Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sanders' Dubious Our Revolution Initiative

Sanders’ Dubious Our Revolution Initiative

by Stephen Lendman

He’s no more a progressive revolutionary than any other member of Congress, nor Washington’s bipartisan criminal class, bureaucrats included - Sanders a card-carrying member throughout his deplorable political career.

Endorsing Hillary Clinton after rhetorically campaigning against what she represents exposed his duplicity - a progressive in name only. An opportunist for his own self-interest, he wants his extended 15 minutes of fame made more long-lasting.

Claiming his new initiative “will fight to transform America and advance the progressive agenda (he) believe(s) in” belies his deplorable House and Senate voting records, on the wrong side of most major issues, especially supporting most US wars of aggression.

A separate Sanders Institute intends operating like his Our Revolution initiative. Maybe his real aim is cashing in on his high-profile persona - including a new book due out in mid-November titled “Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In.”

Save your money. Its contents are clear without reading it - the same mumbo jumbo rubbish he used while campaigning.

It excludes his deplorable history of promising one thing, doing another, going along with Washington scoundrels like Hillary to get along, betraying his loyal supporters - the real Sanders he wants concealed.

On August 24, The New York Times said his Our Revolution initiative “has been met with criticism and controversy over its financing and management.”

It’s “draw(ing) from the same pool of ‘dark money’ (he) condemned” while campaigning. After his former campaign manager Jeff Weaver was hired to lead the group, “the majority of its staff resigned,” said The Times - described as “eight core staff members…”

“The group’s entire organizing department quit this week, along with people working in digital and data positions.” They refused to reconsider after Sanders urged them to stay on.

A major concern is the group’s tax status as a 501(c)(4) organization able to get large donations from anonymous sources - meaning the usual ones buying influence, letting Sanders pretend to be progressive and revolutionary while operating otherwise.

Claire Sandberg was the initiative’s organizing director. “I left and others left because we were alarmed that Jeff (Weaver) would mismanage this organization as he mismanaged the campaign,” she explained.

She fears Weaver will “betray its core purpose by accepting money from billionaires and not remaining grassroots funded and plowing that billionaire cash into TV instead of investing it in building a genuine movement.” 

Vermont GOP vice chairman Brady Toensing blasted Sanders for “preach(ing) transparency and then tr(ying) to set up the most shadowy of shadowy fund-raising organization to support” what he claims to endorse.

“What I’m seeing here is a senator who is against big money in politics, but only when” it applies to others, not himself, Toensing added.

Campaign Legal Center’s Paul S. Ryan said “(t)here are definitely some red flags with respect to the formation of this group…We’re in a murky area.”

Is Sanders’ real aim self-promotion and enrichment? Is his Our Revolution more a scheme than an honest initiative? 

Is it sort of like the Clinton Foundation, Sanders wanting to grab all he can - only much less able to match the kind of super-wealth Bill and Hillary amassed?

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.

Student Teachers and Research Assistants Win Right to Organize at US Private Universities


Student Teachers and Research Assistants Win Right to Organize at US Private Universities

by Stephen Lendman

They’re workers like all others, their profession teaching and related activities. On Tuesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB - a shadow of its New Deal origination under the 1935 Wagner Act) ruled on a case Columbia graduate students initiated.

They’ll now have collective bargaining rights like other workers. The decision extends beyond graduate students to the doctoral level. Undergraduate teaching and research assistants are included.

They’ll be able to bargain collectively for all rights they consider important. Administrators at my alma mater opposed unionization. Harvard University president Drew Faust said it would change the student/faculty relationship to an employer/worker one.

Last February, Harvard and other universities filed a joint amicus brief to the NLRB, arguing against collective bargaining rights - wanting management alone to have them.

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Science spokeswoman Anna Cowenhoven likely spoke for others, saying “the relationship between students and the university is primarily about education…”

True enough. She absurdly and arrogantly added that “unionization will disrupt academic programs and freedoms, mentoring and research at Harvard.” 

