Sunday, November 23, 2014

Israel: Racist Pariah State Writ Large

Israel: Racist Pariah State Writ Large

by Stephen Lendman

Israel finds new ways to prove its pariah state status. On Sunday, extremist cabinet ministers added more controversy to their collective rap sheet.

Voting 14 - 6 to permit drafting a new Basic Law. For Knesset consideration. Cabinet members:

"(D)efining the identity of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and to anchor the values of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the spirit of the principles of the Declaration of the Independence.

All Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and Jewish Home ministers supported the new measure. Except for Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (Likud).

Votes against included Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Education Minister Shai Piron, Science Minister Yaakov Peri, Health Minister Yael German, Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

Proposed legislation will declare "the right to express national self-determination within the State of Israel only to the Jewish people."

Netanyahu outrageously claims the law affirm's Israel's democratic status. On the one hand, providing self-determination, immigration and related rights only for Jews.

On the other, ludicrously claiming civic and individual rights for all citizens. 

At a time Israeli Arabs are considered fifth column threats. Denied rights afforded solely for Jews. 

Face racist discrimination in all aspects of their lives. Including employment, education, healthcare, and where permitted to live.

According to Netanyahu:

"There are those who want the democratic (element) to take precedence over the Jewish, and there are those that want the Jewish (element) to take precedence over the democratic." 

"(T)he principle of the law that we are proposing here today - both of these values are equal and we must consider them equally."

Finance Minister Lapid disagreed saying:

"The nationality law being presented to the government is a bad law that was only drafted for the sake of Likud primaries."

This is a law that (David) Ben-Gurion, (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky and and (Menachem) Begin would (have) oppose(d)."

Netanyahu criticized Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. She blocked a similar measure last Sunday. "We wouldn't have gotten here if Livni acted differently," he said.

She responded saying "(i)f all of this was to get back at me, you won."

"Your speech this morning and the beautiful words about the Declaration of Independence, about Jabotinsky and equality, do not cover up the holes in (coalition chairman MK Ze'ev) Elkin's bill, and that even his bill and your speech together don't amount to anything substantial."

Proposed legislation will Incorporate 14 "principles." Officially affirming Israel as a Jewish state (the Jewish national home). 

Declaring it as "a democratic state, founded on the principles of freedom, justice and peace, in accordance with the vision of Israel's prophets, and upholds the individual rights of all of its citizens according to the law."

Netanyahu criticized legislation opponents. Ministers threatening to bolt coalition governance over this issue. Saying:

"It is impossible to run the country this way. We need to focus on strengthening security against threats by Islamic extremists and the (nonexistent) dangers of Iran's nuclear program, strengthening Israel's economy and improving the welfare of its citizens - not making threats."

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein opposes legislative language in its present form. On the one hand, he finds nothing wrong with defining Israel as the Jewish people's nation-state.

On the other, he said some parts of the bill significantly "change the basic principles of constitutional law as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and Basic Laws of the Knesset, and lead to deterioration of the democratic characteristic of the state."

Livni's softer version calls for "equality for all (Israeli) citizens. At the same time, calling "Israel the Jewish people's nation-state, where it realizes its right to self-determination."

"It's a democracy based on the foundations of freedom, justice and peace," she claims. Truth is polar opposite. More on this below.

Israel has no constitution. Basic Laws substitute. Proposed legislation is similar to an August 2011 draft version stipulating 15 principles:

"Draft Basic Law: Israel - the Nation-State of the Jewish People

A Jewish State 

The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish
people, in which it realizes its aspiration for self-determination
based on its cultural and historical heritage.

The right to national self-determination in the State of
Israel is uniquely that of the Jewish people.

The text of this Basic Law or any other legislation is to
be interpreted in light of this clause.

A Democratic State

The State of Israel has a democratic regime.

State's Symbols  

The State's national anthem is 'Hatikva.'

The State's flag is white, with two azure stripes close to
its edges and an azure Star of David at its center.

The State's emblem is the seven-branch Menorah
(candelabrum), olive branches on both its sides, and the
word 'Israel' below it.

Language 

Hebrew is the official language of the State.

The Arabic language has a special status, and its speakers
have the right to linguistic access to State services…as...stipulated in law.

Right of Return 

Every Jew has the right to immigrate to Israel and acquire a
citizenship of the State of Israel in accordance with the law.

Ingathering of the Exiles and Jewish Settlement

The state shall act to gather the Jewish diasporas and to
promote Jewish settlement within its boundaries, and will
allocate resources for these purposes.

Connection with the Jewish People in the Diaspora

The State will work to strengthen the affinity between Israel and the Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

The State will extend assistance to members of the Jewish people who are in predicament or in captivity because of their Judaism.

