Thursday, March 23, 2017

GOP Hardliners Want Third-World Healthcare for America's Most Vulnerable

GOP Hardliners Want Third-World Healthcare for America’s Most Vulnerable

by Stephen Lendman

House GOP leaders scheduled a March 23 Trumpcare vote. Democrats unanimously reject it. 

So do enough Republican hardliners to defeat it unless 11th hour arm-twisting turns things around. Or perhaps this evening’s vote will be postponed.

Trumpcare as introduced is abominable, more nightmarish than Obamacare. GOP hardliners want it toughened, ACA’s mandates removed, as many as they can get through bargaining, vital services everyone needs.

They include emergency room visits, hospitalizations, mental health, maternity and preventive care benefits, prescription drug coverage, children up to age 26 remaining on their parents’ plans, and insurers required to accept all applicants able to pay, regardless of age, gender or preexisting conditions.

A Quinnipiac University national poll released Thursday showed respondents reject Trumpcare by a 56 - 17% margin, 26% undecided, 46% saying they’ll vote against a senator or representative supporting the measure.

One of every seven Americans (14%) believe they’ll lose coverage if Trumpcare becomes law.

On March 21, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) co-founders Drs. David Himmilstein and Steffie Woolhandler criticized Obamacare for “offer(ing) little help to 90% of the population, perpetuat(ing) a dysfunctional health care financing system, le(aving) 26 million uninsured…covered families (burdened) with unaffordable deductibles and narrow provider networks (to enrich) drug firms, medical conglomerates, and insurers.”

Trumpcare is worse, wanting “key pillars of the ACA” repealed. Without responsible measures replacing them, the health and welfare of millions are at stake, thousands of lives at risk of being lost.

Replacing ACA with universal single-payer coverage - everyone in, no one left out, everybody covered the same way - will save hundreds of billions of dollars annually in wasted insurer middlemen costs and drug industry banditry price gouging.

Money saved could provide quality care for everyone, including catastrophic coverage, expensive surgeries, organ transplants, dental, mental health and therapeutic treatment, and virtually everything else needed to preserve health or restore it when ill, diseased of injured.

The American Journal of Public Health estimates repealing ACA without responsibly replacing it will cost over 37,000 lives over the next two years alone - at minimum, likely much greater numbers in further out-years.

The only responsible solution is universal single-payer coverage. Nothing else can responsibly work. 

For America’s most vulnerable, it’s a matter of life or death.

Healthcare is a fundamental human right. It’s high time it was treated this way.

Note: As of 1:30PM EDT, after a meeting with Trump, House GOP Freedom Caucus members failed to agree on a deal. Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R. NC) said “(w)e’re trying to get to yes.” Not easily accomplished.

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.

US Intends Illegal Safe Zones in Imperial War Theaters

US Intends Illegal Safe Zones in Imperial War Theaters

by Stephen Lendman

Addressing members of America’s imperial war coalition in Washington Wednesday, Rex Tillerson said Washington intends establishing “interim zones of stability” in Syria and Iraq - without further elaboration.

US-installed Iraqi puppet leader Haider al-Abadi was pressured to let US forces operate in Iraqi territory.

He’s silent on relentless Pentagon terror-bombing, massacring Mosul civilians, ones escaping saying they fear US warplanes as much as ISIS.

Pentagon special forces and marines in Syria are “invaders,” operating illegally, Bashar al-Assad explained. They’re aiding anti-government terrorists pursue US regime change plans.

No-fly or safe zones in foreign countries are illegal without Security Council authorization - not forthcoming with near certain Russian and likely Chinese veto power. US pressure will likely get Abadi to go along. If not, expect a new puppet leader installed to replace him.

Assad rejects them, earlier saying they won’t protect civilians. Domestic safety is only possible when peace, stability and security are restored. Safe zones imposed by foreign powers are illegal and unrealistic.

Why were Syrians displaced in the first place, he asked? For two reasons, he explained:

— “terrorist acts and support from the outside,” as well as

— “the (US) embargo on Syria,” creating enormous hardships for ordinary people through much of the country.

