian casualties."

Medical teams were targeted, killed or injured while attempting to aid injured Gazans.

Civilians were deliberately attacked. In dozens of cases, entire families were killed.

Israeli soldiers used Palestinian civilians as human shields. Abused and ill-treated them. "(I)ncluding beatings, denial of food and water," and murdering at least one victim "shot dead at close range."

Heavy Israeli bombardments "failed to discriminate between legitimate targets and protected populations and caused widespread destruction of homes and civilian property."

"Such indiscriminate (land, sea and air) attacks…must have entailed approval from top-level decision-makers in the Israeli military and/or government."

Clear evidence shows "serious (Israeli) violations of international human rights and humanitarian law."

B'Tselem's new report is the latest on OPE. Titled "Black Flag: The legal and moral implications of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014."

On OPE's first day, Israeli forces "attacked the Kaware family home. (It) collapsed. Nine people, including five children aged 7 to 14, were killed.," said B'Tselem

"This was just the first of dozens of air, sea and ground strikes" on civilian targets. "(A)ppalling hallmarks" of Israeli aggression.

"Time and again Palestinian families suffered much grievous loss of life." 

"In a single instant, so many families were ruined, with the wreckage of their lives mirroring the devastation of their homes."

"These attacks were not carried out on the whim of individual soldiers, pilots or commanders in the field." 

They reflected "policy formulated by government officials and the senior military command." 

"These officials (lied claiming) attacks conform(ed) to international humanitarian law (IHL) and eschew(ed) any responsibility for harm to civilians."

"(M)any civilians (not involved in fighting) were killed in every strike in which houses collapsed with their occupants inside."

Culpable Israeli officials "eschewed responsibility for the immense harm to civilians, placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of Hamas." 

"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (lied saying) 'Israel's security forces (did) everything in their power to avoid harming civilians and if innocents are hurt, it is because Hamas deliberately hides behind Palestinian civilians.' "

"This argument is unacceptable," said B'Tselem. Netanyahu lied. Israel considers civilians legitimate targets in all its wars. Around 80% of OPE casualties were noncombatant men, women and children.

B'Tselem characterized Israeli OPE operations as a "black flag of illegality."

New York Times editors, correspondents and contributors rarely criticize Israeli crimes demanding condemnation and accountability.

Rare exceptions prove the rule. Even then they stop short of full truth and disclosure.

On January 28, The Times discussed B'Tselem's report. Headlining "Israeli Group Says Military Attacks on Palestinian Homes Appeared to Violate Law."

It should have headlined human rights group condemns Israeli war crimes. Instead of saying "appeared in at least some instances to violate provisions of international law…"

Naked Israeli aggression violated international law. No nation may attack another except in self-defense. 

Provided Security Council members OK it. Israel launched premeditated aggression. Hamas responded in justifiable self-defense.

Times reports don't explain. Throughout OPE, it was more Israeli apologist than critic.

It remains so. Citing Israeli military officials "insist(ing) (they) acted in accordance with international law…"

Despite indisputable evidence proving otherwise. "Israeli critics immediately denounced the B'Tselem report," said The Times.

Citing NGO Monitor. Calling it "an Israeli watchdog group widely considered to be right-leaning…" 

Quoting it calling B'Tselem's report a "distorted political narrative of Israeli guilt and Palestinian victimhood."

Saying B'Tselem "contribut(es) to an (anti-Israeli) campaign…"

NGO Monitor is a Jerusalem-based Israeli front group. Disseminating propaganda, hate and fear-mongering.

Debasing human rights groups, independent journalists and other legitimate Israeli critics. Don't expect Times reports to explain.

Or unequivocally condemn indisputable Israeli war crimes.

B'Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad said its report aimed mainly at the Israeli public. Polls showed strong OPE support. 

State propaganda manipulated people to back what demanded condemnation. Media reports echoed official policy.

Weeks ahead of Israeli elections, El-Ad expressed concern about OPE largely absent from public discussion.

He hopes to raise Israeli awareness of what happened. Why it matters. 

Hoping it may help prevent future wars. Given Israel's appalling history, chances for equitable peace are virtually nil.

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. 

Blowback Against Israeli State Terror

Blowback Against Israeli State Terror

by Stephen Lendman

Israel claims a divine right to attack any nation, group or individual it chooses with impunity. Considers naked aggression self-defense.

Justifiable self-defense is called terrorism. On January 18, Israeli helicopter gunship fire killed Hezbollah military leader Imad Mughniyeh in Syria's Quneitra province. 

Located in Golan's demilitarized zone. The site of heavy clashes between Syrian forces and Takfiri terrorists.

Mughniyeh and five other Hezbollah fighters were killed. Plus six Iranians. Including General Mohammed Allahdaddi.

A Lebanese security source said two Syrian soldiers died. Hezbollah and Iran warned of retaliation at their discretion.

