Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Longstanding Bahraini State Terror

Longstanding Bahraini State Terror

by Stephen Lendman

It's official state policy. King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa's one of the region's most ruthless tyrants. Washington supports his worst crimes. 

They persist. On July 29, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) headlined "Escalation of the Crackdown against Freedom of Expression and Assembly in the Recommendations of the National Assembly Special Session."

"The National Assembly: a Tool of Repression Used by the Government of Bahrain Against Citizens."

Freedom in Bahrain is verboten. It's prohibited. US First Amendment rights are banned. It states: 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Bahrain prohibits the most fundamental of all rights. Without them all others are at risk.

Believers are ruthlessly targeted. They're beaten, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured. Thousands languish in Bahrain's gulag. 

They include doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel. Anyone providing aid, comfort, or medical treatment is criminalized.

BCHR condemns what's ongoing. It supports "the right of the opposition and individuals to express their opinion and to claim their right to self-determination."

It's against National Assembly members activating repressive laws. They violate basic citizen rights.

On July 28, House of Representatives president Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Dhahrani convened a special session. King Hamed permitted it. National Assembly (NA) members supported it.

Toughening Law No. 58 punishments were discussed. It pertains to protecting Bahrain from terrorist acts.

According to attorney Abdulla Al-Shamlawi, NA procedures weren't followed. 

"The constitutional provision which authorized the call for a session talked about the role of each of the Shoura (Higher) Council and Representatives separately, and there is no constitutional provision which authorizes the invitation for the National Assembly with its two chambers," he said.

Bahrain's parliament has 40 seats. It has no legislative or monitoring authority. The Higher Council has another 40 seats. Unelected King Hamed appointees fill them.

The special session was pro forma. It was rubber-stamp. It made several recommendations. A prepared statement announced them. They follow King Hamed's July 25 Royal Order 33. They mandate:

"1. Issuance of Decree Laws during parliament's summer recess in order to toughen penalties in the terrorism law and, if necessary, to implement such recommendations, in order to face any event requiring expediting the adoption of measures that brook no delay, and need swift actions to protect national security and stability, in line with Article 38 of the Kingdom’s Constitution.

2. Revoking the citizenship of those who carry out terrorist crimes and their instigators.

3. Inflicting tough penalties on those who incite all forms of violence and terrorism.

4. Inflicting severe punishment on all kinds and forms of violence and terror crimes.

5. Drying up all sources of terrorist financing.

6. Banning sit-ins, rallies and gatherings in the capital Manama.

7. Taking all necessary measures, including the declaration of the State of National Safety, to impose civic security and peace whenever law is violated, the security of the citizens is compromised and private and public property is under threat.

8. Taking legal actions against some political associations which incite and support acts of violence and terrorism.

9. Amending Law 58 of 2006 with respect to protection of the community of against terrorist acts so as to inflict punishment on those who instigate and support terrorism.

10. Granting the security bodies all required and appropriate powers to protect society from terror incidents and prevent spreading them.

11. Requesting Ambassadors to Bahrain not to interfere in the kingdom’s domestic affairs, in line with International Law and regulations.

12. Toughening penalties on those who involve children and exploit them in acts of terrorism and vandalism of private or public facilities.

13. Total commitment to applying all punitive laws related to combating violence and terrorism.

14. Adherence to a balanced moderate discourse in order to preserve the social fabric of the Bahraini society.

15. Direct relevant state bodies to activate the necessary legal action against those who use social networks in an illegal way, and toughening penalties against those who use those networks to disseminate false information to foreign sides which plot against the country’s security and stability.

16. Basic liberties, particularly freedom of opinion, should be affected so as to strike a balance between law enforcement and human rights protection.

17. Examination of the educational policies of the kingdom and review and change educational curricular in a way that protects society from violence and terrorist actions and improves the behavior of students.

18. Using the media to shed light on the dangers of terrorism and its negative impacts on national stability and economy.

19. Backing the loyal efforts of HM the King to encourage national dialogue and push it forward, as serious national dialogue is the best means to resolve all issues and maintain national cohesion.

20. Those involved in terrorist acts shall not be covered by Royal pardon on crimes.

21. Devising an integrated national security strategy in order to be able to face all developments and supporting the efforts of those in charge of it and ensuring their protection.

22. Launching programmes to rehabilitate youths who were exploited in various crimes."

Recommendations effectively mandate repression. They prohibit freely expressing opinions, peaceful assemblies, marches, sit-ins and protests against lawless state practices.

Doing so violates Articles 18, 19, and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They state:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

"Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Social media activists are targeted. Anyone insulting the king is vulnerable. So are Bahrainis exposing government wrongdoing.

According to BCHR, assembly members "waived (their) role in legislation giving the executive authorities the right to pass any decrees and laws to toughen punishments under the internationally criticized terrorism law, to implement the made recommendations, and other procedures for the maintenance of security which alerts that more repressive laws will be passed."

King Hamed's mandates are law. He urged swift implementation. So did Bahrain's crown prince and prime minister. It's government is rubber-stamp. Democracy's a four-letter word. It's verboten. It's officially outlawed.

