Monday, February 27, 2017

Trying to Heal a Sick World No Easy Task

Trying to Heal a Sick World No Easy Task

by Stephen Lendman

US ruthlessness makes it more like mission impossible, yet what’s more vital to achieve. 

I and my doctors are in the same line of work - their job helping sick patients heal and be well again to live normal, productive lives. My job is helping to heal a sick world.

They have lots of success stories. I have none. Failure doesn’t deter me. I’m determined to try harder.

We’re all united in a struggle for survival. Bipartisan neocon lunatics infesting Washington intend letting nothing stand in their way for unchallenged global dominance. Trump is part of the problem, not the solution. The fullness of time will explain more.

Neocons infesting Congress, Wall Street, corporate funded think tanks and other centers of power are willing to risk destroying planet earth to own it - the madness of imperial hubris and arrogance, humanity’s fate up for grabs, especially if nuclear war is waged, the ultimate act of insanity.

America was never beautiful except for its privileged few. Today, an ruthless criminal cabal runs things, wanting all sovereign independent governments toppled, replaced by US-controlled puppet regimes - war America’s favorite strategy of choice.

In his book “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic,” the late Chalmers Johnson argued that maintaining America’s empire “requires resources and commitments that will inevitably undercut our domestic democracy and in the end produce a military dictatorship or its civilian equivalent.” 

“The founders of our nation understood this well and tried to create a form of government - a republic - that would prevent this from occurring.” 

“But the combination of huge standing armies, almost continuous wars, military Keynesianism, and ruinous military expenses have destroyed our republican structure in favor of an imperial presidency.” 

“We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire. Once a nation is started down that path, the dynamics that apply to all empires come into play -  isolation, overstretch, the uniting of forces opposed to imperialism, and bankruptcy. Nemesis stalks our life as a free nation.”    

Like myself, Johnson remained hopeful Americans one day will rise up and change things. It’s too late for tinkering around the edges. Revolutionary change is our only chance.

The alternative is “a military dictatorship…its civilian equivalent” (virtually established), or humanity’s doom from nuclear war. “History teaches us that the capacity for things to get worse is limitless,” Johnson explained.

Americans never experienced war firsthand. They don’t know what millions in US targeted countries face, surrounded by death, destruction, chaos, deprivation and misery, their lives threatened daily. 

Except for youths foolish enough to voluntarily join America’s military, believing promises made to be broken, risking their lives in US-instigated war theaters, the public is mindless and dismissive about what’s going on.

Libertarian presidential aspirant Gary Johnson’s display of geopolitical ignorance about Aleppo symbolizes widespread public unawareness of vital world and national issues affecting their lives and welfare.

In my 9th decade. I’ve had a good life with opportunities unavailable for today’s youths. I’ll keep at what I’m doing, fighting the good fight for long denied peace, equity and justice, as long as my health and stamina hold out.

Lots of others are involved like myself, hopefully many more to follow. Committed grassroots activism is the only chance for responsible change, nothing else. Survival depends on it.

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: How the 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.

Hollywood Honors Terrorism

Hollywood Honors Terrorism

by Stephen Lendman

Hollywood Academy Awards are all about film promotion for profits, unrelated to the industry’s best, way too little of it around.

They also reflect longstanding Tinseltown ties to Washington. Scripts feature pro-Western propaganda. 

Studio bosses are well compensated for colluding in glorifying America’s wars and demonizing its enemies - including “Islamic terrorists” and Russia.

Washington has final say on content and characters in propaganda films. It wants its agenda promoted, most people none the wiser.

History is reinvented. The state-sponsored 9/11 event is exploited. Rogue CIA agents are portrayed as heroes. Supporting America’s imperial agenda is more important than truth.

In 2013, Argo was chosen Hollywood’s top film. It should have been denounced instead of honored - reinventing a 1979/1980 Iranian hostage crisis episode.

The film was malicious, unjust and one-sided, Hollywood propaganda at its worst, ignoring what should have been featured, stereotypically portraying Iran according to Western misinformation.

At Hollywood’s 89th Academy Awards on Sunday, The White Helmets propaganda film was honored as the past year’s best documentary short - portraying terrorists as heroes.

The group has nothing to do with civil defense as claimed, everything to do with supporting terrorism against sovereign independent Syria.

Its personnel operate in al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) controlled areas. Calling themselves volunteer rescue workers responsible for saving tens of thousands of lives is rubbish.