On January 28, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Lt. Commander Brig. General Hossein Salami warned of an Iranian response at an unexpected time and place.

"We will take revenge from the Israelis for these martyrs' blood at a time and place that they don't expect," he said.

He called Israel's Golan attack "the reflection of numerous defeats that both Americans and Israelis have suffered in their current strategies."

On Wednesday, Hezbollah said it "targeted an Israeli (nine vehicle) military convoy in the Shebaa Farms...which was transporting several Zionist soldiers and officers."

"There were several casualties in the enemy's ranks." Israel claimed two soldiers killed. Seven others wounded when five anti-tank missiles hit their convoy.

Lebanese satellite channel al-Mayadeen quoted unnamed sources claiming 15 Israeli soldiers killed.

Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA) reported an Israeli soldier captured. A Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper was killed. More on this below.

Washington hypocritically calls every preemptive Israeli act of aggression its right of self-defense. Justifiable retaliatory strikes are called terrorism.

On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki's statement didn't surprise. Saying in part:

"The United States strongly condemns Hezbollah's attack today from Lebanon on Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in blatant violation of the cease fire between Lebanon and Israel and UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks." 

"We support Israel's legitimate right to self-defense."

"Hezbollah continues to incite violence and instability inside Lebanon by attacking Israel and by its presence and fighting inside Syria, which violates Lebanese leaders' agreed policy of dissociating Lebanon from foreign conflicts."

America and Israel partner in each other's high crimes against peace. Both countries support IS terrorists in Syria they claim to be fighting.

Neither side wants protracted conflict. Hezbollah is heavily involved in Syria. Israeli general elections are weeks away.

Eurasia Group analysts Ayham Kamel and Riccardo Fabiani said "Netanyahu most likely realizes that a prolonged military engagement  in Lebanon could cost him the election."

"Instead, Israel will pursue limited actions targeting Hezbollah in Lebanon, but the low-scale, tit-for-tat exchanges will not broaden into a wider war."

Netanyahu saying "(t)hose behind the attack…will pay the full price" suggests a limited Israeli response.

Saying Israel is "prepared to act powerfully on all fronts" excludes full-scale war. At the same time, current poll numbers show he lacks enough support to remain prime minister.

According to one observer, when running scared, he doesn't run smart. Whether he intends greater escalation than most think likely remains to be seen. 

His policies made increasing numbers of US Jews anti-Zionists. Another war may turn them all against Israel.

Hezbollah called Wednesday's strike "statement number one." Suggesting more to come.

On Friday, Hassan Nasrallah is expected to comment publicly on Israel's January 18 attack and Hezbollah's response.

Haaretz reported both sides sent messages through UNIFIL. Indicating no desire to escalate conflict.

"The Israeli side is still holding consultations," said Haaretz. "(A)t this stage, it appears Israel does not wish further escalation."

At the same time, Netanyahu said "Iran is trying, via Hezbollah, to set up a terrorist front against us in the Golan Heights."

"We are working aggressively and responsibly against this attempt…Our mission is to defend the State of Israel."

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon added:

"Iran and Hezbollah are trying, and will continue to try, to hurt Israel in every way, from the Golan Heights and certainly from Lebanon, with ruthless terrorist infrastructures aimed at military and civilian targets."

"Israel will continue acting against "the terrorists and those who send them."

Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On warned against "impulsive" Israeli actions. Urged efforts to "calm the situation with immediate diplomatic steps."

"We have bitter experience with military escalation on the eve of elections. The Israeli government must not act impulsively as it has in the past."

Gal-On criticized Netanyahu warning "anyone who would challenge us on the northern border to look at what happened in Gaza."

"This statement must set off a warning light for everyone," said Gal-On. "We've already experienced too much bloodshed and grief in the past year." 

"Getting dragged into an unnecessary war in Lebanon is the last thing Israel needs now. It is no one's interest to fight a Third Lebanon War."

Israel's Institute for National Security Studies research fellow Benedetta Berti called what's ongoing "a very delicate game, because both sides want to respond hard enough that they’re not perceived as weak, but not too hard to start a war."

"It’s a very, very thin line. There's plenty of room for miscalculations." 

"If this is where it ends, we're moving on to the next chapter, with the awareness that every single time this starts again, we get closer to…war."

Lebanese political analyst Kamel Wazne called Israeli violence "a major breach" of 1974 ceasefire agreement terms.

Hezbollah sees Israel changing the "rules of the game. (It) crossed a red line, and if Hezbollah did not react, (it) won't stop."

Hezbollah's Wednesday attack "shows (its) confrontation is with Israel, so it can get back its respected position in the Arab world." 

By focusing where "it was supposed to be the whole time." Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center international affairs analyst Jonathan Spyer called pre-election military action "a double-edged sword."