Jewish Heritage

The State will work to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the Jewish Nation and to foster it in Israel and in the Diaspora.

All educational institutions that serve a Jewish public in Israel will teach the history, heritage, and tradition of the Jewish people.

The Right to Preserve Heritage

Every resident of Israel, regardless of religion or nationality, may work to preserve their culture, heritage, language, and identity.

The State may allow a community, including members of one religion or nationality, to establish a separate communal settlement.

The Official Calendar

The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the State.

Independence Day and Memorial Days

Independence Day is the State's national holiday.

The Memorial Day for Israel's Fallen and the Holocaust. And Heroism Memorial Day are official State's memorial days.

Sabbatical Days

The State of Israel's official days of rest are Saturday and the Jewish holidays, in which a person cannot be employed except under terms to be specified in legislation; members of legally recognized communities may refrain from work on
their holidays.

Hebrew Law

Hebrew Law shall serve as a source of inspiration for the legislator.

Should the court encounter a legal question demanding a ruling and be unable to find a solution in legislation, in legal precedent, or through clear deduction, the court should rule in light of the principles of freedom, justice, integrity, and peacefulness of Israel's heritage.

Protection of Holy Sites

The holy sites shall be protected from desecration, other harm, or anything that might impair on the freedom of access of religion members to places they consider sacred or hurt their feelings toward those sites.

Durability

This Basic Law shall not be altered except through a Basic Law passed by a majority of Knesset members."

The First Zionist Congress (August 29 - 31, 1897) "establish(ed) a national home for the Jewish People, in the Land of Israel." 

The Declaration of Independence declared a newly-established Jewish State. The national home of the Jewish people.

Proponents say affirming it in Basic Law provides "greater validity." According to former Israeli High Court president Aharon Barak:

"The values of Israel as a Jewish state posses a constitutional, supra-legal status. They influence the interpretation of all Basic Laws, and thus affect the constitutionality of all statutes." 

"They affect the interpretation of all legal texts, for they should be viewed as part of the fundamental values of the State of Israel, and as such they are also part of the general purpose underlying every legal text in Israel."

Israel is no democracy. It never was one. For sure not now. Extremist governance reflects hardline fascist rule. Moderates are too few in number to matter.

Arab citizens can vote, but why bother. They have no say whatever over policy. MKs representing them are few in number. Powerless. Treated like potted plants.

Peace, equity and justice are convenient illusions. Four-letter words. Hardline rule prevails. State terror reflects official policy. So does institutionalized racism.

Jews alone are wanted. Muslims are persecuted for praying to the wrong God. Occupied Palestinians have no rights whatever.

Militarized harshness controls all aspects of their lives. They're marginalized, terrorized, and brutalized.

Crimes against humanity persist. Western leaders able to intervene responsibly do nothing. 

Washington supports Israel's killing machine. Generously with billions of dollars in weapons, technology and other aid. 

Both countries partner in crime. One fascist regime supports another. Ruthlessness defines their agenda. Giving pariah state  lawlessness new meaning.

Guilty of every crime imaginable and then some. Repeatedly. Unaccountably. Shamelessly. Unapologetically.

Netanyahu's nation-state bill excludes equal rights for all Israelis. He and likeminded extremists believe some Israelis are more equal than others.

Ignoring 20% of Israel's population, With its own language, culture, heritage and rights. Making them second-class citizens at best.

Maintaining discriminatory policies. Polar opposite democratic values. Violating international law.

Haaretz editors call his conduct unsurprising. Ignoring fundamental Arab rights. Working tirelessly to Judaize Israel.

Stealing all valued Judea and Sumaria areas. Displacing Arabs for Jews only development. Collectively punishing an entire population. 

Treating them like yesterday's garbage. Institutionalizing racism more than ever. Making Israel unfit to live in.

Haaretz contributor Uri Misgav says Netanyahu heads Israel toward "violent, unbridled national struggle…(Partnered with) irresponsible extremists."

"(I)nflamed by populist rhetoric…(F)ed by (nonexistent) existential fears…(T)hreatening to get out of control when combined with religion…"

Irresponsibly led by former US citizen Benjamin Nitay. Netanyahu's name in America. 

Misgav calls his governance "failed," "reckless," "atrocious." Nothing ahead looks promising.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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. 

Afghanistan: War Without End, Permanent US Occupation

Afghanistan: War Without End, Permanent US Occupation

by Stephen Lendman

On November 21, The New York Times headlined "In a Shift, Obama Extends US Role in Afghan Conflict," saying:

"(A)uthoriz(ing) a more expansive mission for (America's) military than originally planned…(A) move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year." 

More on this below. On October 28, 2007, candidate Obama said:

"I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do." 

"I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank."

On December 1, 2009, President Obama said:

"(A)s Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan."  