Legislators ignored fundamental regime abuses. They've been internationally criticized. According to UN experts:

Bahrain's "Protecting Society from Terrorist Acts" flies in the face of justice. It denies due process and judicial fairness. It lets courts lawlessly impose capital punishment. 

Terrorism's definition is overly broad. Designated acts don't cause injury or death. Others target fundamental rights. 

They include free expression, assembly, and peaceful demonstrations. They're internationally recognized rights.

Political activists are targeted. State repression is policy. Collective punishment targets Bahrain's majority Shia population.

Brute force is systematically used. Torture extracts confessions. Legitimate courts don't allow them. King Hamed's word is law. What he says goes. 

He's one of the region's worst despots. Washington provides material support. His most reprehensible crimes are ignored.

He lacks legitimacy. So does Bahrain's government. According to acting BCHR President Mariam Al-Khawaja:

"At a time when the authorities continuously talk about empty promises of reform, the human rights situation continues to deteriorate." 

"Today’s special session was not about introducing new punishments; these measures have been put in practice previously." 

"It was about presenting these measures under a new title and face. The authorities have been attempting to create fear since the announcement of planned protests on August 14th under the Tamarod campaign; and this appears to be a part of it." 

"The further deterioration to the human rights situation is directly linked to the international impunity the Bahraini authorities enjoy; and the lack of real pressure from their allies, namely the United States and the United Kingdom, to put an end to the ongoing widespread violations."

BCHR calls for:

"An immediate end to the targeting of the opposition and restriction of peaceful political activities."
"The immediate cancellation of the recommendations of the special session of the Assembly, an end to the ongoing human rights violations, and the initiation of real reforms."
"An end to the culture of impunity practiced at the highest levels of government, and accountability for those who have committed, ordered, or allowed human rights violations to occur; especially those in high positions."    
"To revoke the Terrorism Law, drop all trumped up charges against those tried under this law."
"An immediate end to the political trials under the Terrorism Law which do not constitute the basic conditions of a fair trial because of the conflict in the terrorism laws and penalties with international standards of a fair trial, and the lack of independence and impartiality of the judiciary in Bahrain."
"Reparations and compensation for all victims of torture; as well as rehabilitation."
"Accountability for those who incite sectarianism and violence against certain sects, including members of the ruling family."

Bahrain's a case study in tyranny. State terror's official policy. Defenders of right over wrong are criminalized. Dozens are murdered in cold blood.

Nothing suggests change. King Hamed's a close US ally. Bahain's home to America's Fifth Fleet. Rogue states replicate each other's worst practices. Unrestrained brutality defines them.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bradley Manning: Guilty of Doing the Right Thing

Bradley Manning: Guilty of Doing the Right Thing

by Stephen Lendman

Final arguments were presented last week. Judge Col. Denise Lind adjourned for the weekend. Tuesday 1PM EDT was verdict day and time.

It didn't surprise. Earlier she refused to dismiss aiding the enemy charges. She let multiple Espionage Act violations stand. She did so disgracefully. Manning faces possible life in prison. 

We'll know once sentence is imposed. We'll know more if it holds on appeal. We know plenty now. Lind threw the book at Manning except entirely. 

She exonerated him of aiding the enemy. She convicted him of 20 of 22 charges. They include five Espionage Act counts. Expect sentencing to be harsh. Manning faces longterm imprisonment. He may never be free again.

According to Brennan Center for Justice Liberty and National Security Program co-director Elizabeth Goitein:

"Manning is one of very few people ever charged under the Espionage Act (prosecuted) for leaks to the media. The only other person who was convicted after trial was pardoned." 

"Despite the lack of any evidence that he intended any harm to the United States, Manning faces decades in prison. That's a very scary precedent."

Lind is chief judge, 1st Judicial Circuit, US Army Trial Judiciary. She served in the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps for 25 years.

Her service includes 4 years as a military judge in Europe, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Washington, DC. 

She's Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University Assistant Professor of National Security Studies. 

She's chief counsel, US Army Government Appellate Division, general counsel, Fort Belvoir, VA.

She's Army Joint Service Committee on Military Justice working group member. 

She's supervisory defense counsel, senior prosecutor, and special assistant US attorney. She's a New York Bar member.

Ahead of her verdict, the Bradley Manning Support Network said the following:

"In an ominous sign for (judicial fairness), military judge Denise Lind altered important charges last week in order to assist prosecutors ahead of verdict." 

"In so doing, defense attorney David Coombs explained, 'The Government has pushed this case beyond the bounds of legal propriety.' " 

" 'If the Government meant information, it should have charged information.' " 

"Up until last week, Manning was charged with stealing entire databases. The Defense has no way to defend Manning against these new charges after the fact." 

"Army private Bradley Manning faces a potential life sentence for passing hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents to the transparency website WikiLeaks, to expose US criminality in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further abuses around the world." 

"Never in the history of American military law has a person been charged with Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Law, 'Aiding the Enemy,' for providing information to the media in the public interest." 