"The Israeli public doesn't object to military operations if they're quick and clean, but the last thing you want to do is go into elections in the middle of a bloody war like the summer of 2006," he explained.

IDF artillery shelled southern Lebanon after Hezbollah's attack. Lebanese media reported at least 25 shells landing in its territory.

A Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper was killed. At a closed-door Wednesday Security Council meeting, Spain's UN envoy Roman Oyarzun Marchesi blamed Israel.

Saying "(i)t was because of the escalation of violence, and it came from the Israeli side."

Syria's Quneitra province was attacked. In response to what appeared to be errant anti-Assad rocket fire causing no damage in an open field. According to an Israeli military spokesperson:

"The IDF holds the Syrian Government accountable for all attacks emanating from its land, and will operate by any means necessary to defend Israeli civilians." 

"Such blatant breaches of Israeli sovereignty will not be tolerated." Numerous previous Israeli attacks since 2013 perhaps aimed to provoke Syria to respond. 

Doing so would give Israel and Washington a pretext to launch full-scale war. Assad wisely held back.

Mossad-connected DEBKAfile said "Israel's armed forces will now be obliged to pull out the stops to recover respect for its deterrent capacity." 

"There is little choice but to inflict a serious military blow against Hizballah and the Iranian intelligence officers based in Syria."

It remains to be seen what Netanyahu has in mind. Or perhaps a new prime minister post mid-March elections.

The Jerusalem Post cited an Israeli military investigation saying its vehicles travelled on a civilian Ghajar village road two km from Lebanon's border.

Hezbollah "attackers were four to five kilometers away from the vehicles. A military D-max vehicle was" first struck.

Soldiers in a jeep "evacuate(d) it before it too was hit with missiles. The subsequent injuries came from military vehicles nearby."

Israeli media reported quiet along border areas overnight. Ya'alon warned about possible additional IDF attacks.

Saying "(o)ur long arm knows how to reach wherever is necessary. Anyone to tries to attack us is signing their on death warrant."

An unnamed IDF source called Hezbollah's attack "a pinpoint tactical response." Short of full-scale confrontation.

IDF spokesman Brig. General Moti Almoz said he "notif(ied) the residents of the north that they can go back to their daily routine."

Hezbollah issued similar comments to southern Lebanese residents. IDF and Hezbollah border area forces remain on high alert.

Haaretz editors said "Israelis are paying the price of a showcase operation. (They) should ask themselves whether the Syria strike justified the lost of the soldiers killed…"

Calling it "an operational and a strategic error. (Raising) questions about the judgment of the decision-makers - the prime minister, the defense minister and the chief of staff."

"No Israeli should avoid asking (if Israel's attack) contributed to the security of its population…risk(ing regional escalation."

Haaretz editors called Netanyahu's government a "regime of fear and war." 

Whether change is possible post-election remains to be seen. Given Israel's disturbing history, don't bet on it.

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, January 28, 2015

Ukrainians Against War

Ukrainians Against War

by Stephen Lendman

A previous article explained most Ukrainian soldiers oppose war. Conscripts are against fighting their own citizens.

Used as cannon fodder in Donbas. Notoriously underpaid. Poorly fed and clothed. Deplorably treated overall.

No wonder most don't want to serve. They want to be home with families. Wanting peace, not war.

Large numbers of conscripts desert. Some join Donbas defense forces ranks. Others seek refuge in Russia.

On January 27, Fort Russ headlined "Poroshenko adviser leaks disastrous data about the fourth wave of mobilization."

According to Yury Biryukov:

"(H)eads of 14 rural councils of Ivano-Frankivsk oblast refused to accept the summons for notifications."

"57% of notified conscripts in Ivano-Frankivsk region did not arrive for medical commission."

"37% of notified conscripts of Ivano-Frankivsk region have left the territory of Ukraine."

Ternopil region rural council heads "openly sabotage events of notification."

Konyukhi, Kozovsky village council head reported residents leaving for Russia on two rented buses.

In Transcarpathian region Colchino, Mukachevo township, only 3 of 105 summons were presented.

In the last 30 days, 17% of Chernivtsi region conscripts left the area.

Unofficial sources report Ukrainian/Romanian border area hotels and motels "completely filled with Ukrainian men evading conscription."

"19% of (Volyn Oblast) notified conscripts refused military service on religious grounds."

On January 28, The Saker reported Ukrainian Deputy Oleg Tsarov saying Washington planned civil war in Ukraine before Maidan.

Orange Revolution 2.0 intended toppling its government. US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt served as point man.

US Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland directed things from Washington and Kiev. 

She admitted America spent more than $5 billion over the last 20 years for regime change.

US embassies are hotbeds of subversion. Infested with CIA agents. Working with ambassadors like Pyatt. Against governments Washington wants ousted.

The Saker posed an interesting question. Will Obama one day "be the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to be hanged for war crimes?"

