Monday, February 20, 2017

Ecuador's Presidential Election

Ecuador’s Presidential Election

by Stephen Lendman

Last year, President Rafael Correa said he wouldn’t seek a third term after 10 years in office.

In December 2015, Ecuador’s constitution was amended to permit unlimited re-election runs, including for president - term limits eliminated after May 24, 2017, following this year’s general elections, held on February 19, including for five regional MPs, 137 federal lawmakers, the nation’s president and vice president.

With nearly 90% of votes counted as this is written, Lenin Moreno, Correa’s former vice president, leads right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso by a 39.11 - 28.28 percent margin - close to the 40% threshold needed to avoid a second round runoff. 

Ecuador’s National Electoral Council said final results may take several more days as results trickle in from isolated areas, Ecuadoreans abroad, bureaucratic delays, and inconsistencies in some ballots.

Six other candidates competed. Moreno, a paraplegic, was nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize because of his advocacy for handicapped people.

In 1998, he was seriously wounded in a Quito robbery attempt, paralyzed, unable to walk. Years of therapy restored his ability to move around in a wheelchair, able to continue working in the public sector.

He promotes humor and joy as a way to overcome serious physical limitations. It worked for him, a remarkable story, especially if he becomes Ecuador’s next president.

As vice president, he increased the federal budget for disabled people manyfold. Hundreds of thousands are helped.

Guillermo Lasso is a banker, businessman, running for president after losing to Correa decisively in 2013.

As Banco de Guayaquil president and largest shareholder, he coordinated right-wing attacks on Correa’s agenda. During former Ecuadorian president Lucio Gutierrez’s neoliberal tenure, he developed relations with US business elites.

Pre-election, Moreno was favored to win. His lead over Lasso makes him most likely to become Ecuador’s next president.

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.

Pence and WaPo on NATO

Pence and WaPo on NATO

by Stephen Lendman

As long as NATO exists, world peace, stability and security are impossible. 

The alliance is a US-dominated killing machine, used for endless wars of aggression, not defense at a time the only threats are invented ones.

Candidate Trump called NATO “obsolete.” UK Prime Minister Theresa May said he’s “100% behind NATO.” 

In early February, he expressed “strong support” for the alliance, according to a readout of his conversation with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, “agree(ing) to continue close coordination and cooperation to address the full range of (invented) security challenges facing NATO.”

Representing the Trump administration at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Vice President Pence said “the United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to this trans-Atlantic alliance.”

Urging member states to increase military spending at a time no enemies exist, he added “(a)s you keep faith with us, under President Trump, we will always keep faith with you.”

He ignored Kiev aggression on Donbass, instead bashed Russia irresponsibly, saying Washington will hold Moscow “accountable” on Ukraine and its (nonexistent) efforts to redraw international borders by force” - while “search(ing) for new common ground.”

How many resets will Russia tolerate, given a history of US broken promises? On Monday, Sergey Lavrov diplomatically blasted US intelligence, anonymously admitting it routinely wiretaps the communications of Russia’s ambassador to Washington, including “reports to Moscow about his activities in” America’s capital.

Neocon, CIA-connected Washington Post Editors urged European NATO members to increase their defense spending when cutting it sharply should be prioritized.

They quoted former Obama defense secretary Robert Gates, saying “(i)f current trends in the decline of European defense capabilities are not halted and reversed, future US political leaders…may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost.”

Gates’ hyperbole fooled no one. Washington uses NATO as an imperial tool. Imagine how much safer humanity would be if it didn’t exist.

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.

Western Russophobia

Western Russophobia

by Stephen Lendman

Russia is stereotypically portrayed in the West as the world’s leading bad guy. 

Along with Islamic terrorists, it’s Hollywood’s favorite villain. Czarism, Bolshevism, Stalinism and Communism are long gone. Western-style capitalism replaced them.

Yet Cold War mentality persists in America and Europe because of Russia’s sovereign independence, a nation state able to match America’s nuclear capability. 

Its overall military might is impressive, evident in Syria with a token force. Putin’s opposition to US imperial madness is cause for bashing him.

America’s hegemonic ambitions tolerate no challengers to its political, economic and military dominance. China is considered a threat, notably because of its growing economy, on track toward eventually becoming the world’s leader.