How she didn’t explain. Fundamental collective bargaining rights don’t disrupt the academic environment or conflict with it in any way. They give new meaning to academic freedom Harvard and most other Western colleges and universities claim to support.

Columbia grad student Paul Katz involved in the organizing effort said “(w)hat we’re fundamentally concerned about isn’t the money. It’s a question of power and democracy in (academia) that’s increasingly corporatized (and) hierarchical.”

Majority NLRB members overturned a 2004 board decision involving Brown University student assistants - ruling they couldn’t be considered employees because they “are primarily students and have a primarily educational, not economic, relationship with their university.”

One doesn’t conflict with the other. Fundamental rights matter  under all relationships between management and members of businesses and organizations, including academic ones.

Grad students at various public universities won the right to organize under state laws. It should be universal for all types of workers - blue and white collar ones in all lines of work.

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 Patient with America to a Fault

Russia Patient with America to a Fault

by Stephen Lendman

Despite Russia’s best efforts to have things otherwise, relations with America are adversarial.

They’ve been this way for the past century despite a short-term alliance of convenience to defeat Nazi Germany in WW II - Russia deserving most of the credit, America a junior partner.

Nothing in prospect suggests improved bilateral relations. Washington remains committed to regime change, wanting Russia transformed into a US colony, its huge land mass partitioned for easier control, its resources looted, its people exploited as serfs, letting Wall Street and other American monied interests profit from their misery.

Paul Craig Roberts asked if Russia can survive Washington’s challenge, saying its “real danger…lies in (its) desire for Western acceptance.” Their people are “doomed” as long as their leaders maintain this mindset.

It’s refreshing when some of their officials blast US policy and likely intensions, straight talk using largely diplomatic rhetoric.

On August 24, its Foreign Ministry said Washington’s “attempt to flirt with Jabhat al-Nusra is fraught with fostering another terrorist monster.”

“We…consider the American line in Syrian affairs to be slightly inconsistent and illogical. The Americans are putting up new conditions with an aim to give a respite to Jabhat al-Nusra and its combat allies to enable them to continue an armed confrontation with the government troops.”

“Suggesting that American and other partners give up destructive rhetoric, we once again confirm readiness for responsible and efficient cooperation in fight against a universal terrorist threat in Syria and in the region.”

Separately during a Security Council meeting, Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin urged America and its imperial partners to “look itself in the mirror” before criticizing Moscow’s policy in Syria.

He minced no words, saying “(u)nfortunately, some of the Council’s members (meaning America, Britain and France) tend to hold incorrect or, frankly speaking, dishonest discussion.” 

“They drag provocative insinuations into the Security Council concerning the work of Russian air forces while remaining silent over their own unjustifiable actions.”

He accused Washington and its so-called “coalition” partners of killing and injuring hundreds of Syrian civilians, along with using its terrorist foot soldiers to obstruct delivery of humanitarian aid.

He said “drop your rhetoric…deal with your actions…Then the number of tragedies in the world will diminish.”

The problem with these type comments and others like them is Russia courts favor in the West to a fault, harming its own self-interest.

On the one hand, it’s sound policy stressing diplomacy over belligerent confrontation - especially between the world’s two dominant nuclear powers. 

On the other, it’s fruitless to believe America will ever treat sovereign independent Russia with the respect and normalized relations it deserves.

With this in mind, Moscow should act appropriately, serving its own interests responsibly, fostering peace, stability and cooperative relations with all nations, while refusing to be bullied by any of them - especially America.

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.

Turkish Forces Enter Syria on Phony Pretext of Combating ISIS

Turkish Forces Enter Syria on Phony Pretext of Combating ISIS

by Stephen Lendman

Turkey supports ISIS and other terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq. At the same time, it’s waging war on Kurds in both countries as well as at home.

On August 24, its forces entered Syria pre-dawn as part of its war to prevent a Kurdistan formation on its border, perhaps eventually including southeastern Turkish and northern Iraqi territory, areas with large Kurdish populations.