America came to stay. Obama saying "(w)e will bring America's longest war to a responsible end" is false. One of his many Big Lies.

Including saying "(w)e went into Afghanistan out of necessity…"

False! Premeditated war was planned long before 9/11. Conflicts require months of planning. George Bush authorized it four weeks post-9/11. Readied plans were implemented.

International law is clear and unequivocal. No nation may attack another except in self-defense. Doing so without Security Council authorization is prohibited.

It didn't matter. Naked aggression was launched. Lawless by any standard. Against a nation posing no threat to America. 

Without congressional authorization. No declaration of war. No Security Council approval. Bush acted anyway. Through dubious War Powers Resolution (WPR) authority.

Letting presidents act unilaterally for 60 days. Another 30 for disengagement. Short of required Security Council authorization. Congressional approval. Via a formal declaration of war.

WPR is clear and unequivocal, stating:

"The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to… 

(1) a declaration of war,

(2) specific statutory authorization, or 

(3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

No declaration of war exists to this day. No Security Council or congressional authorization. No national emergency from any threat to America. Or any other reason.

It bears repeating. Bush's war was lawless aggression. Obama continued it illegally for six years. It remains ongoing. America's longest war. Without end.

Washington's last legal war was WW II. All wars are based on misinformation, deception and Big Lies. Drowning out hard truths. Including multiple Obama direct and proxy conflicts.

Official reasons for waging them don't wash. They have nothing to do with protecting national security. Defeating Al Qaeda. Or Taliban forces.

Or capturing and killing bin Laden. Or humanitarian intervention.
Responsibility to protect. 

Safeguarding US personnel. Spreading democratic values. Championing right over wrong.

Truth is polar opposite. They're for unchallenged control. Prioritizing capital's divine right to use money to make more of it. 

Making the world safe for war-profiteers. Controlling world resources. Pillage on a grand scale. 

Exploiting whole populations. Turning workers into serfs. Profiting from human misery. Millions of corpses don't matter. A small price to pay.

On May 27, Obama lied saying:

"Together with our allies and the Afghan government, we have agreed that this is the year we will conclude our combat mission in Afghanistan." 

"America’s combat mission will be over by the end of this year. Starting next year, Afghans will be fully responsible for securing their country."  

"American personnel will be in an advisory role. We will no longer patrol Afghan cities or towns, mountains or valleys. That is a task for the Afghan people."

That was then. This is now. Another promise made. Another broken. Operations Infinite Justice (OIJ) became Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). 

Now renamed Operation Resolute Support (ORS). Operation War Without End by any other name.

Naked aggression. Secretly authorized. At least through 2015. Virtually certain to continue through Obama's second term. Likely long thereafter. Public rage should demand all US wars end.

America's AfPak/Iraq involvement the costliest in world history. Up to $6 trillion. Including longterm medical care and disability compensation for vets and families. 

Other veterans' benefits. Military replenishment. Social and economic costs.

Over $2 trillion borrowed to finance AfPak/Iraq. Heading for much more. Plus hundreds of billions more for other direct and proxy wars. New ones planned.

Debt service is huge. Even at low interest rates. Human and financial costs staggering. So are trillions more in waste, fraud and abuse.

Enormous amounts of money down a black hole. For genocidal wars without end. At the expense of popular needs gone begging. Other vital homeland ones.

At a time polls show most Americans want US wars ended, Obama orders fight on. With no end in sight. According to The Times:

"Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government…" 

"(A) broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision." 

"The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions."

Some Obama officials claim Pentagon pressure forced his hand. Military commanders say he acted with domestic politics in mind.

His order authorizes continued air strikes and ground combat operations. Same old, same old. Maybe for another 13 years. Perhaps America's forever war.

Unrelated to national security. Other bogus reasons cited. All about advancing America's imperium. 

Colonizing a strategic territory. Controlling it. With pro-Western stooge governance doing Washington's bidding. A previous article explained the following:

Afghanistan is a geopolitical prize. At issue is controlling Eurasia's vast oil, gas and other resources. 

The world's largest opium supply. Flooding global markets with heroin. 

Providing enormous profits for Wall Street. Giving CIA bosses access to billions of dollars in illicit drug money.

Affording Washington with a strategically located land-based aircraft carrier. Part of its plan to encroach on Sino/Russian borders. 

Encircle them with bases. Target their heartlands. Advance longterm regime change plans. Against the only two countries able to challenge US hegemony.

9/11 was a convenient pretext. The mother of all Big Lies. Wars without end followed. No legal or moral justification exists.

America's presence exacerbates horrific conditions. Death, destruction, violence and human depravation haunt daily life.

Human misery is extreme. Peace, stability and freedom are pure fantasy. So are democratic values.