Russophobia has to be created. Legitimate reasons don’t exist so they’re invented. 

Examples include nonexistent “Russian aggression” in Ukraine, fake news claims about Russian US election hacking, fabricated Russian hybrid warfare, credible news by Russian media called propaganda, phony INF Treaty violations, and Vladimir Putin falsely portrayed as an ex-KGB spy chief and world’s number one bad guy, among others.

Virtually everything considered negative about Russia in the West is politicized - the latest example a disgraceful fake news London Telegraph story.

It claims a (nonexistent) foiled Russian intelligence “plot to overthrow Montenegro’s government last year by assassinating Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic…to sabotage the country’s plan to join NATO,” citing unnamed so-called UK sources.

It sounds like a bad Hollywood script, stuff only uninformed, ignorant people might believe.

Montenegro is tiny in area, population and GDP, the equivalent of a medium-sized Western city. Its military has less than 2,000 active duty personnel, its budget a scant 50 million euros.

In contrast, Chicago’s police force has over 12,000 militarized officers and nearly 2,000 other staff. Montenegro as NATO’s 29th member would be insignificant to the alliance’s military strength.

Russia’s embassy in London denounced The Telegraph’s fake news report, tweeting: “As usual, no evidence, pure innuendo.” What’s next, it asked? Fabricated accusations keep coming.

Montenegrin special prosecutor for organized crime, Milivoje Katnic, earlier explained no “evidence that the state of Russia is involved” in a plot against the country’s prime minister exists.

It’s another example of Russia bashing. Claiming it wanted PM Milo Djukanovic assassinated to prevent Montenegro from joining NATO is pure nonsense.

The Telegraph published fake news based on Big Lies from unnamed UK intelligence sources.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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

Russia's Main Threats

Russia’s Main Threats

by Stephen Lendman

In his annual address last week to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Vladimir Putin discussed the nation’s main threats.

Along with US-led Western imperialism, he cited international terrorism, foreign intelligence services and unstable neighbors, notably Ukraine - saying “many existing threats and challenges have only become more acute.”

“Military-political and economic rivalry between global and regional policy makers and between individual countries has increased. We see bloody conflicts continue in a number of countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.” 

“International terrorist groups, essentially terrorist armies, receiving tacit and sometimes even open support from some countries, take active part in these conflicts.”

“At the NATO summit last July in Warsaw, Russia was declared the main threat to the alliance for the first time since 1989, and NATO officially proclaimed containing Russia its new mission.” 

“It is with this aim that NATO continues its expansion. This expansion was already underway earlier, but now they believe they have more serious reasons for doing so.” 

“They have stepped up the deployment of strategic and conventional arms beyond the national borders of the principal NATO member states.”

“They are provoking us constantly and are trying to draw us into confrontation. We see continued attempts to interfere in our internal affairs in a bid to destabilize the social and political situation in Russia itself.”

Kiev-instigated conflict in Donbass again flared up with intent to scuttle Minsk peace provisions, blaming its defense force and Russia for its own aggression.

“…Ukrainian authorities…obviously (reject) a peaceful solution,” Putin explained. They openly speak about organizing sabotage and terrorism against Russia.

Trump’s position is unclear. He said little about Ukraine so far. Conditions Putin named require special FSB attention, he said, calling for additional measures to protect Russia’s security, including its diplomatic missions abroad.

His warning followed a Kiev law, permitting its intelligence service to engage in state terrorism abroad, enacted with Russia and conflict in Donbass in mind.

Ukraine is a cancer in Europe’s heartland, a Nazi-infested putschist regime, a dagger targeting Russia, tolerating no opposition.

Free expression is banned. Independent journalists risk harassment, assault, arrest, imprisonment, even death. Russian nationals aren’t safe.

Thousands of political prisoners languish under gulag conditions, enduring torture and other forms of abuse.

Russian media, films, communism and its symbols are banned. State-controlled media allow regime-approved propaganda alone. 

Putin’s address followed a report by Russia’s Investigative Committee, citing “irrefutable evidence that the Ukrainian armed forces used weapons of mass destruction, namely, the Tochka-U tactical missile systems against civilians during the armed conflict.”