Below is how Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News (HDN) reported what happened with a caveat. Most media in Turkey are state influenced, restricted, directly or indirectly controlled.

Here’s the timeline as reported for what Turkish Armed Forces call cross-border Euphrates Shield. HDN reported it in reverse order through 10:39AM local time:

“10:39 a.m. - TSK howitzers and rocket launchers carry out 294 strikes on 81 ISIL targets.

10:30 a.m. - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Ankara on Aug. 24 hours after a joint operation by the Turkish military and the coalition forces launched in the ISIL-held Jarablus region in Syria.

9:27 a.m. - Mortar shells fired across the border from Jarablus by ISIL militants have dropped onto a empty field in central Karkamış. No casualties are reported. 

9:05 a.m. - According to military sources, howitzers have directly hit 70 ISIL targets. 

8:36 a.m. - The Doğan News Agency live broadcast shows Turkish tanks approaching the Syrian border and passage opening operations reach an end. 

8:07 a.m. - According to Reuters, Turkish tanks have begun its strikes on ISIL targets. 

7:50 a.m. - According to military sources, 12 ISIL targets have been directly hit.

7:48 a.m. - Doğan News Agency reports that Turkish tanks have arrived at the Syrian border. 

7:25 a.m. - Some parts of the border province of Gaziantep, from where the operation was initiated, are declared a special security region. 

7:15 a.m. - Military sources deny the claims that ground operations have begun and say operations to open passages through the border were still ongoing. 

6:30 a.m. - Jarablus is hit by Turkish Armed Forces.  

6:10 a.m. - Turkish F-16 jets carry out another operation on ISIL targets. 

6:08 a.m. - For the first time since Nov. 24, 2015, when Turkey downed a Russian jet above Syria, Turkish Armed Forces carry out aerial operations in Syria. They shoot targets that have been designated by ground special forces. 

5:55 a.m. - Turkish special forces enter Syria. 

5:45 a.m.  - Howitzer and rocket launcher attacks conclude. Until this hour some 224 launches were conducted on 63 targets. 

4:05 a.m.  - TSK begin using construction machines to carry out passages through the Turkish-Syrian border from points that been chosen beforehand. 

4:00 a.m.  - TSK howitzers and rockets launchers begin to strike at ISIL targets in Jarablus.” 

Tass said Ankara informed Russia about its operation in advance. Turkey’s military is operating jointly with US-backed anti-Syrian terrorists and reportedly with Pentagon warplanes, alone enough to raise red flags about the mission’s objective - perhaps conveniently timed with Joe Biden arriving in Ankara on Wednesday for talks with President Erdogan and Prime Minister Yildirim.

Turkish military sources said operations to control Jarablus may take two weeks. How large a ground operation is planned remains to be seen, along with how Washington intends using Ankara’s incursion to aid its terrorist foot soldiers battle Syrian government forces.

The operation isn’t about “ensur(ing) border security and Syria’s territorial integrity while supporting the US-led coalition against the Islamic State” as Turkey’s military claims.

It’s day one of its mission. It remains to be seen how things develop. On Tuesday, Syria’s UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari accused Ankara, Riyadh and Qatar of providing military, financial and other support to ISIS and other US-backed terrorists battling government forces, massacring civilians, committing other atrocities.

Separately from Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, John Kerry said talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov may end soon. Both sides remain intractably apart.

Moscow’s best efforts for conflict resolution accomplished nothing. Washington wants war, not peace, Assad forcefully or otherwise ousted, Syria transformed into another US colony.

Russia remains committed to its sovereign independence, territorial integrity and right of its people alone to decide who’ll lead them - free from foreign interference.

Endless war could continue for years. If Hillary succeeds Obama, expect escalation, not diminution of conflict, risking possible East/West confrontation she seems itching for.

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.

Paralympics Should Reflect the Best of the Human Spirit

Paralympics Should Reflect the Best of the Human Spirit

by Stephen Lendman

Athletes competing in Olympic or other contests, despite all sorts of physical impairments and disabilities, reflect the best of sport - individuals with courage to go on with their lives, not letting physical or other limitations stop them from being the best they can be.