America and Britain support the group. So does the Soros Open Society Foundation and likeminded pro-Western interests.

White Helmets have been photographed and videotaped together with al-Nusra terrorists during beheadings and other atrocities. They support creation of a no-fly zone to prevent Syrian aerial self-defense.

The Syria Solidarity Movement calls them al Qaeda “with a facelift,” fostering terrorism and imperial ravaging on the pretext of humanitarianism.

People associated with the group are enemies of fundamental freedoms - warriors, not peacemakers, foreign-supported dark forces wanting tyranny replacing Syrian sovereign independence.

They were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. Instead it went to narco-state terrorist Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia’s president. As Alvaro Uribe’s defense minister, he was notorious for massacring “entire population centers,” James Petras explained.

Nobel committee members honored state terrorism. So did Hollywood last night in naming The White Helmets last year’s best documentary short.

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: How the 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.

Hillary Planning a 2020 White House Run?

Hillary Planning a 2020 White House Run?

by Stephen Lendman

She tried and failed twice. Does she have another run in mind?

Reports suggest she may launch a TV talk show, featuring her as host, perhaps intending it to be platform for a third presidential campaign.

She considers herself party leader in exile, likely seeks revenge for losing to Trump. A TV show would be a way to bash him and serve as a self-promotion vehicle. 

She no doubt thinks she can beat Trump in 2020. Will she again seek her party’s nomination? It’s too early to know, but at this stage no other Democrat has popular support for the nation’s highest office.

One thing seems sure. She’s not going away gently into the good night. We’re stuck with the menace she represents - the specter of possible nuclear annihilation if she gets her finger on the nuclear trigger as America’s military commander-in-chief.

On Friday, she released a short video on the Democrat You Tube channel, saying:

Hello Democrats. Thank you all for coming together to represent our party at its best. United, energized and ready to wage and win the battles ahead.”

She lied calling her 2016 campaign platform “the most progressive…in history.” She ludicrously claimed her ideas “inspir(ed) leaders and activists across the country.”

She absurdly said support for her campaign “fuel(ed) grassroots energy and activism,” adding “everywhere people are marching, protesting, tweeting, speaking out and working for an America that is hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.”

Fact: Throughout the presidential campaign, post-election, and since Trump’s inauguration, dark forces orchestrated protests against him. 

There’s little or no grassroots activism about most of it.

Hillary: “From the Women’s March, to airports where communities are welcoming immigrants, refugees and people of every faith, to town hall meetings where people are speaking up for healthcare, the environment, good jobs and all the other issues that deserve our passionate support.”

Fact: Hillary supports Wall Street, war-profiteers and other predatory corporate interests. Most voters despise her for good reason.

She urged supporters to “stay engaged in the field and online,” adding “(l)et resistance, plus persistence equal progress for our party and our country.”

She wants Trump delegitimized, his agenda undermined, perhaps positioning herself for another run against him.

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: How the 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.

Russia's Superior Air Defense Systems

Russia’s Superior Air Defense Systems

by Stephen Lendman

US-dominated NATO threatens Russian security. State-of-the-art air defenses are vital.

Russia has the world’s best - better ones coming by 2020 or sooner. More on this below.

Its S-400 air defense system is unmatched - the world’s most sophisticated technology, able to strike targets up to 400 km away at altitudes up to 90,000 feet, including fifth generation warplanes, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles.

It’s protected against electronic warfare, able to hit targets beyond the horizon. No other country has anything like it, including America.

It can distinguish between airborne and ground-based targets. Its sophisticated radar spots everything within its range, including tiny aircraft and stealth ones at low or high-flying altitudes.

It renders stealth aircraft obsolete, able to destroy them with pinpoint accuracy. It can simultaneously engage up to 36 targets with up to 72 missiles. 

Three separate types are used - extremely long range 40N6, long range 48N6 and medium range 9M96 missiles. They’re fitted with homing devices able to lock onto and destroy targets. 

Unlike America’s capability, S-400s don’t need to track targets. Their effectiveness neutralizes US-led NATO air power.

Development of Russia’s more sophisticated surface-to-air defense system is well underway - called the S-500 Prometey (Prometheus), also referred to as the 55R6M Tiumfactor-M.