Missiles equipped with banned cluster warheads are being used to cause mass casualties and destruction. 

Putin signaled if US-led Western support for Kiev continues allowing its aggressive actions to go unaddressed, Russia will respond appropriately as needed, without further elaboration.

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 Rejected Secret US Peace Plan

Netanyahu Rejected Secret US Peace Plan

by Stephen Lendman

If Israel agreed to Palestinian statehood within June 1967 borders, peace would follow.

According to Haaretz, John Kerry proposed resolving longstanding conflict in secret February 2016 talks with Netanyahu, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el Sissi and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Despite including recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and cooperation with regional Arab nations as part of the deal, imperatives Netanyahu demands, he rejected the proposal, claiming inability to get his coalition partners to go along.

Kerry included the following principles:

  • secure and recognized Israeli borders, partially based on 1967 lines - with mutually agreed on land swaps, permitting a contiguous Palestinian state;

  • fulfillment of UN Resolution 181, calling for two states for two people;

  • a fair solution for diaspora Palestinians, leaving “the fundamental character of Israel” unchanged;

  • Palestinians and Jews sharing Jerusalem as their capital, assuring free access to holy sites and the city undivided;

  • Israeli security guaranteed, along with ending occupation once and for all; and

  • an end of conflict, settlement of all outstanding claims, and establishment of normalized relations between both states.

El Sissi and King Abdullah accepted the proposal. Netanyahu equivocated, agreeing only to release a positive statement in return for a regional peace summit.

Talks fell apart when ultranationalist, Arab-hating Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu joined Netanyahu’s coalition, becoming defense minister as part of the deal.

Peace remains unattainable the way things have always been. 

Trump’s likelihood of achieving what his predecessors failed to accomplish is virtually nil - because Israel wants conflict, not resolution. So do neocons infesting Washington.

A Final Comment

On Monday, Haaretz reported increasing Israeli West Bank industrial and commercial development, deepening control of the territory - making conflict resolution even more unlikely.

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 Political Prisoner Omar Abdel Rahman Martyred in Captivity

US Political Prisoner Omar Abdel Rahman Martyred in Captivity

by Stephen Lendman

Known as the “blind sheikh,” he was unjustly framed in a 1995 show trial connected to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing he had nothing to do with.

Clear evidence proved his innocence. It didn’t matter. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 15 years for seditious conspiracy and terrorism, a shocking miscarriage of justice so common in America, especially against people of color and Muslims.

Sheikh Rahman was targeted for his anti-Western views, not any crime committed. He was connected to the Egyptian-based Al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group) - a 1997 State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). 

In the 1980s, he was used as a CIA asset, involved in recruiting Mujahadeen fighters against the Soviets in Afghanistan. 

He was rewarded with a US visa, green card and State Department/CIA protection for as long as he was valued. When no longer, he was unjustly arrested, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned.

At the request of former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, human rights attorney Lynne Stewart joined him in representing Rahman in his appeal. Her involvement got her targeted, prosecuted and imprisoned on phony charges for defending a figure authorities wanted incarcerated.

Her best efforts were no match against federal viciousness. Rahman was aged 78, his death attributed to diabetes and heart disease.

Muslim activist Nadrat Siddique called his passing “a dismal day in the history of the United States,” saying he was “left to die a slow painful death from untreated medical conditions.”

He opposed Egyptian dictatorship under Hosni Mubarak long before the made-in-the-USA Arab spring. He sought political asylum in America. Instead of freedom, he faced cruel and unusual punishment.

Siddique “lament(ed) his tragic death under clearly dehumanizing conditions,” much of it in brutal solitary confinement. 

Michael Mukasey was his sentencing judge. He later served as Bush/Cheney’s attorney general from November 9, 2007 - January 20, 2009.”

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

US Terror-Bombed Syria Toxic DU Munitions

US Terror-Bombed Syria with Toxic DU Munitions

by Stephen Lendman

America uses banned depleted uranium (DU) weapons in all its wars, ongoing since first developed during the Vietnam era.

The 1925 Geneva Protocol and succeeding Geneva Weapons Conventions prohibited use of chemical and biological agents in any form as weapons of war.