For them, competing alone is winning. Showing up is its own reward. Banning numerous Russian athletes from Rio 2016 and its entire Paralympian team because of US pressure further disgraces already hugely tarnished Olympism - more about spectacle, profiteering and exploitation than sport at its finest.

In early August, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) banned Russian athletes from participating in Paralympian competition next month - following a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommendation, under heavy pressure from Washington to act, perhaps the lowest form of Russia bashing, its courageous Paralympians victimized by US imperial arrogance.

Russia’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was rejected. Hundreds of Russian Paralympians are being wrongfully denied their right to compete.

Russian sporting legend, three-time Olympian gold medalist Irina Rodnina, current lower house State Duma parliamentarian, spoke for others, saying:

I am more than sure that it is a wrongful decision, but the main thing is that it is inhumane. Taking it out on physically challenged people, on people for whom it is not just sports of highest achievement, not a profession, but a possibility to feel they are individuals…to take part in competitions. Sport has become raison d’etre for many of them.”

Rio 2016 will long be remembered as Olympism at its worst for wrongfully banishing Russian athletes and Paralympians.

Unjustly banning them reflects disgraceful collective punishment, talented athletes deserving the right to compete used as geopolitical pawns.

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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Adolph Trump?

Adolph Trump?

by Stephen Lendman

Make no mistake. He’s a deplorable choice for president. The problem is Hillary’s worse, a despicable character I call the most ruthlessly dangerous presidential aspirant in US history based on her deplorable public record.

Comparisons with Trump aren’t straightforward as he’s never held public office - so it’s only possible judging him from his rhetoric and what’s known about how he does business as it relates to how he might govern.

Billionaires are shady characters by nature. Getting super-rich requires operating and getting away with dealings far different from someone like myself in small family business for many years - playing by the rules, observing the law, cheating no one, earning an honest living by providing an honest service without connections in high places providing an unfair advantage.

Trump’s foreign policy, by his own admission, will be hawkish if elected president. Yet psychologist Kevin Dutton calling him more psychopathic than Hitler creates the appearance of fronting for Hillary’s campaign. Was he hired to demonize Trump?

Notable independent leaders refusing to bow to Washington’s will, like Vladmir Putin and Hugo Chavez, are deplorably compared to Hitler - US officials and supportive media scoundrels willfully lying.

Dutton’s Psychopathic Personality Inventory - Revised (PPI-R) methodology is imperfect under the best of circumstances. Yet he based his analysis on Trump without direct personal contact. Practicing psychologists and psychiatrists operating this way would likely be called quacks.

Dutton says traits constituting psychopathy include fearlessness, cold-heartedness, egocentricity, ruthlessness, self-confidence, charisma, and dishonesty with deficits in empathy and conscience.

Some are positive, others not, Dutton saying “great and terrible leaders score higher than the general population for psychopathic traits, but it is the mix of those traits that determines success.”

“For example, someone who scores highly for being influential, fearless and cold hearted could be a decisive leader who can make dispassionate decisions. If those traits are accompanied by a high score on blaming others, they might be a genocidal demagogue.”

Psychoanalysis is an imperfect science at best - qualitative, not quantitative without lab and other tests needed to diagnose disease. Conducting it without direct personal contact with a subject makes it highly suspect.

In the case of a presidential aspirant like Trump, overwhelmingly opposed by establishment interests, including media scoundrels assailing him relentlessly, claiming he’s more Hitlerian than Hitler frames him based on dubious circumstantial evidence - over-the-top bashing in service to Hillary.

Both candidates are unfit to serve, she the worst of the two. Arms-length psychological evaluation is no way to judge how deplorable they’ll be, especially since presidents and other high office holders represent the interests of their backers, governing accordingly.

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 Propaganda Paid for in Syrian Blood

Western Propaganda Paid for in Syrian Blood

by Stephen Lendman

In his important book, titled “The Dirty War on Syria” Tim Anderson discusses how US naked aggression on a nonbelligerent country relies on “a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory.”