Syrians will again be safe when terrorism is defeated, the embargo lifted, and illegal sanctions rescinded.

Longstanding US/Israeli plans call for redrawing the Middle East map, including partitioning Iraq and Syria - governments in both countries, Iran and Lebanon replaced by pro-Western puppet regimes.

Turkey wants northern Syria and Iraq annexed. Establishing safe zones in either or both countries would require thousands of troops for enforcement.

Last November, Trump endorsed the idea, deplorably saying “(b)uild a big, beautiful safe zone, and you have whatever it is so people can live, and they’ll be happier.”

Hillary Clinton earlier urged establishing a no-fly zone, the same scheme she used to launch US-led NATO aggression on Libya.

Russia rejects what Assad and his government oppose. CENTCOM commander General Joseph Votel supports safe zones in “areas that have already been secured,” he said.

Nothing is secure in war theaters. Baghdad is repeatedly targeted by car-bombings and other terrorist attacks, taking a horrendous human toll.

Endless US imperial wars rage in Syria, Iraq, the horrendous human toll harming civilians most.

All US wars are based on Big Lies, waged for imperial conquest and dominance, unrelated to humanitarian intervention, liberating oppressed people or democracy building.

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.

London Attack: Terrorism, Other Type Street Violence of False Flag?

London Attack: Terrorism, Other Type Street Violence or False Flag?

by Stephen Lendman

Each time violent incidents occur in Europe or America, they’re automatically called terrorism - despite no credible evidence proving it.

Wednesday’s incident in London left five dead, numerous others injured. Police lethally shot the alleged attacker. Dead men tell no tales.

Weeks earlier, Britain’s senior counterintelligence officer Mark Rowley said UK security services run more than 500 simultaneous terror-related investigations, resulting in numerous arrests, solely on the basis of suspicions, not credible evidence of wrongdoing or intent.

For years, state-owned BBC and other UK media hyped the threat of Islamic terrorism, similar to what goes on in America irresponsibly - presstitution substituting for responsible journalism. 

Rowley claimed authorities foiled over a dozen potential terrorist attacks in recent years through so-called public tips - failing to explain how criminality can be detected if no crime occurred.

Post-9/11, numerous headline-making, high-profile violent incidents in America, Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Norway were automatically called terrorist attacks. 

All were state-sponsored false flags perpetrated to hype fear. Hysteria replaced reason. Innocent patsies were falsely blamed - part of a diabolical plot to advance interests harming millions domestically and abroad.

Crackdowns on freedom replaced rule of law protections. Imperial wars were launched, ongoing in multiple theaters, Muslims demonized as a convenient enemy of choice.

Hyped fear continues gripping Europe and America, heightened by Wednesday’s London attack, 200 meters from Parliament Square.

A virtual state of emergency exists in central London, plans to extend it city-wide, perhaps to be followed in other European cities beyond repressive measures already in place.

UK media said London police are treating Wednesday’s incident as terrorism. Westminster is on lockdown. Its underground station was closed, nearby streets cordoned off to traffic. Security forces are deployed in force.

At one point on Wednesday, police armed with guns and protective shields marched into parliament, an extraordinary surreal action.

London’s Guardian said the alleged attacker was known to counterterrorism officials, “his connections and associates” being investigated.

Without corroborating evidence, Mark Rowley called the attacker’s motivation “Islamist related,” inspired by ISIS, though most likely he was a “lone actor.”

Prime Minister Theresa May called the incident “sick and depraved,” adding Britain’s threat level remains severe.

“The location of this attack was no accident,” she blustered. “The terrorists chose to strike at the heart of our capital city where all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech.”

Her hyperbole sounded pre-scripted. Unknown so far is whether Wednesday’s incident was terrorism as claimed, street violence unrelated to terrorism, or a state-sponsored false flag.

The incident’s high-profile nature, capturing world headlines, creates obvious suspicions about whether what occurred may have been other than what’s reported - especially given numerous false flags in Western cities in recent years.

Perhaps Wednesday’s London attack was the latest. The alleged perpetrator isn’t alive 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: 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.