When operational, it’ll protect Russia from hypersonic and intercontinental ballistic missiles. According to defense analyst Viktor Murakhovsky, “(t)his is the next step. These are air defense capabilities on operational and strategic levels.”

They let “us to protect entire regions from intercontinental ballistic missiles and other advanced weapons, including hypersonic glide vehicles currently under development in the United States.”

They’ll be able to hit targets near space, including satellites outfitted with electro-optical surveillance systems.

The S-500 effectively counters Pentagon plans for a so-called Prompt Global Strike (PGS) system to deliver precision-guided weapons anywhere in one hour or less - using surface, sub-surface and air-launched hypersonic missiles.

According to Murakovsky, “hundreds of billions of (US) dollars…have gone down the drain.”

S-500 missiles are mobile. They’ll have a range of up to 600 kilometers. They can simultaneously intercept up to 10 ballistic and hypersonic missiles traveling at speeds of seven km per second.

They can strike targets up to an altitude of 200 km. They can neutralize America’s most sophisticated aerial capability. They’re strictly for defense - giving Pentagon planners pause about attacking Russia.

Reportedly, development of an even more sophisticated S-1000 system is underway.

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: How the 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. 

France's Le Pen Gains in Polls

France’s Le Pen Gains in Polls

by Stephen Lendman

Polls show Le Pen ahead of her two main rivals in France’s presidential race less than two months before first round April 23 voting.

Her support rose to 27%, Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron each at 20%. Polls so far show her losing in May 7 run-off voting, but she’s closing the gap on her rivals.

Macron leads her by a 58 - 42% margin, his lead halved in less than two weeks. Can Le Pen pull even with him and Fillon, maybe achieve a stunning upset, becoming a long-shot winner like Trump in America? 

If elected in May, she vowed to hold a national Frexit vote and pull France out of NATO, saying it solely “serve(s) Washington’s objectives.”

A longtime Eurosceptic, she said “Frexit will be a part of my policy. The people must have the opportunity to vote for the liberation from slavery and blackmail imposed by technocrats in Brussels to return sovereignty to the country.”

She favors closed borders, returning to the franc as France’s currency, abandoning Eurozone control over the country’s monetary and fiscal policy.

“Other people have shown the way,” she said, referring to Trump’s triumph and last June’s UK Brexit vote.

Her manifesto reflects right-wing, nationalist, Eurosceptic policies the National Front (FN) advocated since her father, Jean-Marie, founded the party in 1972.

In 2011, Marine Le Pen assumed party leadership, her father expelled in 2015 over ideological differences. “Voluntarily or not, he gave ammunition to our adversaries,” she said. “Today (they) no longer have that ammunition.”

Obstacles to her chance for leadership go beyond winning a second round run-off. The FN holds only two parliamentary seats, likely making it impossible to fulfill campaign promises.

She’s limited in what she can accomplish by decree. She has little common ground with other parties. Dominant center-left and center-right ones oppose her agenda.

Rebranding the FN helped her, including promoting women’s rights, gay and lesbian rights, opposing anti-Semitism and Muslim immigration, saying “(w)e do not want to live under the rule or threat of Islamic fundamentalism.”

She accused Muslim immigrants of “looking to impose on us gender discrimination in public places, full body veils or not, prayer rooms in the workplace, prayers in the streets, huge mosques.”

She praised Trump, supports detente with Russia, rejects the notion of it invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea, at the same time calling sanctions “stupid.”

Like America, France never had a female president. If Le Pen defies long odds and wins, it’ll be a stunning upset few expect.

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: How the 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.

Mass Grave Discovered Near Mosul, Iraq

Mass Grave Discovered Near Mosul, Iraq

by Stephen Lendman

Pentagon aerial terror-bombing is ravaging Mosul, destroying its infrastructure, massacring its people - on the phony pretext of liberating the city from US-supported ISIS terrorists.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are threatened. A bloodbath already claimed many lives. Endless horrors continue - including atrocities committed by CIA-trained and supported ISIS fighters.

On February 25, London’s Telegraph headlined “Horror of Mosul where sinkhole became mass grave for 4,000 of Isil’s victims,” saying:

The location was discovered about “five miles outside Mosul…believed to be the biggest mass grave in Iraq…bodies of thousands of security personnel” dumped after US-supported ISIS terrorists took control of the city in 2014.