"However, Manning faces life in prison tomorrow if convicted of this charge alone - despite all evidence to the contrary." 

" 'I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information…this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general,' Manning said in a February statement."

A sentencing hearing's scheduled for Wednesday. Expect it unless postponed. It could last weeks. Each side plans calling numerous witnesses.

Obama pronounced Manning guilty by accusation. He did so before trial proceedings began. He acted callously and unconscionably. Media scoundrels piled on. They still do. 

Lead prosecutor Capt. Ashden Fein called Manning an anarchist/hacker/traitor. He "knew exactly what he was doing," he said. His actions represented "general evil intent."

"He was not a whistleblower. He was a traitor, a traitor who understood the value of compromised information in the hands of the enemy and took deliberate steps to ensure that they, along with the world, received it."

In February, Manning pled guilty to 10 lesser charges. They're punishable up to 20 years in prison.

Aiding the enemy and other Espionage Act violations could put him away for life.

After sentencing, it's reviewed. It's Major General Jeffrey Buchanan's responsibility. He heads Washington's Military District.

He may or may not order leniency. It's unlikely. Expect tokenism at best. Obama wants his head. So do media scoundrels. 

No military or civil judge will countermand the president and commander-in-chief. None dares challenge court of public opinion sentiment.

If bad conduct discharge is ordered, a dishonorable one, or imprisonment for a year or more (on top of time served), further review is required.

It's the Army Court of Criminal Appeals responsibility. It can go higher. The US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is its highest judicial authority.

Manning can appeal to the Supreme Court. It's nearly always unsympathetic. Petitions for hearings are summarily rejected. A one-sentence comment does so, saying: "Petition for writ of certiorari denied."

On July 24, defense counsel Coombs petitioned for mistrial. He said in part:

"The Defense submits that the Government has made an utter mess of the section 641 offenses by pursuing one charge (that PFC Manning stole databases) and at the last minute pursuing a different charge (that PFC Manning stole information)."

"The Defense did not know that 'database' or 'records' meant 'information' and has suffered irreparable prejudice as a result."

"Under RCM 915, a military judge may declare a mistrial when 'manifestly necessary in the interest of justice because the circumstances arising during the proceedings which cast substantial doubt upon the fairness of the proceedings.' "

Prosecutorial charges against Manning reflect injustice. He exposed serious war crimes. He's victimized for doing so. Claiming he aided the enemy flies in the face of reality.

According to Duke Law School Professor Scott Silliman:

"Most of the aiding-the-enemy charges historically have had to do with POWs who gave information to the Japanese during World War II, or to Chinese communists during Korea, or during the Vietnam War."

According to visiting University of Pittsburgh Law Professor David Frakt:

Convicting Manning on this charge "would essentially create a new way of (doing so) in a very indirect fashion, even an unintended fashion."

Prosecutors cited Union soldier Henry Vanderwater's 1863 court martial. He was convicted of aiding the enemy. He gave an Alexandria, VA newspaper command roster information it published.

Coombs said Civil War-era cases involved coded messages. Advertisements disguised them. All modern cases involve military personnel giving aid and comfort to the enemy directly.

Convicting Manning sends a chilling message to whistleblowers. Do the right thing and be criminalized. Do it above and beyond the call and it's longterm or life.

On July 28, the Bradley Manning Support Network discussed altering charges "to assist Gov't ahead of verdict."

Coombs calls doing so "push(ing) this case beyond the bounds of legal propriety."

Altering charges isn't "semantic," he said. "Legally, it's substantially different than the original charges, and more to the point, it comes long after the government rested its case, precluding the defense from going back to question witnesses differently."

It's an unprecedented hostile act. No legitimate judge would allow it. Manning faces kangaroo court justice. Irreparable damage doesn't matter.

Nor does rule of law compliance. Manning was pronounced guilty before proceedings began. Defense council's blamed for prosecutorial misconduct.

Manning's trial was a travesty of justice. Conviction came on the same day Washington first protected whistleblowers. Congressional members did so unanimously.

On July 30, 1778, the Continental Congress declared it the "duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other the inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by an officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge."

Crimes then paled by comparison to today's. They continue daily. Congress supports them. It does so by funding illegal wars. 

It permits torture and other forms of abuse. It's silent about witch-hunt justice. It's in bed with Wall Street, war profiteers, and other corporate crooks.

It supports America's worst. It ignores persecution of its best. It's guilty of crimes charged against others. It's the best government money can buy.

Whistleblowers are heroes. They're public enemy number one. Doing the right thing risks prison hell. It's the American way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Israeli/Washington Peace Terms: Unconditional Surrender

Israeli/Washington Peace Terms: Unconditional Surrender

by Stephen Lendman

The charade began Monday night. It did so over a traditional Iftar dinner. It's the Ramadan period evening meal. It breaks the daily fast.

It was more like the last supper. According to Christian scripture, Christ shared his last meal with his Apostles. He did so before crucifixion. 

Palestinians have been crucified for decades. They're hung out to dry ruthlessly. New talks are worthless. They're fake. They're futile. They're another round of duplicity, failure and betrayal.