Tillerson Promises Endless Imperial Wars

Tillerson Promises Endless Imperial Wars

by Stephen Lendman

No US enemies existed anywhere since Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and imperial Japan were defeated in WW II.

Yet imperial wars rage endlessly, enemies invented to justify them. Fear-mongering enlists public support. Vital homeland needs go begging to feed America’s war machine - benefitting profiteers at the expense of social justice.

Earlier on Press TV, I explained America wages endless wars on countries threatening no one, raping and destroying them, exploiting their people, stealing their resources, along with enacting police state laws at home, supporting corporate interests exclusively, public welfare be damned.

America is the greatest threat to world peace, stability and security. It’s a sham democracy, waging war on humanity at home and abroad. The danger of nuclear confrontation is real, risking mass annihilation.

Hosting a US-cobbled together so-called 68-nation coalition, established to create the illusion of combating ISIS, Secretary of State Tillerson addressed visiting foreign officials at the State Department - dissembling throughout his remarks, saying:

“Together, we share a resolve to deal ISIS or Daesh a lasting defeat.”

Fact: America created and supports ISIS. So do NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other regional rogue states.

Tillerson: “(T)he policy of the United States to demolish and destroy this barbaric terrorist organization. That is what we are going to do.”

Fact: ISIS remains strong because of weapons, munitions, funds, training and direction supplied by America and its rogue allies.

Tillerson: “The great commonality among we who have gathered today is a commitment to bringing down a global force of evil…”

Fact: ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra and likeminded terrorist groups are symptomatic of pure evil in Washington, other NATO capitals and Middle East ones allied with their rogue agenda.

Tillerson: “(T)he flow of foreign terrorist fighters into Syria and Iraq is down 90% over the past year.”

Fact: Endless fighting rages in both countries. Russia is the only major power combating the scourge America and its rogue allies support.

Fact: In recent days, US forces airlifted ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to safety from Mosul, his whereabouts unknown.

Tillerson: “In Iraq and Syria, our partners on the ground have liberated 50,000 square kilometers of territory from ISIS, freeing nearly two-and-a-half million people in cities, villages, and towns. Most importantly, the liberation of all of this territory has held. ISIS has recovered none of it.”

Fact: Since 2014 in Iraq and Syria, US terror-bombing, aiding anti-government terrorist fighters, “liberated” thousands of defenseless civilians of their lives, ravaging and destroying areas, not freeing them from the scourge Washington supports.

Fact: In Syria, government and allied ground forces, greatly aided by Russian airpower, liberated Aleppo along with over 500 towns and villages.

Fact: America and its rogue allies are part of the problem, not the solution. Tillerson lied claiming otherwise. 

Fact: With him for Wednesday’s deceptive US-orchestrated dog-and-pony show was Obama administration’s-installed Iraqi puppet leader Haider al-Abadi, serving American imperial interests, not his own people.

Fact: The so-called global coalition to defeat ISIS is a made-in-America fabrication. The way to eliminate the scourge of terrorism is by ending US-led support.

Tillerson pledged endless US involvement in Iraq and Syria - code language for continued support for endless war and terrorism.

Tillerson: “The military power of the coalition will remain where this fraudulent caliphate has existed in order to set the conditions for a full recovery from the tyranny of ISIS.”

Fact: Tillerson promised US-led combat troops will continue occupying Iraq to maintain control over its imperial trophy.

Fact: They’ll remain in northern Syria illegally as “invaders,” what Assad calls them, wanting America’s presence eliminated from the country. 

It’s unclear how Russia intends dealing with this situation. Conflict resolution is impossible with US forces on the ground - deployed to support anti-government terrorists, not combat them.

On Wednesday, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “(w)hile other countries are only discussing the fight against the Islamic State, Russia has been fighting IS 24 hours a day, every day.”

'It is not possible to achieve success in the war against IS (and other terrorist groups) without broad international cooperation” - especially with Russia and America having polar opposite objectives.

Moscow supports Syrian sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of its people alone to decide who’ll lead them.

Washington wants regime change, puppet governance installed, achieving another imperial trophy.