Although no Geneva Convention or other treaty specifically bans radioactive uranium weapons, including DU ones, they’re illegal de facto and de jure under the 1907 Hague Convention, prohibiting use of any “poison or poisoned weapons.”

DU munitions are radioactive, chemically toxic and poisonous. America is a signatory to the Hague and Geneva Conventions. Using these weapons in combat is a war crime.

US Code, Title 50, Chapter 40, Section 2302 defines a WMD as "any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors, (B) a disease organism, or (C) radiation or radioactivity.”

Armor-piercing DU munitions enable their ability to penetrate targets, enhancing their destructive capability. On detonation, depleted uranium aerializes, contaminating land, air and water, acting as a miniature dirty bomb.

It caused an epidemic of cancer, numerous other diseases and serious birth defects in Iraq - including children born with two heads, one eye, and legs grown together.

Miscarriages are frequent. Hundreds of newborns had cleft pallets, elongated heads, overgrown or short limbs, and other malformed body parts.

Iraq remains a toxic wasteland. So do other US war theaters. The Pentagon admitted using thousands of DU rounds in Syria in 2015, falsely claiming attacks were against ISIS, imperial foot soldiers America created and supports.

Pentagon warplanes began terror-bombing Syria in September 2014, conducting thousands of airstrikes, continuing under Trump against infrastructure and government targets.

It’s unknown if DU weapons were used throughout this period, as well as against Iraq since US terror-bombing began in June 2014 - on the phony pretext of combating ISIS.

Whatever the Pentagon admitted to is likely a small fraction of what it’s done. Its high crimes are notoriously whitewashed.

In March 2015, US-led coalition spokesman John Moore lied, saying its warplanes “have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria…”

Now we know part of the truth. Most of it remains hidden.

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.

Senate Neocons Vow New Anti-Russia Measures

Senate Neocons Vow New Anti-Russia Measures

by Stephen Lendman

Bipartisan lunatics infesting Washington intend preventing improved relations with Russia - whether or not Trump follows through on his pledge to try getting along with Vladimir Putin.

John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and other bipartisan Senate neocons want Trump blocked from lifting sanctions on Russia without congressional approval.

McCain and Graham are rabid Russia haters, urging more sanctions than already - Graham saying “2017 is going to be the year of kicking Russia in the ass in Congress,” adding:

My biggest concern with President Trump…is that he’s never really looked a camera in the eye and said that even though it was the (Democrats) that suffered from Russian interference, I am now the leader of the free world…and I can assure you that (Russia is) going to pay the price on my watch for trying to interfere in our election.

Fabricated claims of Russia US election hacking was a CIA led- intelligence community plot to prevent improved relations with Mosow, wanting adversarial ones maintained.

Graham serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee McCain chairs. When post-election infighting subsides, Congress “will move on to other things, and top of the list will be (more) sanctions against Russia,” he said, adding he hopes Trump will “embrace the idea…that he should be working with us to punish Russia.”

Separately, Secretary of State Tillerson said Washington won’t cooperate with Moscow in Syria unless it stops calling all opposition groups terrorists - a signal the Trump administration intends supporting some, perhaps all its terrorist foot soldiers, possibly suggesting continued conflict, not resolution as hoped for with Obama gone.

Two rounds of Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan achieved no breakthroughs, not auguring well for Geneva later this week - especially with no US representation or at best involvement by one or more low-level delegates.

It’s unclear what Trump intends. Even pro-Western UN envoy to Syria peace talks Staffan de Mistura asked “(w)here is the US in all this? I can’t tell you because I don’t know.”

On Press TV this morning, I was asked to comment on his remarks. I said I rarely, if ever, agree with anything he says, but this time is an exception.

I don’t know what Trump intends. Washington didn’t participate in Astana talks. It’s unclear if it’ll be involved in Geneva, and if so, at what level.

One thing is clear. If Trump and his key people want conflict resolution in Syria, it’ll happen. If not, it won’t, regardless of Russia’s good faith efforts.

So far geopolitically, it largely looks like Obama never left. America’s imperial wars keep raging, prospects for resolving any slim at best. 

Trump wants a more robust military with enhanced nuclear capability, not a responsible scaling back.

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.

Deep State Power v. Trump

Deep State Power v. Trump

by Stephen Lendman

America’s deep state is divided on Trump. He couldn’t have been elected without enough support. 