America came to Afghanistan to stay. Permanent occupation  planned. Combat troops remain. Drone wars continue daily.

Mostly killing noncombatant men, women and children. Claims otherwise are Big Lies. 

US special forces and CIA elements infest Afghanistan. Search and destroy missions are prioritized.

Throughout his tenure, Obama repeatedly lied. About ending America's combat mission. Transitioning to new mission priorities. "(T)raining, advising and assisting Afghan forces only," he said.

"(A)n historic moment. (A)nother step toward full Afghan sovereignty. Afghanistan (has) a long-term partner in the United States of America."

Ruler/vassal state describes things best. Kabul stooge governance serves US interests. 

Profiting hugely from out-of-control corruption. Drug trafficking on a grand scale. Worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

None trickles down to ordinary Afghans. Except minimal crop grower underpayments. Human need goes unaddressed. A growth industry and then some.

America came to conquer, colonize, occupy, plunder and control a strategic part of the world. 

War without end rages. No end in sight looms. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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. 

Sham Bahraini Elections

Sham Bahraini Elections

by Stephen Lendman

On November 22, sham parliamentary elections were held for the first time since 2011. Majority Shias boycotted as expected. Turnout was low.

Main opposition party Al-Wefaq refused to participate. Its Secretary-General, Ali Salman, said "turnout (was) no more than 30%" of around 350,000 eligible voters.

Most participating were military as well as security and public sector personnel.

"The popular will has triumphed for the sake of the homeland. What a failure it is for the government to beg for a vote from a people who are marginalised by them," said Salman.

London-based Al-Wefaq member Khalil Al-Marzooq said opposition members had nothing to gain. Bahraini elections are farcical. Illegitimate by any standard.

"There's no justice in Bahrain. (N)o independence of the judiciary, " said Al-Marzooq

"Unless we agree on the system that represents people and make officials accountable and save people and protect their rights, we can't participate."

"We participated in 2006 and 2010 with a high turnout with the aim of changing the political system to protect the people's rights and interests but we couldn't achieve anything."

Bahraini governance reflects state terror writ large. A case study of despotism. In summer 2010, sporadic protests began. By mid-February 2011, major ones erupted. Continuing sporadically.

Challenging repressive rule nonviolently. At issue is King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa's repressive rule. Ruthless by any standard.

Bahrainis want what everyone deserves. Real democratic change. Majority Shia discrimination ended.

Equitable distribution of state wealth. Political prisoners released. Torture no longer tolerated. 

Popularly elected leaders replacing Al-Khalifa rule. Despotic. Ruthless. Intolerable.

Thousands of peaceful Bahraini protesters face brutalizing treatment. Including tear gas. Beatings. Rubber-coated steel bullets.

Live fire. Mass arrests. Torture. Imprisonments. Disappearances. Cold-blooded murder. State-sponsored terror writ large.

Women and children are brutalized like men. So are students, doctors, nurses, other medical personnel, journalists, human rights activists and foreign observers.

Sham elections resolve nothing. Longstanding business as usual persists. Some 419 candidates participated - 266 for 40 Council of Representatives (lower parliamentary house) seats. 

Another 153 for municipal councils. The ruling monarchy appoints 40 upper house Consultative Council members.

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) president/provisionally released political prisoner Nabeel Rajab expects election results to deepen crisis conditions.

Government/opposition disputes remain unresolved. State terror targets human rights activists and regime opponents. Democracy is pure fantasy. None whatever exists.

Parliamentary members have no power. "(T)o legislate or monitor," says Rajab. Expect no change whatever post-election.

Holding them with almost half of opposition leaders in prison have no legitimacy. 

"You can’t have an election with no compromise with opposition. You can’t have a one-sided decision," Rajab explains.

"We need real reform." Parliament with power to legislate. Representing all Bahrainis. Equitably and justly.

Thousands of political prisoners released. Real dialogue. Reconciliation. "Then we should have an election," says Rajab.

Bahrain is a dictatorship "where you can't speak. You can't talk. You can't make a statement that criticizes any institution or government official." 

"(T)hings have much deteriorated because of the abandonment of the international community of our struggle for democracy and social justice in this country." 

"(W)e've been ignored. Many countries - like the UK, specifically - have ignored our struggle, seeing their interests, seeing their arms trade has more priority than our rights, our struggle for democracy." 

"But we're more determined. We're more committed to continue our struggle, and I'm more confident and optimistic that if we do continue, we're going to have a democratic country one day."

In September 2010, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights commented on longstanding repressive conditions. Things remain unchanged. BCHR's criticism remains relevant. Saying in part:

It "condemn(s) the persistence of the constant campaign of suppressing public liberties, at a time where the country is living an undeclared state of emergency with the arrest of hundred of activists, human rights defenders and opposition religious figures, and the continuity of kidnappings of youth while physically abusing and sexually harassing them."