According to witnesses, victims were shot and dumped into a huge pit, “others perished in vehicles driven over the edge,” a witness identified only as Mahmoud saying:

Daesh would drive the victims to Khasfa in convoys of minibuses, trucks and pick ups. The men had their hands bound and their eyes blindfolded.”

“They were taken to the sinkhole and shot in the back of the head,” others shoved over the edge. A Daily Telegraph reporter visited the site after Iraqi forces recaptured the area.

The Khasfa body count exceeds the mass-murder of about 1,700 Iraqi air force cadets in a June 2014 ISIS attack on Camp Speicher military base near Tikrit.

The sinkhole is huge, about 400 meters deep. According to Mahmoud, “(i)n the beginning, you couldn’t see the corpses at the bottom of the hole. Only later, when it began to fill up, you could see the bodies.”

ISIS massacred around 2,000 Iraqi police and soldiers in one day alone, he explained.

The battle for Mosul continues, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians in harm’s way.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said US-led so-called coalition bombing,”conducted in conditions of absolute information blockade” created a “medieval massacre” of civilians.

Unlike humanitarian corridors Russia established for the evacuation of Aleppo civilians, America did nothing similar for Mosul residents.

The city is Iraq’s second largest with a population of around 1.3 million. Reportedly around 800,000 civilians remain trapped.

The western part of the city is cut off from food, water, fuel, electricity and medical aid. UNICEF said most residents are forced to drink untreated water from polluted sources.

A US-created disaster continues unfolding in plain sight - deplorably misreported by media scoundrels.

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: How the 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.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Iran Holds Large-Scale Naval Exercises

Iran Holds Large Scale Naval Exercises

by Stephen Lendman

Iran is threatened by Israel and America’s regional military presence. In areas around the  Persian Gulf, it has bases in every country except Iran - plus numerous others in North Africa and Central Asia.

Its actions destabilized much of the Middle East. It supports the region’s worst despots.

The late Chalmers Johnson said “the United States has been inexorably acquiring permanent military enclaves whose sole purpose appears to be the domination of one of the most strategically important areas of the world.”

Since Jimmy Carter falsely claimed Soviet Russian forces in Afghanistan posed “a grave threat to the free movement of Middle East oil,” America spent trillions of dollars entrenching its military presence in the region.

Carter said “an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America,” adding “(s)uch an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

As they say, the rest is history. Endless US direct and proxy wars raged since the 1980s, following its North Korean and Southeast Asian aggression, an unparalleled reign of terror.

The business of America is endless wars of aggression, enemies created to wage them, all sovereign independent countries vulnerable.

Iran’s military preparedness is vital to protect against possible US and/or Israeli attacks, the gravest threats to its security.

Velayat 95 exercises began on Sunday, the final stage of large-scale drills, north of the Indian Ocean, Iranian naval commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, saying:

“The aim of the Velayat 95 drill is to upgrade the country’s defensive capabilities and send Iran’s message of peace and friendship to the regional countries.”

Exercises are ongoing over an area of about two million square km, spanning the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, and the Babel-Mandeb Strait.

It includes warships, submarines, helicopters and special forces, along with reconnaissance aircraft, drones and hovercraft. Various weapons and technological systems are being tested.

Nothing ongoing violates international law or Tehran’s nuclear deal with P5 countries plus Germany.

America appears undisturbed about its exercises. Fifth Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Kevin Stephens said they’ve had no effect on maritime traffic.

They’re being monitored but pose no threat to US regional forces. The Pentagon is “not concerned about this exercise.”

Iran’s Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani said “(w)ith attention to the situation in the region, we have noticeably expanded the defense budget of the armed forces to ensure the stable security of the region.”

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: How the 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.

White House Cautioned About Designating Iran's IRGC a Terrorist Organization

White House Cautioned Against Designating Iran’s IRGC a Terrorist Organization

by Stephen Lendman

In early February, unnamed US officials told Reuters the Trump administration might designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) a terrorist organization.

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment. Iran categorically denies involvement in terrorism. No evidence suggests it, just baseless allegations.

Reports now indicate the proposed action stalled, US defense, state, and intelligence officials warning it could backfire, undermining Trump’s pledge to combat ISIS, along with complicating enforcement of the Iran nuclear deal.

US NATO allies are against it. The designation was supposed to be announced this month. It’s unclear if it’s suspended or cancelled altogether.

IRGC involvement is important in combating regional terrorism in Syria, Iraq and perhaps Yemen.