Multiple previous efforts produced nothing. This time's no different. Peace for our time won't happen. Netanyahu won't tolerate it. Nor will Washington.

The books are cooked. The game's rigged. It doesn't rise to the level of a bad film plot. Illusion substitutes for reality. Media scoundrels regurgitate false hopes. More on that below.

According to US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation coordinator Josh Ruebner, Israeli/Palestinian peace talks meet Einstein's definition of insanity.

"The United States keeps doing the exact same thing over and over again, and somehow expects that it's going to lead to a different result, and it's not," he said. 

Ahead of talks, John Kerry introduced Martin Indyk. He's a former US ambassador to Israel. He was Clinton's Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs. He's Obama's Special Envoy for ongoing talks.

He's no honest broker. He's one-sidedly pro-Israeli. He spurns Palestinian rights. He pretends otherwise. So did Kerry, saying:

He's "a seasoned American diplomat." He "agreed to take on this critical task at this crucial time."

"(H)e shares my belief that if the leaders on both sides continue to show strong leadership and a willingness to make those tough choices and a willingness to reasonably compromise, then peace is possible."

Indyk quoted Obama saying: "Peace is necessary, peace is just, and peace is possible." Not as long as Palestinians have no willing partner. They never did. They don't now. Pretending otherwise reflects illusions, not reality.

According to Indyk, "(Y)ou, Mr. Secretary," proved Obama "right. You've shown that it can be done."

How he said it with a straight face, he'll have to explain. The Middle East boils. Conflict rages. Dozens, maybe hundreds, die daily. Washington, NATO partners, Israel, and rogue Arab despots bear full responsibility.

Palestinians bear their own cross. They've suffered for decades. Militarized occupation terrorizes them. It does so ruthlessly. It continues during fake peace talks.

Frank Lowenstein's involved. He's part of the charade. He's Kerry's senior regional peace talks advisor.

On July 29, a White House press release headlined "Statement by the President on the Resumption of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations," saying:

"I am pleased that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have accepted Secretary Kerry's invitation to formally resume direct final status negotiations and have sent senior negotiating teams to Washington for the first round of meetings." 

"This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead."

"During my March visit to the region, I experienced first-hand the profound desire for peace among both Israelis and Palestinians, which reinforced my belief that peace is both possible and necessary." 

"I deeply appreciate Secretary Kerry's tireless work with the parties to develop a common basis for resuming direct talks, and commend both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas for their leadership in coming to the table."

"The most difficult work of these negotiations is ahead, and I am hopeful that both the Israelis and Palestinians will approach these talks in good faith and with sustained focus and determination." 

"The United States stands ready to support them throughout these negotiations, with the goal of achieving two states, living side by side in peace and security."

"I am pleased that Ambassador Martin Indyk will lead the US negotiating team as US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations." 

"Ambassador Indyk brings unique experience and insight to this role, which will allow him to contribute immediately as the parties begin down the tough, but necessary, path of negotiations."

It was typical Obama doublespeak duplicity. He deplores peace. He's waging multiple direct and proxy wars. He's done so throughout his tenure. 

He has more death and destruction in mind. He thinks war is peace. He's waging it at home and abroad.

He's mindless of Palestinian suffering. He pretends otherwise. He's no peacemaker. He's ravaging humanity. Doing so threatens its survival.

Israeli/Palestinian talks are fake. They're dead on arrival. Chances for a just peace are ZERO. Failure and betrayal are certain.

No matter. Obama feigns feel my pain sentiment. He met Israeli and Palestinian negotiators face-to-face. He did so at the White House. He called rebooting talks "a promising step." For whom he didn't say. For sure not for Palestinians.

In January 2011, Al Jazeera revealed the Palestine Papers. They include hundreds of internal documents, nearly 1,700 files, and thousands of pages of diplomatic correspondence. 

They cover a decade of Israeli/Palestinian talks (1999 - 2010). They include emails, maps, minutes of private meetings, accounts of high-level exchanges, strategy papers, and powerpoint presentations. They revealed:

-- the PA's willingness to concede all East Jerusalem settlements except one;

  • PA "creativ(ity)" about Islam's third holiest site, Haram al-Sharif (Nobel Sanctuary); Jews call it the Temple Mount;

  • compromise on the right of return; Saeb Erekat suggested abandonment beyond token amounts;

  • numerous details of PA-Israeli "cooperation;" they revealed PA complicity; they showed unconditional surrender to Israeli demands; and

  • private late 2009 PA-US negotiator exchanges when Goldstone Report discussions were ongoing at the UN.

Abbas, Erekat, and PA co-conspirators are traitors. They're double agents. They collaborate with Israel and Washington.

They do so against their own people. They've done it for decades. They did it since the 1991 Madrid Conference attempt to restart talks. 

They've done it ever since. They sold out every time. They're bought and paid for. They're well rewarded for services rendered. Their agenda reflects treachery.

On July 29, Daily News Egypt headlined "Abbas meets Adly Mansour in Cairo."