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 and Transition Team Spied On

Trump and Transition Team Spied On

by Stephen Lendman

On Wednesday, House Select Committee on Intelligence chair Devin Nunez (R. CA) issued a statement, saying “on numerous occasions, the Intelligence Community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition.” 

“Details about US persons associated with the incoming administration - details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value - were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.” 

“I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked” - their identities revealed, likely for political reasons.  

“To be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or any investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.”

“The House Intelligence Committee will thoroughly investigate this surveillance and its subsequent dissemination to determine:

  • Who was aware of it

  • Why it was not disclosed to Congress

  • Who requested and authorized the additional unmasking

  • Whether anyone directed the intelligence community to focus on Trump associates; and

  • Whether any laws, regulations, or procedures were violated.”

“I’ve asked the Directors of the FBI, NSA, and CIA to expeditiously comply with my March 15 letter, and to provide a full account of these surveillance activities.”

While no physical evidence of wiretapping Trump Tower is known, Nunez expressed concern about surveillance activities on Trump and his associates, including Michael Flynn, information about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to Washington leaked.

Nunez: “The NSA is…cooperati(ng)” in providing what it knows about Trump team surveillance, “so far (not) the FBI…”

Asked if he could rule out Obama administration involvement, Nunez said: “No, I cannot.”

The former president is conveniently out of the country in Tahiti from mid-March to mid-April, not readily available for comment.

Team Trump’s conversations were recorded, information from them leaked, Nunez explained.

Trump said he feels “somewhat” vindicated by information the congressman supplied.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said if further information is learned on this, it’ll be shared with reporters, adding:

“(A)ll of the questions (asked by the media) are in the presumptive negative towards us, as opposed to ‘why was this taking place.’ “

“ ‘Why were people surveilled ostensibly.’ They were involved in the campaign…Why would someone’s name get put out there…There’s a lot of questions” needing answers.

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.

John Podesta Linked to State-Run Russian Company

John Podesta Linked to State-Run Russian Company

by Stephen Lendman

It should be a non-issue. Doing business in Russia and most other countries is legal, nothing out-of-the-ordinary about it unless laws are broken.

It matters for Podesta because Trump is irresponsibly bashed for alleged ties to Russian investors, banks and officials - besides fabricated claims of Moscow US election hacking, helping him defeat Hillary. Reportedly he explored Moscow real estate development deals never successfully concluded.

He had dealings with numerous individuals in Russia since the late 1980s. It’s common business practice engaged in by most large, medium, and smaller-sized firms - nothing unusual or illegal about it, nothing justifying bashing him for it.

On Tuesday, an “exclusive” Daily Caller report headlined “Podesta Was Board Member of Firms Linked to Russian Investors,” saying:

Texas House Republican Louie Gohmert wants Congress investigating Podesta for his “role with Rusnano, a state-run company founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

If Democrats can target Trump, unjustifiably claiming improper ties to Russia, despite no credible proof, Republicans can play the same game.

Gohmert apparently wants Podesta to squirm the way Democrats are going at Trump. 

According to the Daily Caller, Podesta “first made contact with the Russian firm (Rusnano) in 2011, when he joined the boards and executive committees of three related entities: Boston-based Joule Unlimited; Rotterdam-based Joule Global Holdings; Joule Global Stichting, the company’s controlling interest. All are high-tech renewable energy enterprises.”

When he joined Obama’s White House staff in 2014 as a senior counselor, he failed to reveal his Russian business connections on his financial disclosure form.

WikiLeaks revealed he owns 75,000 Joule common stock shares. Gohmert wants his Russian connection investigated “to see if there…is something nefarious going on…”

He’s vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security.

The Daily Caller said a Neas Ltd v. Rusnano federal lawsuit “before the US District Court for Northern California suggests Podesta and others at Joule may have unwittingly assisted Rusnano in a scheme hatched to move billions of weak rubles into valuable US dollars by parking them as ‘investments’ in high-tech companies in Boston and in Silicon Valley.”