There’s nothing civil about war in Syria, raped by US imperialism, wanting pro-Western puppet governance replacing its sovereign independence.

Media scoundrels are complicit in what’s going on, supporting US-sponsored mass slaughter and destruction instead of denouncing it.

Writer, photographer, peace activist Vanessa Beeley interviewed Assad political and media advisor Bouthiana Shaaban in Damascus.

Below are some highlights, the full interview posted on the 21st Century Wire web site.

Straightaway Shaaban said “(w)e are paying for (Western anti-Syrian) propaganda with our blood” - over half a million killed, mostly civilians, multiples more wounded, many maimed for life, and half the population internally or externally displaced because America wants another imperial trophy, no matter the cost in Syrian blood and misery.

She blasted how media scoundrels distort reality, saying “(t)hey came here with accusatory questions, they didn’t come here to know what is going on. They came here to ask me why are you working with a man who is ‘killing his own people.’ “

“What an ugly start for an interview. I said there is no point, they come here to gain credibility but only to re-confirm their own story rather than to find out what is really going on. I didn’t want to be used to ‘re-confirm’ their own story or to give them credibility.”

Key points Shaaban made were as follows:

“(W)e are going through a third world war, without naming it…”

Western countries “promote their own way of life, their own ideology…at the expense of” countless millions of others.

“(T)he way the system is working in the west has (no) ‘democracy’ for us…(no) ‘human rights’ for us,” no respect for the culture, history and rights of other people.

“So, leave us alone - that is really our message and unfortunately the calculus of politics in the west has no consideration whatsoever for the way people feel or for their aspirations.”

“The problem with the western system is that they think they are superior, and they think that they want to ‘civilize’ us, and they want us to come up to their ‘standards,’ and I hate when I hear Obama or any US official talking about American exceptionalism” - humanity’s scourge by how it operates.

“We are fighting a war on the ground but it is also a clash of values.“ Peace and stability aren’t possible without “co-operation between east and west…”

“I feel that the western support for Israel against the Palestinian people and the destruction of a whole people and their identity by Israel shows that what the west cares about is for Israel to be the powerful state in the region for the next fifty or a hundred years. In order for Israel to be the prevailing force in the Middle East it is necessary to destroy Arabic culture.”

“…I can see a union of evil between the Gulf States and Israel and western systems.”

“What is the significance of President Assad? He is credible, people believe in him, Arab people believe in him.”  

“They do not want anybody like that to have influence. I feel there is a huge plan against all of us.”

America’s rape of Syria is one of history’s great crimes, mass slaughter and destruction its strategy, the same one used against all nations it targets for regime change.

Humanity’s fate depends on stopping this scourge before it annihilates us all.

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.

Latest Hillary Email Scandal Revelation

Latest Hillary Email Scandal Revelation

by Stephen Lendman

Hillary lied about not having classified State Department material on her personal home server. She lied about turning over to the State Department all emails relating to agency business.

On Monday, the FBI announced discovery of 15,000 previously undisclosed emails. Some are personal. Others show foreign officials sought favors in return for large Clinton Foundation donations.

Judicial Watch (JW) president Tom Fitton asked “(w)hen will State release them? It looks like the State Department is trying to slow-roll the release of the records. They’ve had them for at least a month, and we still don’t know when we’re going to get them.”

A Monday court hearing was held to rule on a release schedule. The same day, JW said it “released 725 pages of new State Department documents…”

They “includ(e) previously unreleased email exchanges in which former Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin provided influential Clinton Foundation donors special, expedited access to the secretary of state.” 

“In many instances, the preferential treatment provided to donors was at the specific request of Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band.”

New documents include 20 Hillary email exchanges not previously turned over to State - 191 so far known excluded from 55,000 emails released.

More than a dozen newly released email exchanges show foreign officials donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative to gain State Department access - part of the Clintons’ pay-to-play scheme dating from when Bill was president.