Post-inauguration, things changed. The balance of power shifted against him, leaving him vulnerable, already weakened this early in his tenure, unprecedented for a US president.

His record so far in office is another matter, though too soon to judge him definitively. Still, disturbing signs aren’t encouraging. More on this below. 

Jack Kennedy transformed himself from a warrior to a peacemaker. He paid the supreme price.

Trump is no Jack Kennedy - never was, never will be. JFK surrounded himself with young intellectuals as advisors, a cadre he called “the best and the brightest.”

He advocated progressive taxation, increased social welfare including more low-cost public housing, civil rights legislation, medical care for the elderly at a time it was affordable, and federal aid for public and higher education.

He wanted nuclear weapons abolished, the Cold War ended, followed by a “general and complete disarmament.” Heady stuff!

He opposed imperial wars, notably in Southeast Asia. He wanted all US forces out of Vietnam by December 1965.

He believed America should no longer use its might to enforce Pax Americana worldwide. He fired CIA director Allen Dulles and his assistant general Charles Cabell. He wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds,” reason enough to kill him.

He supported Palestinian rights. He opposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program. He offended energy giants, wanting their oil depletion allowance cut or eliminated.

Throughout the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, he said he “never had the slightest intention of attacking” the island state.

He favored Federal Reserve reform. His Executive Order 11110 authorized replacing central bank notes with silver certificates.

It’s believed he wanted United States notes issued, returning money creation power to Congress as the Constitution mandates.

Had he lived and won reelection, imagine the possibilities of a transformational administration, unlike any before or since in US history.

Trump’s first month in office wasn’t encouraging. Killing TPP and likely TTIP leaves the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) unaddressed.

Covering over two-thirds of world trade in services, it aims for deregulating global financial services markets more than already - allowing unrestricted exchange of personal and financial data.

Global Trade Watch director Lori Wallach explained it’ll “roll back the improvements made after the global financial crisis to safeguard consumers and financial stability and cement us into the extreme deregulatory model of the 1990s that led to the crisis in the first place and the billions in losses to consumers and governments.”

Lawyers and lobbyists for bankers and other financial interests wrote the legislation - a wish list for them at the expense of the general welfare, including supranational rules overriding national laws.

Imperial wars still rage in multiple theaters, continuing the horrors under the Clintons, Bush/Cheney and Obama. Trump’s war on immigrants is all about politics, unrelated to protecting America’s borders and national security.

Accomplishing these objectives requires no longer attacking other countries, ending support for ISIS and other terrorist groups, waging peace, not war, as well as fair, not free, trade - creating, not destroying jobs.

Firing Michael Flynn eliminated his key foreign policy advisor, leaving others in his administration vulnerable including himself.

It likely shattered hopes for improved ties with Russia other than possible changes to minor to matter. 

Hostile comments from Mike Pence, Nikki Haley and Sean Spicer aren’t what turning a new leaf in bilateral relations is all about - especially given a hostile Congress and major media.

Trump and key administration officials expressed disturbing hostility toward China and Iran. He wants increased spending for America’s bloated military, including boosting its nuclear capability. 

After bashing NATO earlier, he now calls himself a “fan” of the alliance. He wants so-called safe zones in Syria Bashar al-Assad opposes. So does Russia without his authorization.

He wants Wall Street deregulated, enabling financial giants to be more predatory than already.

His executive orders on crime fighting and keeping America safe sound ominously like increasing police state powers. 

His new FCC chairman said Net Neutrality’s days are numbered. His education secretary wants public education destroyed. His plan to repeal and replace Obamacare promises something worse instead.

His defense secretary is a hardened warrior. James Mattis didn’t earn four stars by waging peace. He and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed hostility toward Russia, China and Iran.

Trump’s first few weeks in office were disturbing, likely indicating what’s to come. 

Lofty rhetoric is one thing, policymaking another. America should be great for everyone. 

Rising equity prices suggest Trump wants things better for the privileged few - the way it’s always been.

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.

Mocking Vladimir Putin

Mocking Vladimir Putin

by Stephen Lendman

Dark forces in America consider him public enemy number one. So do media scoundrels, notably The New York Times, bashing him relentlessly, again on Sunday, comparing him to Trump.