Instead of denouncing coup plotters, he embraced them. He did so disgracefully. He discussed "Egyptian-Palestinian relations."

He did so ahead of fake peace talks. He showed what side he's on. He's been there for decades. He's no friend of Palestine. He's Israel's enforcer. He terrorizes his own people.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's a longtime pro-Western imperial stooge. On Monday, he endorsed the charade

He expressed his "strong support for the resumption of credible negotiations." Deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey added:

"The secretary-general expressed his strong support for the resumption of credible negotiations to achieve the two-State solution and his appreciation for the recent courageous decision of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in this regard."

He "welcomed the positive engagement of the Arab League Peace Initiative follow-up committee." 

"He stressed the importance of creating an environment conducive to the resumption of talks, and encouraged both sides to take further positive steps in this regard."

On July 29, Haaretz headlined "As talks kick off, recording reveals US envoy was pessimistic about peace." 

About 18 months ago, Martin Indyk said:

"I'm not particularly optimistic because I think that the heart of the matter is that the maximum concessions that this government of Israel would be prepared to make fall far short of the minimum requirements that Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) will insist on." 

"So it may be possible to keep the talks going, which is a good thing, but I find it very hard to believe that they will reach an agreement."

His Monday statement was diplomatic doublespeak. He praised resumption of talks, saying:

"Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas have made the tough decisions required to come back to the negotiating table." 

"Perhaps we may yet be able to tell all those young Israelis and Palestinians who yearn for a different better tomorrow that, this time, we actually made it."

Will the real Martin Indyk please stand up? He knows Israel and Washington hold all trump cards. He said so months earlier on Israeli Radio.

They call the shots. They decide. They control the process. They move things their way. They choose the wrong way every time. 

Peace for our time's an illusion. It's always been that way. It's no different now. Change may come some day. Not now.

Not according to New York Times columnist Roger Cohen. On July 29, he headlined "Netanyahu the Peacemaker," saying:

"The notion that Netanyahu the Likudnik - fierce opponent of the late Yitzhak Rabin’s peace push, reluctant latecomer to the notion of two states, longtime ideologue of the Jewish right to all the Biblical land of Israel - might reinvent himself as peacemaker is not new." 

"I have heard it from several people who have spent long hours with Netanyahu, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain."

"Skepticism is de rigueur, but it would be wrong to dismiss the idea," he added. Don't expect him to explain illusions substituting for hard reality.

Haaretz editors endorse them. On July 30, they headlined "Netanyahu showing signs of statesmanship," saying:

"(H)is decision to release 104 Palestinian prisoners may attest that the prime minister has finally internalized the need to extricate Israel from the diplomatic deep-freeze to which he has thus far sentenced it during his second and third terms of office."

In October 2011, he released 1,027 in return for Gilad Shalit. It was an empty gesture. Many were rearrested. Others are monitored, harassed, persecuted, and denied free movement. They're in prison without cages and bars.

According to Haaretz editors, Netanyahu showed "courage…For this, he deserves praise." 

Hopefully he'll "continue to act like a valiant statesman who is capable of coping with the challenges Israel faces and of making decisions even bolder than the one to release the prisoners." 

"This is not only the opportunity of a lifetime for Netanyahu, who until now hasn't led any significant positive moves; it's also Israel's big opportunity to change its image and improve its international standing."

"Israel must arrive at the negotiations in Washington armed not only with courage, but also with a sincere desire to reach a peace agreement."

"In Washington last night, a spark of hope was lit. Israel must not extinguish it."

Netanyahu's no statesman. He's a world class thug. He's always been one. He's no different now. Israel's government is its worst in history. It reflects fascism writ large. 

Israel's history is blood-drenched. Palestinians have been terrorized for decades. They're brutalized now. They denied all rights. They're treated like subhumans. 

They're persecuted for wanting to live free on their own land in their own country at peace. 

Chances for resolving longstanding injustice remains a convenient fiction. Why Haaretz editors believe otherwise they'll have to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

The Illusion of Israeli/Palestinian Peace for Our Time

The Illusion of Israeli/Palestinian Peace for Our Time

by Stephen Lendman

Talks take place in Washington. Doing so alone assures betrayal and failure. It's certain. America one-sidedly favors Israel. It's duplicitous. It's no honest broker. It never was. It's not now. 

No legitimate Palestinian leader would permit Washington's involvement. Collaborators betray their people by doing so.

Talks began Monday night. They did so informally. A State Department statement said the following:

"Today, Secretary Kerry spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and personally extended an invitation to send senior negotiating teams to Washington to formally resume direct final status negotiations." 

"Initial meetings are planned for the evening of Monday July 29 and Tuesday July 30, 2013."

"The Israelis will be represented by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, and the Palestinians will be represented by Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh." 

"As Secretary Kerry announced on July 19 in Amman, Jordan, the Israelis and Palestinians had reached agreement on the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations." 

"The meetings in Washington will mark the beginning of these talks." 

"They will serve as an opportunity to develop a procedural workplan for how the parties can proceed with the negotiations in the coming months."