BCHR "continually receiv(es) information about the increase of torture crimes and sexual harassment against detained Shiite clerics and stripping several detainees who are human right defenders off their clothes."

Ruling authorities carry "out collective punishment against the detainees and their families by announcing that they have been dismissed from their jobs and deprive them of the medical, educational and housing services provided by the State as part of its responsibility."

Detainees are brutally tortured. Others disappeared. Some murdered in cold blood.

Opposition figures targeted. So are human rights workers. Journalists daring to report accurately. Students, medical workers and others.

Civil and human rights don't matter. Nor international laws. Democracy is a convenient illusion. Tyranny institutionalized.

Courts rigged to convict. Guilt by accusation suffices. Horrific prison conditions persist. 

Thousands wrongfully incarcerated suffer horrendously. World leaders able to make a difference do nothing.

Freedom is a four-letter word. Fundamental rights don't exist. It bears repeating. Elections when held are farcical. With no legitimacy whatever.

Manama's Pearl Roundabout is ground zero for Bahraini peaceful anti-regime protests. In March 2011, al-Khalifa security forces tore down the movement's defining symbol.

A 300-foot sculpture. A stone pearl atop six sweeping arches. Reported at the time as a "face-lift." To "boost the flow of traffic."

Bahrain's foreign minister, Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, cut to the chase saying: 

"We did it to remove a bad memory. The whole thing caused our society to be polarized." 

"We don't want a monument to be a bad memory. We are not waging war. We are restoring law and order."

On election eve, hundreds of angry Bahrainis marched to the site peacefully. Security forces attacked them with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and beatings.

Many injuries and arrests followed. Majority Shias believe their country is under siege. 

They're excluded from high-level government, military and police positions. They want it freed from repressive regime rule.

In over four years of protests, scores died. Including women and children. By live fire, beatings, asphyxiation from tear gas, and torture in police custody or prison.

BCHR along with two dozen other human rights groups issued a joint statement saying in part: 

Elections "must not be use to cover human rights violations."

"Peaceful protesters, human rights defenders and democracy advocates continue to face extrajudicial detentions, imprisonment, ill treatment and torture in detention centres."

"The 2014 elections will certainly be used as a cover for the ongoing human rights crisis." 

"These elections are sure to be considered neither inclusive, with the opposition societies feeling unable to participate, nor a sign of political reform, in a country that continues to be plagued by flagrant abuses of human rights."

Security forces continue targeting majority Shias, their religious sites and peaceful protesters.

The State Department's 2013 human rights report on Bahrain cited "serious human rights problems…"

Including "citizens' inability to change their government peacefully." 

"(A)rrest and detention of protesters on vague charges, in some cases leading to their torture in detention." 

"(L)ack of due process in trials of political and human rights activists, medical personnel, teachers, and students, with some trials resulting in harsh sentences." 

"Other significant human rights problems included arbitrary deprivation of life." 

"(L)ack of consistent accountability for security officers accused of committing human rights violations." 

"(A)rrest of individuals on charges relating to freedom of expression." 

"(V)iolations of privacy."

"Restrictions on civil liberties, including freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and some religious practices."

A September 2014 BCHR report said regime authorities arbitrarily stripped over 2,000 residents of their nationality. 

Including dozens of Bahrainis. On bogus charges. So-called crimes "threaten(ing) national security."

Nationality revocations target political opponents. Including former MPs, activists and lawyers. They and family members are affected. Leaving them stateless in Bahrain.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) calls its justice system unfair. Unaccountable. Its deputy Middle East director Joe Stork saying:

"Bahrain's problem is not a dysfunctional justice system, but rather a highly functional injustice system."

The UN Refugee Agency launched a recent campaign called "I belong." To combat statelessness.

An open letter signed by high commissioners, presidents, Nobel Peace laureates and human rights defenders saying:

"Statelessness is inhuman. We believe it is time to end this injustice." International law requires it. Including reinstating nationalities for affected individuals.

Sham Bahraini elections changed nothing. Authorities continue terrorizing majority Shias. Regime opponents. 

Human rights supporters. Anyone demanding democratic rights. Nothing in prospect looks hopeful. Business as usual persists.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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, November 22, 2014

Lavrov: West Wants Regime Change in Russia


Lavrov: West Wants Regime Change in Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is highly respected and then some. Representing Russia honorably. Forthrightly. Responsibly.

Saying what he means. Meaning what he says. Telling participants at the Moscow-based advisory Foreign and Defense Policy Council:

"As for the concept behind to the use of coercive measures, the West is making clear it does not want to force Russia to change policy but wants to secure regime change."