On December 31, 1999, he became acting president after Boris Yeltsin resigned, his deplorable tenure finally over, wrecking the country, transforming it into a shock therapy laboratory, creating dystopian harshness for most Russians.

In 2000, Putin was elected president, reelected in 2004 with a 72% majority, succeeded by Dmitry Medvedev in 2008, then elected again overwhelmingly in 2012.

He’s been Russia’s president for nearly 14 years. The Times erroneously said 17. He’s by far the nation’s most popular politician, enjoying an approval rating of around 80%.

In 2015, Time magazine called him the world’s most influential person. Since 2013, Forbes ranked him the most powerful.

He deplores war, supports peace and stability, seeks mutual cooperation with all nations, believes rule of law principles are inviolate.

He’s polar opposite US warrior leaders, deserving universal praise, not criticism. Not according to The Times, falsely claiming he ordered US election hacking despite no evidence suggesting it.

Its fake news story accused Trump associates of having pre-election contacts with Russian intelligence - again no evidence proving it.

The Times blasted him and Trump in the same article, accusing America’s president of having an “unseemly embrace of the Russian tough guy,” suggesting something rotten going on, adding:

Trump’s “rhetoric and actions as president bear more than a passing resemblance to those of Mr. Putin…”

Fact: Their rhetorical styles differ markedly. Trump is animated, boisterous and populist-sounding. Putin is measured and reserved. Each leader communicates effectively.

Fact: Trump’s actions so far differ greatly from Putin’s - a businessman turned politician v. a preeminent statesman. A warrior v. a peacemaker. 

Trump saying he wants to make America great again so far is just political rhetoric. Putin revitalized Russia from the devastating neoliberal 90s.

He made great progress despite lots more remaining to be accomplished. Overcoming a lost decade takes time. 

He governs democratically, unlike how he’s falsely portrayed. His anti-terrorism mission in Syria changed the dynamic on the ground, an antidote to America’s imperial agenda - on the right side of history morally, ethically and legally.

He never attacked another country. Claims of so-called “Russian aggression” are falsified. In contrast, America’s war on terrorism is a complete fabrication, Trump yet to prove he intends changing things.

Putin is arguably the most important world leader, a true peace champion, unlike bipartisan neocons infesting Washington.

The Times: America has a (long) record of success with constitutional democracy that should outlive the Trump era.”

Fact: Democracy in America is pure illusion. Powerful interests run things, not “we the people.”

The Times lied calling governance in Russia “no-longer-existing democracy…” Its system shames how America is run, bordering on tyranny approaching full-blown.

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 Back on the Stump

Trump Back on the Stump

by Stephen Lendman

On Saturday, he addressed supporters in Melbourne, FL, his wife Melania introducing him.

He’s most comfortable in this element, saying he wanted to speak “without the filter of fake news - the dishonest media…publishing one false story after another with no sources…”

He came to tout his agenda without explaining his disturbing start, his first 30 days in office far from encouraging.

He justifiably went on a rampage against media scoundrels. They’re “a big part of the problem,” he said. “They are part of the corrupt system…They have their own agenda…(W)e will continue to expose them for what they are…”

He’s right about inheriting an enormous mess. He hasn’t improved things so far, despite claiming otherwise. He’s filling the swamp, not draining it.

He made lots of lofty promises earlier and yesterday with little to show for them so far - deserving more justifiable criticism than praise.

He bragged about authorizing environmentally destructive Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, exaggerating the number of jobs they’ll create, failing to explain they’re short-term, most no longer needed once construction is completed. The damage they’ll cause is forever.

His touted war on regulations is great for big business, bad for consumer rights and ecosanity. His EPA chief Scott Pruitt has deep ties to America’s energy industry, including billionaires Charles and David Koch.

He won’t be “environmentally friendly,” as Trump claimed - nor a “great secretary.” He’ll make “a big difference (moving away from) clogging up the veins of our country with environmental impact statements and all of the rules and regulations,” Trump added.

What’s vitally needed, Trump opposes. Letting companies “navigate” freely assures greater environmental destruction than already - polluting land, air, and water, Americans getting unsafe foods to eat.