Podesta’s emails show he “help(ed) Rusnano (after he) left Joule’s board. Neither he, Joule or Rusnano so far have commented.

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.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

US Terror-Bombing Massacres Civilians

US Terror-Bombing Massacres Civilians

by Stephen Lendman

US terror-bombing in the battle for Mosul has nothing to do with liberating the city, everything to with destroying it.

A similar strategy is employed in Syria, smashing vital infrastructure on the phony pretext of combating ISIS.

America created and/or supports terrorist groups in both countries and elsewhere - waging war OF terror, not on it. 

Civilians in harm’s way are being indiscriminately massacred, residential neighborhoods turned to rubble, terror-bombing burying entire families beneath the wreckage of their homes - media scoundrels ignoring high crimes demanding accountability.

Last week’s mosque bombing in western Aleppo province slaughtered over four dozen worshipers, injured many more. Pentagon authorities lied, claiming an al-Qaeda structure was targeted, not a mosque. Its rubble and death toll proved otherwise.

Overnight Tuesday, US terror-bombing massacred over 30 Syrian civilians about 20 miles west of Raqqa, many others injured, according to residents and eye-witnesses.

Bodies are still being pulled from rubble. A school was struck hosting around 50 displaced families. Two days earlier, US terror-bombing slaughtered 30 civilians in Matab al-Borashid village near Raqqa, including eight children and six women.

In Iraq and Syria, defenseless civilians are being massacred on the phony pretext of combating ISIS - US war crimes unreported in the West.

Wherever America shows up, mass slaughter and destruction follow. Endless US imperial wars rage in Syria, Iraq and other theaters - horrors inflicted on millions ignored by media scoundrels.

Trump wants tens of billions more dollars budgeted for militarism and warmaking. America gives new meaning to the term rogue state.

Since Pentagon warplanes began terror-bombing Syria and Iraq in 2014, thousands of civilians were slaughtered or injured, numerous others displaced, vital infrastructure in both countries destroyed.

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.

Master Spider David Rockefeller Passes

Master Spider David Rockefeller Passes

by Stephen Lendman

On March 20, billionaire predatory banker David Rockefeller died in his sleep at age 101.

Financial commentator Hans Schicht earlier said “(w)hat has been good for (David) Rockefeller  has been a curse for the United States. Its citizens, government and country are indebted to the hilt, enslaved to his banks.”

“The country’s industrial force was lost to overseas.” Banker interests are served at the expense of enormous harm to most people.

In 1994, Rockefeller said “(w)e are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and nations will accept the new world order.”

He failed to explain his agenda served US-led Western interests exclusively - including endless imperial wars, color revolutions, assassinating foreign leaders, putting corporate interests over the general welfare, and police state crackdowns on nonbelievers.

In his Memoirs, Rockefeller explained his deplorable agenda as follows:

“For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents, such as my encounter with (Fidel) Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions.” 

“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as internationalists and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

From 1969 - 1981, he was Chase Manhattan Bank’s chairman, a banking giant of its day, far more formidable now as America’s second largest predatory banking colossus - expanded through mergers and acquisitions.

Privately, he influenced every US president since Dwight Eisenhower and other top government officials. He declined positions as Fed chairman and Treasury secretary, preferring a private sector role.

In 1973, he founded the Trilateral Commission, Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski its charter members, the group created because of the threat of too much democracy, wanting it undermined.

He was a founding Bilderberg Group member, comprised of the world’s most powerful figures, its mission to supplant nation-state sovereignty with corporate-controlled global governance, based on ruler-serf dominance, privilege served exclusively at the expense of exploiting all others everywhere.

In 1949, he became a Council on Foreign Relations member, in 1970 its chairman, later its honorary chairman. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. once called CFR a “front organization (for) the heart of the American Establishment.”

Rockefeller had close CIA ties. He supported ruthless despots in Iran, Iraq (before  Saddam fell out of favor), Chile and elsewhere. He backed Israeli apartheid viciousness.

His philanthropy was self-serving. He deplored peace, equity, justice and democratic governance.

His dark side reflects a legacy of predation, profiting from human misery.

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.