"In his invitation, the Secretary again commended the courage shown by Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas."

"The Secretary said, 'Both leaders have demonstrated a willingness to make difficult decisions that have been instrumental in getting to this point. We are grateful for their leadership.' "

"The United States and the parties are looking forward to beginning these substantive discussions and in moving forward toward a final status agreement."

Fact check

Longstanding unresolved final status issues are off the table. Claiming otherwise is duplicitous. 

They include ending occupation, self-determination, settlements, borders, diaspora Palestinians right of return, borders, air, water and resource rights, and East Jerusalem as Palestine's exclusive capital.

Oslo left these and other major issues unresolved. It did so for later final status talks. Palestinians are still waiting. They're denied. They're cheated. They're betrayed. They're on their own.

Previous articles explained what journalist Henry Siegman once called "the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history."

Talks were stillborn from inception. Gideon Levy said "There has never been an Israeli peace camp. Let's call the child by its real name: The Israeli peace camp is still an unborn baby."

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon claims Jews have "an unassailable right (to) settle anywhere, particularly here, (in) the land of the Bible."

The peace process is a useful fiction. It "sear(s) deep into the consciousness of Palestinians that they are a defeated people."

Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said he wanted talks dragged out for a decade. Doing so lets Israel vastly expand settlements. He omitted saying on stolen Palestinian land.

Current Prime Minister Netanyahu calls talks "a waste of time." He and US officials conspire against Palestinians. Peace remains elusive. Israel and Washington spurn it.

Palestinians have no say. Talks began in the mid-1970s. The so-called peace process is little more than a slogan. It stalls for time.

Decades passed. Palestine remains occupied. Israel controls over 60% of the West Bank. 

It does so through expanding settlements, outposts, closed military zones, tourist sites, commercial areas, no-go ones, increasing East Jerusalem encroachment, Israel's apartheid wall, Jews only roads, and numerous checkpoints and barriers.

Palestinians are increasingly isolated. They're ghettoized. They're in separated cantons. They're on least valued land. Israel controls borders, air and water rights, as well as all resource rich areas.

Longstanding Israeli intransigence severely compromises Palestinian rights. Israel's a lawless land-grabber. Land laws facilitate ethnic cleaning. 

Jews get exclusive rights. Palestinians have none. Israeli laws and Land Administration prohibit Arabs from buying, leasing or using land exclusively reserved for Jews.

Yasser Arafat (1929 - 2004) once said: "Israel has always confiscated land from Arabs and dispossessed them of their property. The land always goes from Arabs to the Jews."

Israel Shahak (1933 - 2001) addressed the Jewish State, saying:

It includes occupied territory Israel controls. "The real situation in Israel is really very simple: Israel is not an 'Israeli' state, or a state of its citizens but it is a 'Jewish state.' " 

"More than 90% of the inhabited areas of the State of Israel are under the rule of the Jewish National Fund regulations, under which non-Jews cannot rent or buy a house or flat, open a business, in short cannot live." 

"This land is called in Hebrew 'the land' saved. The land which belongs to non-Jews is called unsaved not national, and by buying or confiscating it from a non-Jew by a Jew, the land is supposed to be 'saved.' "

There's more. The Israel Land Authority (ILA) severely restricts Palestinian development. It does so through regional councils. They control Arab areas. 

They enforce rigid residential, agricultural, and industrial use zoning restrictions. They prohibit unlicensed construction. 

They ban it on agricultural land. They stipulate where Jews and Arabs may live. They afford rights exclusively to Jews. They deny Palestinians room to expand.

They confiscate occupied "public land" for exclusive Jewish use. They declare national priority areas off-limits to Palestinians.

They delay, restrict, and/or prohibit developing Arab communities. They deny Palestinians representation on national planning committees.

Forced evictions, dispossessions, and home demolitions facilitate more Jews-only development.

Palestinians are denied. They're severely compromised. It's been this way for 46 years. Peace talks are fake. They're a charade. They're like they've always been. They facilitate same old, same old.

They reflect futility, failure and betrayal. They change nothing. This time's no different. Pretense pretends otherwise. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.

New York Times editors one-sidedly support Israel. It's longstanding Times policy. On July 25, they headlined "Inching Forward in the Mdeast," saying:

Kerry "used six trips to the region to pursue a sensible strategy to nudge the two sides to the table."

Duplicitous Arab League leaders gave him and Palestinian collaborators cover to do so.

"The international community has promised the Palestinians a $4 billion economic package."

Kerry's economic plan is crony capitalism writ large. It benefits private Western/Israeli investment. 

It spurns Palestinian rights. It continues neoliberal harshness. Kerry wants more of the same. Don't expect Times editors to explain.

They claim Israel will release dozens of long-held Palestinian prisoners. They'll do so in good faith. Mercy isn't in Israel's vocabulary.

Palestinians are ruthlessly treated. Thousands languish unjustly in Israel's gulag. Released prisoners are harassed, monitored and rearrested.

On the one hand, Times editors said "No good can come if Israel evolves from a Jewish majority state to an Arab majority state."