“…I’ve taken decisive action to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country,” he roared. Not a word about ending US support for these elements. Nothing about halting America’s imperial wars or wasting trillions of dollars waging them.

The best way to keep the nation safe is by no longer harming people worldwide, waging peace, not war, aiding the poor and disadvantaged at home, treating everyone everywhere equitably, serving all Americans, not just its privileged few.

So far, Trump is long on lofty promises, short on fulfilling what matters most to ordinary people.

Will things improve in the weeks and months ahead? Can he survive attacks intending to weaken and likely remove him from office?

Whatever his good intentions, if any, he’s no match against dark forces wanting things run their way.

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.

Rallying for Peace in Donbass, Putin Extends Outreach

Rallying for Peace in Donbass, Putin Extends Outreach

by Stephen Lendman

On the second anniversary of the Minsk II peace agreement, thousands of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) residents rallied against Kiev’s aggression.

A moment of silence honoring regime victims proceeded a march and rally for conflict resolution.

Addressing the crowd, DPR deputy chairwoman Olga Makeeva said “(d)uring the Minsk talks the world has heard us, and they know the truth. They talk more and more that it’s Ukraine who’s guilty in deaths of innocent people…”

Since Washington’s February 2014 coup, Russia was falsely accused of “aggression” in Ukraine, committed by Kiev forces, escalated in late January. Trump said nothing to condemn it.

On Saturday, Putin signed a decree, recognizing documents and license plates of vehicles registered to Donbass citizens and residents.

According to the Kremlin press service, Putin acted “to protect rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen and in accordance with generally accepted principles and norms of international humanitarian law.”

His decree is provisional until conflict resolution is achieved, nowhere in sight so far. It states:

“The Russian Federation recognizes the identity documents, education and/or qualification documents; certificates of birth, marriage (divorce), change of name, death; vehicle ownership certificates and license plates of vehicles issued by relevant bodies (organizations), de facto operating in the given areas, to citizens of Ukraine and persons without citizenship permanently residing in those areas.”

Donbass residents are free to enter Russia without visas, required only to present ID documents. The decree became effective with Putin’s signature, extending responsible outreach to the region’s people, suffering from Kiev’s aggression.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Russia Denies Violating INF Treaty Provisions

Russia Denies Violating INF Treaty Provisions

by Stephen Lendman

Historic US/Russia (Reagan/Gorbachev) 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty provisions required the elimination of all nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges of 310 - 620 miles (short-range) and 620 - 3,420 miles (intermediate range), along with their launchers.

Compliance is monitored by technical means, on site inspections and cooperative measures. The agreement was the first bilateral treaty designed to reduce nuclear arms. Previous ones only established ceilings.

Last Tuesday, acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner (an Obama holdover) wrongfully accused Russia of violating its INF Treaty obligations - alleging a 2014 violation.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov debunked Toner’s comments, saying “Russia has been and remains committed to its international commitments, including to the treaty in question. Nobody has formally accused Russia of violating the treaty.”

US media scoundrels accused Moscow of breaching the INF Treaty, citing no credible evidence proving it. None exists.

According to Russian upper house Federation Council International Relations chairman Konstantin Kosachev, “(t)he main objective of this campaign is to prevent (Trump) from making a U-turn over the Atlantic, I mean, to prevent him from reconsidering the transatlantic policies of the United States that are set at establishing the monopolar model of the world order.”

The aim is keeping Americans fearful over an imagined Russian threat. It doesn’t exist so must be invented.

Neocon, CIA-connected Washington Post editors hyped the nonexistent threat, falsely claiming a Russian INF violation, urging Trump to confront Moscow, “holding out the possibility of military countermeasures…”

WaPo deplores peace and stability, craves wars and other belligerent confrontations, promoting its agenda with fake news.

America and other Western nations need leadership courageous enough to go another way. Campaigning as a peace president, Obama later bragged about being at war throughout his entire tenure.

Trump complained about spending trillions of dollars on wasteful foreign wars instead of using the resources for vital homeland needs.

He also promised to “rebuild” America’s military, continuing wasteful spending if he follows through.

The nation needs lots more butter, far less guns. No leadership is willing to wage world peace and stability instead of endless imperial wars.

Russia has cause for concern. So does humanity.

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.