JW was blunt saying what’s known to date “contradict(s) statements by Clinton that, ‘as far as she knew,’ all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.”

How much more official agency business material remains undiscovered, including easily hacked classified documents?

In one message exchange, Clinton Foundation’s Doug Band emailed Abedin, her deputy chief of staff at State and presidential campaign co-chair, about a “good friend of ours,” Bahrain’s crown prince Salman “asking to see her” in June 2009.

He couldn’t arrange a meeting through normal channels, had to go through the Clinton Foundation instead. JW’s Fitton explained he donated over $32 million to the Clinton Global Initiative from 2005 - 2010. Bahrain made separate donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Fitton said this case (and numerous others like it) raise “the question whether public office was illegally used to benefit a private entity or private individual.”

In her June deposition to JW, Abedin said part of her job at State was taking care of “Clinton family matters.”

Apparently she served as gatekeeper for who got access to Hillary at State in return for large donations to the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative - clear pay-to-play chicanery, corruption by any standard.

Hillary remains unaccountable. This and numerous other examples of how she operates illegally show she’s unfit to hold any public office, especially the nation’s highest.

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.

Pentagon Threatens to Down Russian and Syrian Planes

Pentagon Threatens to Down Russian and Syrian Planes

by Stephen Lendman

Syrian land and airspace are sovereign state territory. No foreign power may deny its military or other aircraft from operating anywhere within its borders - or Russian planes and ground personnel invited by its government.

America and its rogue partners operate illegally in Syria. On the phony pretext of combating ISIS, they’re waging war on its government, terror-bombing selected targets, using terrorists called “moderate rebels” as imperial foot soldiers on the ground.

After a near confrontation between Syrian and US aircraft last week in territory where American special forces operate on the ground aiding terrorist fighters, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook outrageously said “(w)e would advise the Syrian regime to steer clear of those areas.”

In other words, don’t attack US-supported death squads killing Syrian civilian and military personnel. 

We are going to defend our people on the ground, and do what we need to defend them,” Cook stressed. Claiming an illegally imposed US de facto no-fly zone isn’t one, Cook added “the Syrian regime would be wise to avoid areas where coalition forces have been operating.”

He threatened Russia, saying “(i)f they threaten US forces, we always have the right to defend” them.”

Last Friday, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said two Syrian Su-24 warplanes attacked Kurdish forces training with US Special Operations troops. They left the area before US aircraft intercepted them.

In response, a Syrian Army General Command statement said Kurdish forces were “attacking state institutions, stealing oil and cotton, obstructing exams, kidnapping unarmed civilians and spreading chaos and instability.”

Last Saturday, commander of US forces in Syria and Iraq General Stephen Townsend threatened Russia and Syria, saying “we will defend ourselves if we feel threatened.”

During a Monday Security Council session, Syrian UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari blasted nations claiming to be “friends of the Syrian people” while supporting terrorist elements massacring them.

He criticized UN General-Secretariat reports, willfully falsifying facts on the humanitarian situation. He denounced characterizing foreign-supported terrorists as “armed opposition” elements.

He stressed conflict won’t end until terrorism is defeated, its backers ceasing to support it. His government granted no permission for the US-led “international alliance” to operate in Syrian territory - in its airspace or on the ground.

He explained US warplanes destroyed a power plant supplying Aleppo with electricity. So-called “friends of the Syrian people” are its worst enemies.

Instead of combating terrorism, they support it. Millions of suffering Syrians attest to their barbarity.

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.

The Price of US Olympian Arrogance

The Price of US Olympian Arrogance

The behavior of gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte and three of his teammates (Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen) in Rio was deplorable - explained in a previous article.

They were caught red-handed lying about being robbed. Out of sheer stupidity, arrogance and drunkenness, they caused thousands of dollars of damage to a gas station.

Their behavior resembled how America operates worldwide - raping and pillaging countries for power and profits.

In Lochte’s case, he learned a painful lesson, losing all his major lucrative endorsement deals. According to ESPN, Speedo, Ralph Lauren, Gentle Hair Removal and Airweave dropped him.