On the other, they suggested "the long sought dream of a Palestinian state (can't be) left to die."

They omitted what's most important. Israel won't permit viable Palestinian self-determination. Two states once were possible. No longer. Israel controls too much land. It steals more daily.

Conflict resolution depends on ending Israel's occupation. It means one state for all its people at peace with equal rights. It requires everyone be treated equitably, justly and fairly. 

Nothing else works. Current conditions aren't sustainable. Israel wants permanent occupation. Palestinians deserve sovereign freedom.

Democratic legitimacy requires one nation for all its people. It does so irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, or other differentiating factors. 

It requires mandating equal rights, observing international law principles, and ending decades of occupation, colonization and apartheid.

It requires treating Arabs and Jews equally. It means establishing binding statutes. It requires enforcing them. It's about commitment for the right thing.

Don't expect media scoundrels to explain. On June 23, Haaretz editors fell woefully short. They headlined "On the way to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating tent," saying:

"Netanyahu's support for a two-state solution hasn't been so resolute since his (2009) Bar-Ilan speech in 2009."

Obama's "moves in the first five months of his second and last term, including the appointments of Kerry and Rice, show (he's) striving to bring about an Israeli-Palestinian agreement."

A "historic agreement with the Palestinians is a paramount goal for Israel and certainly for its prime minister."

Haaretz editors know better. Their editorial reflects illusions, not reality.

Netanyahu abhors peace. He spurns Palestinian rights. He brags about "put(ting) an end to the Oslo Accords." 

He says "America is a thing you can move very easily." His Bar-Ilan speech gave impossible conditions. They included:

  • demilitarization;

  • border, air space, and East Jerusalem under Israeli control;

  • Palestinians recognizing Israel as the "state of the Jewish people;" and

  • no right of return.

In May 2011, Netanyahu addressed a joint congressional session. He reiterated his views on Palestinian self-determination. He refused to accept pre-1967 borders. 

He said Israel would retain and expand large settlements in and around East Jerusalem. Doing so cuts the West Bank in half.

He added that Israel will maintain "a longterm (Jordan Valley) military presence." Doing so controls Palestine's most fertile land. It controls all entry and exit points.

During Netanyahu's two terms as prime minister, he accelerated settlement construction. It continues unabated. He wants "facts on the ground" established. Doing so prevents Palestinian self-determination. 

In January 2013, Israel's Peace Now said Netanyahu's policies "disclose a clear intention to use settlements to systematically undermine and render impossible a realistic, viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

He rejects what Palestinians deserve. He supports militarized occupation harshness. He demands continued apartheid. He spurns peaceful conflict resolution. So does Washington.

Palestinians have no peace partner. They never did. They don't now. Peace for our time is fake. It's illusory. It's a distant dream. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Waging the Battle of Syria

Waging the Battle of Syria

by Stephen Lendman

Syria's conflict began in March 2011. Resolving it remains elusive. Previous articles explained it's Washington's war. It was planned years ago. 

It's about advancing America's imperium. There's nothing civil about it. It's about toppling another independent government. They're not tolerated. Washington wants pro-Western puppet ones replacing them.

War rages. Tens of thousands died. Dozens more do daily. Obama remains unaccountable. His hands are blood-drenched. He's a war criminal multiple times over. He thrives on death and destruction.

Western-sponsored death squads invaded Syria. Assad's wrongfully blamed for their crimes. He's battling to save his country. He doing so responsibly. 

He's doing what every leader would do. Defeating foreign invaders matters most. The vast majority of Syrians support him. He's their last line of defense.

He achieved impressive gains. He's routing foreign terrorists. Monday news reports said Syrian forces gained full control over Homs district. It's an important strategic victory. It's Syria's third largest city.

Insurgents call it "the capital of the revolution." It's a key central western city close to northern Lebanon. It links Damascus to the sea.

Victory came a day after Syrian forces captured the historic Khalid Bin al-Walid mosque. It's in Homs' Khaldiyeh neighborhood. It dates from the 13th century. Insurgents controlled it for over a year. Heavy fighting caused extensive damage. 

Khaldiyeh's population once numbered about 80,000. Several thousand at most remain. Months of conflict took its toll. Many died. Others fled.

On July 29, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) headlined "Syrian army and Hizbollah capture Homs - opening way to (full control of Aleppo) and decisive Assad victory."

Syrian forces continue to pound insurgent positions. Many flee to escape death or capture.

Israel's nonplussed. According to DF, "Washington, Jerusalem and Ankara have run out of time for quibbling whether to step into the Syrian conflict. The critical decision facing them now is whether to" get involved or keep "stand(ing) aside."

Obama "must now decide very quickly whether Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers should be allowed to win the Syrian 'civil' war or" jump in to stop him.

The battle for Syria continues. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said Assad's forces "continued hunting terrorists in Homs and its countryside and inflicted heavy losses upon them."

"An official source in the province told SANA that the army units have achieved new progress in al-Khalidiyeh neighborhood and destroyed a number of terrorists' dens, in addition to killing and injuring scores of them."