America and Israel Threaten World Peace

America and Israel Threaten World Peace

by Stephen Lendman

Multiple global flashpoints should terrify everyone. They’re hugely dangerous along Russia’s border with Eastern European countries, in the South China Sea, in Ukraine, in Syria, Iraq, and other US war theaters, and possible Israeli war on Lebanon and/or Gaza.

America and Israel perpetuate endless wars, related violence, chaos and repression. Peace and stability defeat their rogue agendas.

Days earlier, Israel activated around 2,000 reserve soldiers. Along with regular IDF troops, they’ve been involved in military exercises since Sunday, simulating war on Gaza.

Is another one planned? IDF chief of staff General Gadi Eisenkot said the drill was called to “assess the preparedness” for war.

If launched, “we will know how to surprise in every way to prevent enemy achievements” and accomplish objectives as quickly as possible, he said.

Israel prepared contingency plans to evacuate around 250,000 civilians from communities bordering Lebanon and Gaza.

The IDF repeatedly targets the Strip by terror-bombing and cross-border incursions, other pre-dawn incidents on Wednesday.

Drones and ground forces targeted Rafah in southern Gaza, killing one Palestinian youth, injuring two others - on the phony pretext of preventing the planting of an explosive device near Israel’s border.

Israeli forces indiscriminately fired on Palestinian farmers in their fields, threatening no one. No injuries were reported.

Since January, multiple airstrikes and cross-border shelling killed four Palestinians, injuring over a dozen others.

Last month, the Mezan Center for Human Rights warned about possible large-scale Israeli aggression on Gaza for the fourth time since December 2008.

It called on the international community to “act promptly against Israel’s military escalation, to fulfill their obligations to protect civilians, and ensure respect for the rules of international law.” 

It stressed “acting before a full-scale military bombardment is launched,” saying it’s “crucial to ensur(e) the protection of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

They’re defenseless and vulnerable to mass casualties again if Israel launches aggression.

Hamas seeks no military confrontation with Israel, its senior official Khalil al-Hayya stressed, adding “we are a bereaved and oppressed people who resist occupation” - their right under international law.

During the latest UN Commission on Human Rights and Human Rights Council session in Geneva, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine Michael Lync called Israel’s occupation “the most malignant” anywhere in the world.

Oppressing millions of people violates core international law principles, he stressed. Intensified crackdowns on human rights activists are intolerable. Gaza’s blockade is flagrantly illegal.

US and Israeli diplomats boycotted the session. Both countries want high crimes committed against Palestinians suppressed.

Rogue states operate this way. America conspires with Israel to permit lawless apartheid viciousness to persist unaccountably.

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.

Netanyahu Vows Continued War on Syria

Netanyahu Vows Continued War on Syria

by Stephen Lendman

War in Syria isn’t civil as falsely reported. It’s US launched aggression, aided by NATO, Israel and other rogue regional allies.

Its aim is regime change. Washington wants another imperial trophy. It wants Iran’s government toppled.

It wants regional control along with Israel, weakening or eliminating Russian and Chinese influence in the Middle East.

Imperialism is dirty business, human lives and welfare of no consequence. Millions of casualties attest to US viciousness. Trump seems bent in escalating things on the phony pretext of combating terrorism America supports.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu denied reports about Russia demanding Israel halt airstrikes in Syria, vowing they’ll continue.

Their aim is more about weakening the country than targeting weapons convoys allegedly intended for Hezbollah. 

Pretexts are easy to invent to justify lawlessness. Attacking the territory of another country for any reason other than Security Council authorized self-defense constitutes the highest high crime against peace, a flagrant international law violation.

Netanyahu said he told Putin during his March 9 Moscow visit that Israel’s “policy is consistent. “We will not allow Israel to be attacked from Syrian territory, and we will not tolerate the transfer of advanced weaponry of those entering Syria - Hezbollah - to the extent that we detect it.”

Translation: Israel is allied with Washington’s regime change objective, Syrian territory attacked to advance this aim.

The issue isn’t about “Israel’s national security,” as Netanyahu claims. It reflects its regional hegemonic ambitions - war, instability and aiding terrorist fighters its strategy of choice.