Western leaders publically "say there is a need to impose sanctions that will destroy the economy and cause public protests."

Tensions between Russia and Western countries were brewing long before Ukrainian crisis conditions, he explained.

EU countries succumbed to US pressure. Decided to go for broke. Play chicken with Russia.

Ukraine reflects a moment of truth. Moscow won't instigate breaking ties with Europe. At the same time, it won't tolerate post-Soviet 1990s business as usual.

"The EU is our largest partner. Nobody is going to shoot himself in the foot and reject cooperation with Europe, but everyone understands that it won't be business as usual anymore."

"(W)e don’t need the" way things were before. Saying 'Russia must do this and must do that…(W)e want to cooperate as equals.

US-led "aggressive minority" Western nations bear full responsibility for escalating tensions. Led by ideologically over-the-top officials.

Pursuing Eastern European power grabs. Instead of mutual cooperation. Joint mutual problem-solving efforts. Prioritizing peace. Rejecting war.

Lavrov blamed Washington for usurping global leadership. Bullying other nations to observe its rules.

When its resources and skills are declining. Waging war to achieve hegemonic goals. Letting politics trump reason.

"We cannot accept the position of those who tell us: 'Put up with it. Everyone has to suffer from America having elections every two years, and nothing should be done about it.' " 

" 'Relax and take it as a given.' This won't do. We won't take it because the stakes are too high."

"It's not about anti-Americanism or forming some sort of anti-American coalition." 

"It's about the natural desire of an increasing number of nations to ensure their vital interests and doing it in a way they see right, not the way they are being told by a foreign party."

If Washington assumes leadership for world peace and stability. Mutual cooperation. Respecting sovereign rights of all nations. 

Observing international laws, norms and standards. Moscow will be first to express support. Bullying will produce polar opposite reactions.

Addressing Russia's Security Council on Thursday, Putin warned against US-led "modern world extremism…used as a geopolitical instrument to rearrange spheres of influence." 

"We see the tragic consequences of the wave of so-called 'colour revolutions,' the turmoil in the countries that have undergone the irresponsible experiments of covert and sometimes blatant interference in their lives." 

"We take this as a lesson and a warning, and we must do everything necessary to ensure this never happens in Russia."

"(W)e must consistently and persistently work to prevent extremism, to remove even its prerequisites and to reveal in a timely fashion the causes that can provoke ethnic, social or religious conflicts."

"(W)e need to take a complex approach to countering extremism. (T)his job requires thorough knowledge of the situation in each specific region and federal district."

"Countering extremism has nothing to do with intolerance towards dissenters." 

"Russia is a free democratic country and its citizens have the right to their opinion, the right to voice it and to be in opposition to the authorities.

"All people have the right to propose their solutions to pressing issues, they have a right to form parties and public organisations, and take part in elections." 

"It is important that they exercise their rights, express their political preferences, positions and views in a civilised and legal manner."

"As we assert our freedom of choice, the right to hold meetings, marches and rallies, we should not forget that we are responsible for our words and deeds." 

"We must know and bear in mind that breeding conflict between people of different ethnicity and religion, propaganda of nationalist ideology, mass violations of public order on these grounds and particularly calls for a violent overthrow of the existing regime are direct manifestations of anti-national thinking and extremism."

"All of us must bear in mind the destructive consequences of such actions." 

"Leaders of public movements should remember this. They should know that such actions are punishable by law."

Putin prioritized three ways to address extremism:

  • better focus on inter-ethnic relations;

  • awareness promotion work with youths; and

  • improved migration policies.

Russia must be mindful US-instigated post-9/11 color revolutions, said Putin. Taking measures to prevent them domestically.

Freedom can't be taken for granted. Nor sovereign rights. Keep them requires constant vigilance. Working daily for what's vital to preserve. 

Mindful of ever present threats. Hegemons stop at nothing to achieve goals. Not at Russia's expense, Putin asserts.

He's more popular than ever. For resoluteness. Straight talk. Defending sovereign Russian rights. Going all-out for regional peace and stability.

Not yielding to US pressure. Opposing its imperial agenda. Mindful of Obama toppling Ukraine's democratically elected president. 

Replacing him and parliamentary members with pro-Western stooge governance. 

Determined to challenge US unipolarity. New World Order dominance. Demanding all nations bow to its will.

Russia under Putin/Medvedev/Lavrov and other resolute officials is back. Proud and reassertive. Not about to roll over for Washington. Or rogue EU partners. Or US-led NATO threats.

It's back to the future in Washington. Cold War 2.0. For greater stakes. Threats to world peace. Reinventing the Evil Empire.

The real one resides in Washington. Infested with neocons. Continuing destructive business as usual policies. 