The administration’s proposal was part of a broader scheme to get tougher on Iran - instead of responsibly working to end 38 years of US-instigated adversarial relations.

If implemented, it would be the first move of this kind under the 1996 Foreign Terrorist Organizations law against a foreign government - meant for al-Qaeda and likeminded groups.

It would likely initiate tougher sanctions on Iran, possibly undermining the nuclear deal, sabotaging what took years to agree on.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif praised the IRGC’s efforts in combating terrorism, saying:

The entire world admits that the IRGC has rendered the utmost support to (Iran’s) neighboring countries in the face of terrorism” - warning of adverse consequences if Trump orders more sanctions on Iran.

Reports indicate he intended to designate the ICRG and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization on Monday - during a visit to CENTCOM’s Tampa headquarters.

It’s believed Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states urged him to target Iran’s IRGC. It’s now on hold.

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: How the 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.

Trump to Skip White House Correspondents Dinner


Trump to Skip White House Correspondents Dinner

by Stephen Lendman

Founded in 1914 during the Woodrow Wilson era, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) is a organization of reporters covering POTUS.

It holds annual dinners presidents usually attend. Until 1962, women were excluded. Jack Kennedy changed things, refusing to come unless the ban was dropped.

In 1942, the dinner was cancelled at the onset of America’s involvement in WW II, in 1951 during Truman’s war on North Korea. Other dinners were cancelled for various reasons. In 1981, Reagan couldn’t attend because he was recuperating from an assassination attempt. He phoned in a message instead. 

Media scoundrels notoriously serve wealth, power and privileged interests exclusively - their credibility long ago lost.

Instead of holding POTUS and most other government officials accountable for their actions, they support them - including endless imperial wars and other US policies, harming millions at home and abroad.

Schmoozing with US officials at any level, especially presidents, shows up in press agent journalism, not the real thing - Trump the exception proving the rule. 

Some fourth estate members refuse to attend the annual dinner for this reason. Most are unprincipled, producing fake news, not what the public needs to know.

This year’s event is scheduled for April 29. On Friday, Trump called reporters “the enemy of the people.” Yesterday he tweeted he won’t be attending. Given how unfairly media scoundrels treat him, why should he!

On Saturday, a WHCA statement said it “takes note of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.”

Fact: Media scoundrels abuse First Amendment rights by sanitizing news and information, suppressing what’s most important to report.

Fact: Reliable alternative media are the only independent kind - real journalism the way it’s supposed to be.

Fact: Corporate-controlled print and electronic media are beholden to special interests, not ordinary people.

Bloomberg News, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair said they won’t host after-event parties this year, commonplace following WHCA dinners.

Leading Trump basher New York Times responded to his opting out of this year’s event, saying “(c)apping a week of extraordinary hostility toward the news media,” he tweeted he won’t be coming.

The Times failed to explain that deplorable media reporting, especially its own, is why Trump is staying away.

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: How the 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.

Democrats Choose Dirty Business As Usual Party Chairman


Democrats Choose Dirty Business As Usual Party Chairman

by Stephen Lendman

Email revelations showing Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz used her position as party chairman to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign in favor of Hillary’s got her ousted.

Rep. Keith Ellison and Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez were the leading candidates to replace her - neither representing responsible change.

Ellison is the first Muslim congressional member. He’s more regressive than progressive, a hawk like most other party members.

He backed Obama’s aggression on Libya and Syria, disgracefully called Gaddafi a dictator, lied saying “Assad is the heart of the problem” in his country.

He favors Washington declaring an illegal no-fly zone over areas in Syria held by US-supported terrorists.  

He endorses America’s right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries to further its imperial interests, saying “I don’t think the world’s greatest superpower, the United States, can stand by and do nothing.”

He’s part of the dirty system like most others in Congress, why he was a leading candidate for Democrat party chairman.

Perez was Obama’s labor secretary, earlier serving as a prosecutor in the GHW Bush and Clinton Justice Departments.

In 2009, he was Obama’s assistant attorney general for civil rights. Earlier, he taught law at the University of Maryland.

His nomination as labor secretary was criticized over a racial discrimination issue. He was involved in getting St. Paul, MN to drop a Supreme Court appeal. 

Fair lending advocates said it harmed a central enforcement tenet in housing discrimination cases.

The Justice Department declined to join two whistleblower lawsuits filed against St. Paul - in exchange for dropping the appeal.