Syrian forces "destroyed a number of terrorists' dens and gatherings along with the weapons and ammunition inside them in al-Hamidiyeh, Jouret al-Shayah, al-Qusour and Bab Houd neighborhoods in Homs and in al-Dar al-Kabeira, al-Ghanto and al-Mashajar al-Janoubi in Talbisa and in al-Rastan city."

SANA discussed other important Syrian gains. They repeat with impressive regularity. Aleppo area terrorists were routed. Many were killed. Their weapons were captured or destroyed.

Army units "carried out operations against terrorists' dens and gatherings in the eastern Ghouta in Damascus Countryside, killing and injuring several terrorists, in addition to regaining control over a number of buildings in al-Qaboun neighborhood in the city."

Terrorists affiliated with "Tahrir al-Sham Brigade" in eastern Ghouta were killed. Others attacking Daraa military checkpoints were repelled. They suffered heavy losses.

"Non-Syrian terrorists (were) killed in Lattakia countryside." Others "suffer(ed) heavy losses in Idleb." More were routed in Hama.

Victories haven't turned the tide. Ending conflict matters most. Washington didn't start things to quit. Balkan wars persisted throughout the 1990s. Years more fighting could affect Syria.

Peace talks are illusory. Last year's Geneva conference failed. Plans for Geneva II won't fare better. Syria has no Western peace partner.

According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Washington's subverting conflict resolution efforts. Attacks on Syrian forces are planned. Doing so contravenes peace attempts. Obama pretends support. His actions speak louder than words.

He's armed terrorist fighters all along. He's sending more weapons. Doing so furthers conflict. Peace remains elusive. It's illusory. Washington prioritizes war. Proxy death squads wage it.

Plans suggest greater US involvement. Doing so means full-scale war. Another regional charnel house looms. Libya 2.0 assures one. America's legacy reflects unconscionable mass killing and destruction. 

Post-9/11 alone, millions died. Many more were injured or displaced. America wants the entire region redrawn. Millions of deaths are a small price to pay.

Washington-controlled NATO bears full responsibility. Israel shares its own. Voice of Russia's John Robles said "NATO and the West have an agenda, and that agenda is complete and total military domination of the world."

"No matter that the Cold War has long been over, and the West and NATO's beloved reason for expansion, the 'evil specter' of Communism in Europe, has been relegated to the pages of history, the US and its NATO allies need phantoms and demons, rogue nations and terrorists, evil aggressors and vicious invaders to justify their own existence and, even more so, to justify their own endless aggressive expansion and disguise the fact that such a global expansion is illegal and in fact a plan aimed at the domination of the world by one power."

"The US and the Western military industrial complex are not interested in peace."

Fake terrorist threats fuel its war priorities. They're pretexts for Washington's plan to rule the world.

With NATO partners and Israel, it's waging war "against peaceful countries." They're nonbelligerent. They threaten no one.

Washington's aggression may destroy humanity in the process. The "single biggest threat to peace" today isn't Syria, Iran or North Korea.

It's US-led NATO's global ambitions. Overreach may destroy the world to dominate it.

Former Congressman Ron Paul thinks Obama's Syria policy resembles Bush on Iraq. Rhetoric is familiar, he said. He's seen it before, saying:

"Because of this use of gas, the president claimed, Syria had crossed his 'red line' and the US must begin to arm the rebels fighting to overthrow the Syrian government."

A previous report said Obama decided much earlier. He did so "when the intelligence community did not believe 'with high confidence' that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons."

"Further, this plan to transfer weapons to the Syrian rebels had become policy much earlier than that, as the Washington Post reported that the CIA had expanded over the past year its secret bases in Jordan to prepare for the transfer of weapons to the rebels in Syria."

"The process (today is) identical to the massive deception campaign that led us into the Iraq war."

Like Bush/Cheney & Co., Obama "fix(es) the intelligence and facts" to fit policy.

"And Congress just goes along, just as they did the last time."

History does more than repeat. It prioritizes mass slaughter and destruction.

According to Senator Rand Paul, "Americans would probably be surprised to learn that their government was arming affiliates of Al Qaeda" and other anti-Syrian extremists.

They're Washington's most effective fighting force. Obama wants them more heavily armed. Congress is AWOL.

Proper oversight's absent. "(I)f the Constitution still matters, the president needs (congressional) authorization to arm these rebels." He lacks it.

He's secretly supplying weapons. Doing so is "complicated and dangerous."

"If the United States wants to choose a side in Syria, there is no clear moral choice. More important, there is no clear US national interest in Syria."

"That is why I have introduced bipartisan legislation along with Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) that would prohibit the president from providing military aid to the Syrian rebels without congressional consent."

"The United States should never get involved where we have no clear national interest." 

"We should not intervene militarily in a country like Syria, where we can’t separate friend from foe and might end up arming the very people who hate us the most."

America's a warrior nation. War is permanent policy. Peace is deplored. Global domination matters most. Independent countries are targeted. Conflicts persists without end. 

When wars become the national pastime, catastrophic outcomes are certain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.