Essential to stop while there's time. All bets are off otherwise. Humanity's fate hangs in the balance.

A Final Comment

The General Assembly's Third Committee deals with a range of social, humanitarian and human rights issues. Ones affecting populations worldwide.

Others advancing women's rights. Protecting children. Indigenous issues. Treatment of refugees. Promoting fundamental freedoms.

Confronting racial discrimination. Addressing social development issues. Supporting self-determination rights.

During the General Assembly's 68th session (Sept. 17, 2013 - Sept. 15, 2014), Third Committee members considered over 70 draft resolutions. Over half related to human rights.

It's expected to consider a similar number in its current session. Including one passed Friday. Condemning attempts to glorify Nazism. Deny its war crimes.

The resolution passed overwhelmingly - 115 to three. With 55 nations abstaining. America, Canada and Ukraine alone voted nay.

Effectively endorsing Nazism. Denying it committed war crimes. The measure voiced concern over racist-driven crimes. 

Extremist ideologies and agendas. Commonplace in America, Ukraine and elsewhere.

It called for universally adopting the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Washington signed it. Without enforcement measures. Effectively rejecting what it endorsed.

Russia submitted the draft resolution. Its Foreign Ministry saying:

"The fact that the US, Canada and Ukraine voted against, while delegations from EU member states abstained in the vote on this draft resolution, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of the UN member states, is extremely regrettable."

"Ukraine's position is particularly dispiriting and alarming. One can hardly understand how a country, the people of which suffered their full share of the horrors of Nazism and contributed significantly to our common victory against it, can vote against a resolution condemning its glorification."

In December, the General Assembly will formally adopt the resolution. No thanks to America, Canada and Ukraine. On the wrong side of one issue after another.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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. 


Russia Bans GMOs

Russia Bans GMOs

by Stephen Lendman

Genetically engineered foods and ingredients harm human health. Russia banned them. Wants more organic food produced. More on this below.

GMO expert Jeffrey Smith calls GMO foods and ingredients "inherently unsafe. The GM process creates collateral damage in the plant, which can cause (disturbing) side effects."

Independent studies prove it. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) reported "animal studies indicat(ing) health risks associated with GM foods."

Including numerous illnesses, infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, gastrointestinal abnormalities, and major organ changes.

AAEM urged physicians to tell patients to avoid GMOs. Unlike clinical drug evaluations, none are conducted for these products.

The only published human feeding experiment showed genetic material in GM soy becomes hazardous intestinal bacteria.

Continuing to function long after these products are eaten. Potentially causing super-diseases. Resistant to antibiotics.

Able to turn intestinal bacteria into pesticide factories. Recent independent studies show GM corn damages livers and kidneys.

Animals raised on GM feed are inherently different from safely fed ones. Rats ingestind GM potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, testicles and brains, damaged immune systems, and abnormal white cell changes.

Making them more vulnerable to infections and diseases than other rats fed non-GMO potatoes.

Thymus and spleen damage showed up. Enlarged tissues. Including the pancreas and intestines.

Liver atrophy. Significant proliferation of stomach and intestines cells. A sign of greater future risk of cancer.

Roundup pesticide used for GM crops causes birth defects. GM soy causes sterility.

Americans don't know what they're eating. Labeling is prohibited. Violating First Amendment rights.

Monsanto, Dow, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association has teamed up with Koch brothers-backed Congressman Mike Pompeo (R. KS).

Planning legislation denying Americans the right to know what they're eating. Smith calls it the "Deny Americans the Right-to-Know Act (DARK Act)."

Provisions will prevent states from labeling GM foods and ingredients.
Prohibit them from calling natural labeling illegal for GMOs. Prevent the FDA from requiring food companies to label them.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) calls GM plants and animals "one of the greatest and most intractable environmental challenges of the 21st century."

Over 90% of US soybeans are genetically engineered. Around 85% of corn. About 88% of cotton. Cottonseed oil often used in processed foods.

Over 80% of them contain GM ingredients. From soda pop to soup to salad dressings. Crackers to condiments. Potatoes to "super" pigs. Bananas to baked beans.

Despite known harm to human health, no congressional legislation regulates GM foods and ingredients.

According to CFS:

"The haphazard and negligent agency regulation of biotechnology has been a disaster for consumers and the environment."

"Unsuspecting consumers by the tens of millions are purchasing and consuming unlabeled GE foods, despite a finding by US Food & Drug Administration scientists that these foods could pose serious risks."

Americans are human guinea pigs without knowing it. Part of an unregulated mass experiment, Entailing enormous risks.

Once GM seeds are planted, nothing known to science can reverse their contamination. It spread over two-thirds of arable US farmland.