Department officials claimed Perez’s involvement was appropriate. Senator Charles Grassley (R. IA) criticized his appointment, saying:

“If Mr. Perez is nominated, he should face a lot of tough questions about this quid pro quo deal he appears to have put together.”

“I shudder to think how whistleblowers will be treated in the Labor Department if this quid pro quo with St. Paul is any indication of Mr. Perez’s approach to this important area of law.”

On Saturday, he won in a second round of voting. Both candidates represent dirty business as usual. Neither will move the party in a new direction.

Ellison supported Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Both are progressives in name only. Perez backed Hillary. Obama loyalists supported him.

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: How the 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.

Saturday Homs, Syria Terrorist Attack

Saturday Homs, Syria Terrorist Attack

by Stephen Lendman

On Saturday, multiple suicide bombings killed dozens, injured many others in Homs, Syria during peace talks in Geneva with anti-government terrorist groups. Al-Nusra claimed responsibility, along with ISIS excluded from talks.

Head of Syria’s delegation in Geneva Bashar al-Jaafari said any Geneva participant failing to condemn Saturday’s attacks will be considered “accomplice(s) of terrorism, and we will deal with them accordingly.”

“(W)hat happened (was) a terrorist message…cast(ing) a shadow over Geneva…(not) just a military terrorist act, but also a political” one.”

“(T)his is the main reason that drives us to having the (issue) of fighting terrorism as a priority in our agenda for the Geneva talks.”

ISIS, Al-Nusra and their foreign sponsors want peace talks derailed, he stressed. The Homs bombings and similar incidents are “message(s) to Geneva from the patrons of terrorism.”

“We say to everybody ‘the message has been delivered,’ and that this crime will not go unnoticed.”

Geneva talks are in recess until Tuesday. It’s unclear if anything was accomplished since beginning on February 23. It’s doubtful any significant breakthroughs will be achieved.

So-called Saudi cobbled together High Negotiations Committee (HNC) members are terrorists, wanting Assad toppled, expressing hostility toward Iran.

Its delegation head Naser al-Hariri lied, claiming HNC delegates “condemn terrorism,” ignoring their support for imported death squads still actively committing gruesome atrocities.

Trump’s position on Syria is unclear. The State Department isn’t involved in Geneva talks, nor preceding ones in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Washington co-sponsored a Security Council Resolution on Syria, yet to be introduced, Russia promising a veto, falsely accusing Damascus of using chemical weapons, wanting tough new sanctions imposed.

Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley asked “(h)ow much longer is Russia going to continue to babysit and make excuses for the Syrian regime? People died because of this and the United States isn’t going to be quiet about it.”

Trump is letting hawks like Haley and other administration officials speak for him on foreign policy. 

It’s time for him to address it directly - on Syria, Ukraine, China, Iran, cooperation with Russia in combating terrorism or lack of it, along with other major geopolitical issues.

On February 28, he’ll deliver his first State of the Union address before a joint congressional session, attended by cabinet and diplomatic corp members, Supreme Court justices, the Joint Chiefs and invited guests.

Last August on the stump, he discussed foreign policy, vowing to “defeat radical Islamic terrorism” - without explaining its US creation and support at least since the 1980s in Afghanistan against Soviet Russia.

Will he use Tuesday’s SOTU address to explain where he stands as president on all key geopolitical issues?

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: How the 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.

Venezuelan VP Refutes Spurious US Charges Against Him

Venezuelan VP Refutes Spurious US Charges Against Him

by Stephen Lendman

A previous article discussed outrageous US sanctions imposed on Venezuelan Executive Vice President Tareck El Aissami over fabricated drugs trafficking allegations.

Assets, if any, held in America were frozen under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. 

A Treasury Department statement lied, saying Aissami allegedly “facilitated shipments of narcotics from Venezuela, to include control over planes that leave from a Venezuelan air base, as well as control of drug routes through the ports in Venezuela.”

Pure rubbish! A malicious Big Lie, part of Washington’s continued war on Venezuelan sovereign independence.

Aissami denounced US accusations against him, calling Washington’s action “miserable and vile aggression,” followed by an open letter to America’s Treasury Department in The New York Times, costing $100,000 or more.

He denounced US Treasury sanctions as part of a longstanding effort “to prevent that the United States and Venezuela (from) restor(ing) their political and diplomatic relations on the basis of mutual recognition and respect.”