Will Nobel committee members hang with him? Mocking what they claim to stand for. Deploring peace. Promoting war. By giving Peace Prizes to war criminals.

On Tuesday, Russian Presidential Administration head Sergey Ivanov called conditions in Ukraine "a great concern on our part."

"Poor, uncontrollable, legally incapable and insolvent Ukraine is a colossal problem for Russia."

Washington "use(s) Ukraine for" its own interests. It doesn't "care about Ukraine itself."

"…Ukrainian people (have) to face the consequences, while being on the bring of misery."

Ivanov called Ukraine's parliament labeling Russia an aggressor an act of "weak-headedness."

Unsurprising, he added. "I would not be surprised even if the State Rada (Kiev's parliament) tomorrow passes a resolution claiming that Russia had launched an aggression on the Moon."

Taras Kuzio is a paid political propagandist. Writing for Foreign Affairs he headlined "Ukraine Reignites: Why Russia Should be Added to the State Sponsors of Terrorism List."

Ludicrously claiming Putin "wants to rebuild 'New Russia,' the Tsarist empire's term for" eight Eastern Ukraine Russian-speaking regions.

No evidence whatever supports him. Plenty debunks him. Kuzio lied accusing anti-Kiev forces of "terrorism."

Saying Moscow "propagate(s) terrorism and political instability across Ukraine."

Accusing Russia and Donbas freedom fighters of Kiev crimes. Saying "(i)t is time to call Russia what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism."

Media scoundrels proliferate this type rubbish. Responsible editors wouldn't touch it.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is more hack journalist than legitimate one.

Big thinking isn't his long suit. Superficial analysis substitutes for what readers deserve. Propaganda writ large. On January 28, he headlined "Czar Putin's Next Moves."

Irresponsibly blaming him for attacking Ukraine. Saying earlier he didn't equate it to Hitler's aggression.

"(U)sing ethnic Germans to justify his invasion of neighboring lands." Now he does.

Claiming "awful things Putin is doing to Ukraine" without citing a shred of evidence. None exists.

Plenty shows Washington's responsibility for backing, funding, directing and participating in aggression in Europe's heartland. 

Don't expect Friedman to explain. Or NYT editors featuring his rubbish.

Beginning-to-end unapologetic Big Lies. Claiming "Russian troops wearing uniforms without insignia invade(d) Ukraine."

Putin is "destroying Ukraine's reform movement." Friedman calls it "the ugliest geopolitical mugging happening in the world today."

"If Putin the Thug gets away with crushing Ukraine’s new democratic experiment and unilaterally redrawing the borders of Europe, every pro-Western country around Russia will be in danger."

This is what passes for MSM news, information and analysis. No wonder Americans are the most over-entertained, under-informed people anywhere.

Friedman's worldview is polar opposite reality. Russia didn't invade Ukraine. Putin doesn't supply rebels with weapons. Has no revanchist ambitions.

He alone among world leaders goes all-out for regional peace and stability.

Obama and rogue NATO partners want war. Ousted Ukraine's legitimate government. Installed neo-Nazis replacing it.

Arm, fund and train Kiev's military. US forces directly participate in its aggression on Donbas.

Try finding a single MSM report explaining what everyone needs to know. Propaganda rubbish substitutes. 

Big Lies repeat ad nauseam. Global war risks go unnoticed.

A Final Comment

RT International reported on Ukraine's scheme "to create a coordination center for Ukrainian bloggers to present a united front in social media."

Citing Ukraine's information policy minister (aka propaganda minister), Yury Stets, saying they'll become Kiev's online "truth-telling" army.

"To do so we need to unite people influential in social media, and they will tell (Kiev's version of truth) to everyone who reads them."

"You don't need trolls and bots to deliver truthful information to those communicating on the Internet," said Tass.

Kiev's ministry of truth is right out of Orwell's 1984. Propaganda rubbish substituting for hard facts.

RT said Kiev's scheme "prompted an international outcry from journalists alarmed by the move."

OSCE's media freedom representative, Dunja Mijatovic, called Kiev's initiative a clear threat to media freedom.

Days earlier, illegitimate oligarch president Poroshenko proposed suspending accreditation for all Russian journalists working in Ukraine. Including television, radio and print ones.

On January 23, Ukraine's security service (SBU) reported 88 Russian journalists expelled from the country. A willful campaign to suppress hard truths.

Last November, Kiev banned 83 Russian journalists from entering Ukraine. RT and other major Russian TV operations were targeted.

Western media ignore Kiev's war on media freedom. Its Donbas aggression called self-defense. 

Its illegitimate putschist regime called democratic. Its scandalous Russia bashing. 

Ignoring Washington's manipulative dirty hands. Its war on humanity. Not a single MSM source has the courage, credibility or integrity to explain it.

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.