Despite known human health risks. In America, politics trumps science. Unsafe foods and ingredients are declared fit to eat.

Whatever agribusiness wants it gets. Profits alone matter. Human health be damned. Genetic manipulation is fraught with danger.

It works by forcibly inserting a single gene from one species' DNA into another. Unnatural pseudo-science.

Smith explains as follows, saying:

"A pig can mate with a pig and a tomato can mate with a tomato. But this is no way that a pig can mate with a tomato and vice versa."

Doing so transfers genes across natural barriers. Ones separating species over millions of evolutionary years.

Biotech manipulators want us to believe they can do nature one better. Calling genetic engineering an extension or superior alternative to natural breeding.

With no corroborating evidence. Plenty showing genetic manipulation harms human health.

China banned GMO corn. Dozens of countries require labeling. Despite exemptions and inadequate enforcement.

No international standards exist. Industry claims about GMOs being substantially equivalent to natural foods are Big Lies.

EU countries require labeling. Unrelated to safety. For commercial purposes only.

Distinguishing among GM, conventional and organic foods. So consumers can choose or avoid products they wish.

Since 2007, foods sold in Russia required special labeling if contained 0.9% or more of GM ingredients.

Last March, Putin said Russia is obligated to protect its citizens from GMOs. In April, Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev ordered new controls.

Last February, Russian upper house Federation Council members introduced legislation temporarily banning GMOs.

Until studies evaluate the safety of each one by various scientific standards. Or prove them unsafe to eat.

Polls show over 80% of Russians want them banned. Only 9% approve them.

Russia's National Association for Genetic Security (RNAGS) wants them banned.

Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology researcher Irina Ermakova showed six-fold higher mortality rates/lower body weight among young rats whose mothers were fed herbicide resistant GM soybeans.

Her findings raised serious concerns about human health risks from GMOs. "It is necessary to ban (them), to impose moratorium for 10 years," she said.

"While GMOs will be prohibited, we can plan experiments, tests, or maybe even new methods of research could be developed."

"It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous."

"Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect. (A)t this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals."

"Bio-technologies certainly should be developed, but GMOs should be stopped. We should stop (them) from spreading."

Days earlier, Russian media reported Prime Minister Medvedev announcing a complete GM import ban.

"If Americans like to eat GMO products, let them," he said." We don't need to do that. We have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food."

GMOs will be banned for 10 years. So reliable research can evaluate their human health effects.

Russia's decision is important. Along with China banning GM corn. Perhaps other countries will follow.

Foods, ingredients and other human ingested products should be unconditionally banned. False narratives about safety don't wash.

Polls show Monsanto is one of the world's most hated companies for good reason. For slow-poisoning us.

Its former executives run the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). An obvious conflict of interest.

Anti-GMO activists urge buying organic foods. Boycotting Monsanto-owned companies.

Repealing Monsanto Protection Act harmful provisions. Permitting "continued cultivation, commercialization, and other specifically enumerated activities."

Human health be damned. Letting the Secretary of Agriculture ignore public safety. Corporate interests own Obama.

He's their man in Washington. Supporting hazardous GMOs. Other products and services harming human health and welfare.

Congress operating the same way. Letting corporate lawyers and lobbyists write legislation.

Concerned only about bottom line issues. Making the world safe for profiteers. Harming public welfare at the same time.

Monsanto is no stranger to controversy. Spending millions of dollars annually. Buying politicians like toothpaste.

Millions more spent investigating possible farmer patent violations. Targeting anti-GMO state referenda and legislation.

Wanting all plant and animal products genetically modified. Wanting worldwide food control.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) lists 20 countries banning one or more GM product.

North Dakota and Montana introduced legislation prohibiting GM wheat. Several US cities and municipalities want restrictions or bans imposed. Previous efforts failed.

Vermont wants a moratorium on GMOs. Enacted legislation requiring GM food and ingredient labeling by July 2016.

In response, Monsanto sued. Ludicrously claiming burdensome speech requirements and restrictions.

Vermont Public Interest Research Group's consumer protection advocate Falko Schilling said:

The people of Vermont have said loud and clear they have a right to know what is in their food. So putting labels on is a reasonable and prudent thing so people can decide for themselves."

Organic Consumers Association's National Director Ronnie Cummins praised the new law, stating:

"After years of good old-fashioned work, and playing by the rules, the grassroots labeling movement achieved its first real victory this year, when Vermont passed the first no-strings-attached law requiring mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)."

He blasted Monsanto's suit. Calling it a desperate attempt to protect corporate shareholder profits at the expense of consumers' rights and health."

The struggle for food safety continues. Hopefully other states, cities and municipalities will follow Vermont's lead.

Ideally banning GMOs altogether. Based on independent research proving them unsafe to eat.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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.