It’s part of a scheme to replace Bolivarian fairness with predatory capitalist viciousness - to control its oil riches and exploit its people.

No evidence links Aissami to drugs trafficking. Just the opposite. Venezuela wages war on illicit drugs.

“You should be aware that when I headed the public security corps of my country, in 2008-2012, our fight against drug cartels achieved the greatest progress in our history and in the western hemisphere, both in terms of the transnational drug trafficking business and their logistics structures,” Aissami explained. 

“During those years, the Venezuelan anti-drug enforcement authorities under my leadership captured, arrested and brought 102 heads of criminal drug trafficking organizations not only to the Venezuelan justice but also to the justice of other countries where they were wanted.” 

“From these 102 captured drug lords, 21 were promptly deported to the USA and 36 to Colombia, in accordance with the requests made by the authorities of each country and in compliance with the international agreements on the fight against organized crime, facts formally acknowledged by the US and Colombian
authorities.”

Venezuela combats illicit drugs effectively. America has a long sordid history of working with drug cartels, notably through the CIA.

US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) operations in Venezuela were “connect(ed) with the criminal drug organizations,” Aissami explained, calling trafficking in illicit drugs a “cross-border crime against humanity.”

He called fabricated Treasury Department accusations against him “a serious violation of (his) human rights and seriously damages (his) dignity and honor.” They were illegally imposed by the world’s leading pariah state bully.

He has no assets in America or any other country outside Venezuela for US authorities to freeze.

America’s so-called war on drugs made international trafficking cartels stronger than ever. 

Aissami proudly calls himself “Venezuelan citizen…a Bolivarian…and a Latin American,” supporting “independence, justice and freedom for which our liberators gave their lives…”

America is the world’s leading scourge, waging endless wars on humanity, seeking control over planet earth, its resources and people.

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: How the 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.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Suspicious Killing of North Korean Leader's Half Brother

Suspicious Killing of North Korean Leader’s Half Brother

by Stephen Lendman

Kim Jong-nam was North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s paternal half brother.

On February 13, he was killed in Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur’s airport, the bizarre incident captured on security camera videotape for the whole world to see - an obvious red flag.

Malaysian authorities said he died from VX poisoning, a banned lethal nerve agent. At one time, he was considered heir apparent to his father, Kim Jong-il, later exiled in 2003 after falling out of favor with ruling authorities.

South Korea’s ruling party spokesperson called his killing a “naked example of Kim Jong-un’s reign of terror.” 

Media scoundrels blamed Pyongyang for his death. He’d been out of the country for around 14 years, posed no apparent threat to his half-brother or the government.

No information suggested he planned returning to challenge Kim Jong-un’s leadership. So why was he killed? 

Why an eruption of media reports about an obscure figure, away from the center of power in Pyongyang for years? Why now? Why publicly to be seen worldwide on videotape?

Who had motive and opportunity to kill him? If North Korean authorities wanted him eliminated, why did they wait so long? Why a public execution, making it easy for its detractors to automatically lay blame where it likely doesn’t belong.

Here’s what we know. North Korean senior representatives were preparing to come to New York to meet with former US officials, a chance for both sides to discuss differences diplomatically, hopefully leading to direct talks with Trump officials.

The State Department hadn’t yet approved visas, a positive development if arranged.

Reports indicate North Korea very much wanted the meeting to take place. Makes sense. It would indicate a modest thaw in hostile relations, a good thing if anything came of it.

So why would Pyongyang want to kill Kim Jong-nam at this potentially sensitive time, knowing it would be blamed for the incident, talks likely cancelled?

Sure enough, they’re off, Pyongyang accused of killing Kim, even though it seems implausible they planned and carried out the incident, using agents in Malaysia to act as proxies.

Reports indicate North Korea planned sending its Foreign Ministry director of US affairs Choe Son Hui to lead a delegation. On the US side, former Carter official/National Committee on American Foreign Policy senior vice president Donald Zagoria and former Clinton 1994 chief denunclearization deal negotiator Robert Gallucci were involved.

Pyongyang denied involvement in Kim Jong-nam’s death. It makes sense. Why sabotage talks it wanted held?

The Trump administration cancelled them anyway - an opportunity lost, likely undermined far from Pyongyang, maybe in Seoul with CIA help.

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: How the 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.