Speedo said it would donate $50,000 of his endorsement fee to Save The Children, to be used for Brazilian children.

In a statement, Lochte said “I respect Speedo’s decision and am grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years. I am proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved together.”

A Ralph Lauren statement said it “continues to proudly sponsor the US Olympic and Paralympic Team and the values that its athletes embody.” 

“Ralph Lauren's endorsement agreement with Ryan Lochte was specifically in support of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the company will not be renewing his contract.”

His other corporate sponsors issued similar statements. His troubles aren’t over. He and his three teammates face disciplinary action from the US Olympic Committee. CEO Scott Blackmun said it’s coming.

International Olympic Committee  (IOC) member Anita DeFrantz, blasted the four swimmers, saying “(t)hey have forever put themselves on the kind of list that you don’t want to be remembered for. (They) insulted a whole nation.”

A recklessly celebratory night on the town turned Olympian fame into infamy. It’s typical yankee mentality, wanting control over all other countries, asserting America’s will arrogantly, demanding world governments play by Washington rules.

In the case of Lochte and his teammates, they apparently think it’s OK to behave anyway they please abroad, perhaps especially in Latin America.

Secretary of State John Kerry used the imperial designation “our back yard” in April 2013 comments before House Foreign Affairs Committee members - highlighting Monroe Doctrine arrogance, now extended to mean planet earth and space.

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.

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Developments on Russia's Use of Iran's Hamadan Airbase

New Developments on Russia’s Use of Iran’s Hamadan Airbase

by Stephen Lendman

Days earlier, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqhan gave Russia permission to use its Hamadan airbase against terrorists in Syria as long as needed.

“The decision will remain in place until there is no need in it,” he said. “Reception of Russian aircraft at the airbase in Hamadan is carried out in the framework of mutual cooperation and the fight against terrorism at the request of the Syrian government,” he explained.

For several days last week, Russia conducted large-scale strikes on ISIS and Nusra Front from the facility - destroying six command and control centers, five depots storing weapons, munitions and fuel, along with military equipment, causing heavy casualties at the same time.

On August 22, Tass reported Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi, saying Russia temporarily ceased aerial missions from Iran’s base. They’ve stopped “for now,” adding:

“We have a number of agreements with Russia on conducting joint (anti-terrorist) operations. One such agreement envisages the possibility that Iran may grant Russia use of its airspace and infrastructures to fight terrorism in Syria.” 

“Russia and Iran stand closely on the issue of fighting terrorism and the Islamic State. The situation in the region is a very sensitive one. Iran’s own security depends on it and it is of paramount importance to us.”

Pause doesn’t mean cessation of Russian aerial operations from Iranian territory. Daily intelligence assessments by both countries decide on tactics to be used.

Operations could resume whenever both countries agree it’s strategically important. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted saying “Russia has no base in Iran and is not stationed here. They did this (operation) and it is finished for now.”

Defense Minister Dehghan said there’s “no written agreement” between both countries for use of the Hamadan base. They’re involved in “operational cooperation.”

Some reports indicate Dehghan chided Moscow for publicizing the arrangement. If so, it makes little sense.

Russian missions from Iranian territory are easily monitored by 
Western and regional intelligence, making it impossible to keep them secret. 

They’d be leaked to media scoundrels for Russian and Iran bashing stories. Russia beat them to the punch by informing Washington of its intentions before the first mission.

Moscow, Tehran, Damascus and China share common concerns about America’s regional imperial threat. Whether they intend united military resistance remains to be seen.

If they ally against all heavily armed US-supported anti-government terrorist groups, the corner could be turned decisively in the war.

At the same time, Hillary succeeding Obama will likely mean greater US involvement, fraught with unpredictable dangers.

After years of US aggression  using ISIS and other terrorist groups as imperial foot soldiers, the worst for Syrians and the region may lie ahead - a dismal prospect to imagine after what’s been done already.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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