Early Wednesday, Israeli warplanes again terror-bombed Syrian targets. Reports indicated Syrian army posts in Mount Qasioum near Damascus were struck - the fourth such incident in the past week.

Israel apparently wants conflict escalated. It’s goading Syria to respond more forcefully, wanting a convenient pretext to escalate attacks more than already, maybe intending full-scale war, what Damascus and Russia want avoided.

On Monday, Assad told Russian and EU members visiting Damascus he intends trying to resolve years of conflict by combating terrorism and diplomacy.

He urged European parliamentarians to pressure their governments to stop supporting terrorist groups.

Syrian People’s Assembly Speaker Hadiyeh Abbas said “we rely on the European parliamentarians and representatives of the peoples of Europe to correct the wrong European policies towards Syria and enhance cooperation and coordination to combat terrorism since it is the only way to protect the Europeans.”

Escalated Israeli aggression along with increasing numbers of US forces in northern Syria show both countries want endless war continued, not resolution through peace talks.

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.

Washington's Little Known Spy Agency

Washington’s Little Known Spy Agency

by Stephen Lendman

US spying is institutionalized - on anyone, anywhere for any reason or none at all.

Invented national security threats, targeting dissent and whistleblowers, along with challenging press freedom undermine fundamental rights.

In Palko v. Connecticut (1937), the Supreme Court called "(f)reedom of thought the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”

In Texas v. Johnson (1989), Justice William Brennan, writing for the majority, said “if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.”

“Thomas Jefferson said “(w)hat country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance.” Free speech and other fundamental rights “cannot be limited without being lost.” 

Former US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall stressed “(a)bove all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression (regardless of its) ideas...subject matter (or) content....Our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship” - along with having all other constitutional protections.

Unaccountable spying on Americans reflects police state rule, operating lawlessly, watching everyone to assure unchallenged control, wanting unacceptable ideas suppressed.

On March 20, intelligence expert James Bamford discussed a “multibillion-dollar US spy agency you haven’t heard of,” saying:

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is located on a “heavily protected military base some 15 miles south of Washington.”

Few Americans know about its “massive headquarters,” larger than the CIA’s or US Capitol.

Completed in 2011 at a cost of $1.4 billion, the main building measures four football fields long and covers as much ground as two aircraft carriers,” Bamford explained. 

“In 2016, the agency purchased 99 acres in St. Louis to construct additional buildings at a cost of $1.75 billion to accommodate the growing workforce, with 3,000 employees already in the city.”

Early in his administration, Obama didn’t know NGA existed. Bamford calls it “by far the most shadowy” of US spy agencies - subverting constitutional protections to keep America safe for privileged interests at the expense of all others.

NGA allegedly confined its spying overseas. According to Bamford, “there’s reason to believe” Trump will expand its mandate to spy as freely domestically as abroad - including secretive overhead surveillance by satellites and drones.

Concern is growing that technology focused on spying abroad “may soon be (used) on (US) citizens,” said Bamford.

As of 2015, no federal statutory limitations existed to control aerial spying domestically. In 2016, Baltimore police began using drones to conduct secretive spy-in-the-sky surveillance of area residents.

Technology can track everything stationary or moving over an area up to 15-square miles at a time. According to Bamford, two high-tech drones hovering over Manhattan can “observe and follow all outdoor human activity, night and day,” round-the-clock, every day.

Objects “as small as a stick of butter on a plate” can be zoomed in and watched. Technology being developed will “enable drones to remain aloft for years at a time.”

Big Brother-in-the-sky is ominously real, along with its ability to monitor virtually all phone and online communications.

Police states dream of being able to monitor and track everyone in all ways, at all times, giving them control over our lives, freedoms and welfare - in ways Orwell never imagined.

The shocking reality should terrify everyone. Few Americans realize the dangers they face. Public awareness of what’s most important doesn’t exist. 

US-style “democracy” serves its privileged class exclusively, at the expense of everyone else, destroying fundamental rights in the process.

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. 


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