Anti-Iranian Propaganda

by Stephen Lendman
When America goes to war or plans one, media scoundrels march in lockstep. Articles, commentaries, editorials, and broadcasts feature Washington handout-style journalism.
Managed news misinformation substitutes for truth and full disclosure. Readers and viewers are deceived and betrayed.
For years, Iran and Syria have been targeted for regime change. Independent governments aren’t tolerated. Puppet ones are planned to replace them. Scoundrel media play leading roles.
On May 24, The New York Times headlined “Iran Nuclear Talks End with No Deal.”
P5+1 talks failed as expected. Washington bears full responsibility. Deal-making isn’t at issue. It’s portraying Iran as uncooperative for added justification to wage war.
“The six wanted a freeze on Iranian production of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, which is considered a short step from bomb grade.”
In fact, it’s a giant one to 90% required for weapons making. It’s especially so without intent to produce them.
Medical isotopes and other peaceful applications require 20%. NPT provisions permit it. Iran fully complies. Washington and Israel are serial violators. Their belligerence threatens humanity. Tehran threatens no one.
EU lead negotiator Catherine Ashton said “very intense and detailed discussions (left) significant differences” unresolved. They’ll remain so in future meetings. A June 18-19 Moscow one is planned. Nothing substantive will change.
“We will maintain intensive contacts with our Iranian counterparts to prepare a further meeting in Moscow,” Ashton announced.
Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili said:
“Of the main topics in using peaceful nuclear energy is the topic of having the nuclear fuel cycle and enrichment. We emphasize this right.”
“This is an undeniable right of the Iranian nation….especially the right to enrich uranium.” If P5+1 nations negotiate in good faith, “we will, of course, welcome some offer to cooperate on.”
Iran didn’t go to Baghdad to surrender. Its position won’t change in Moscow. Washington demands it. The Times left that and other key issues unaddressed and/or misreported.
On May 26, Reuters headlined “Iran has enough uranium for 5 bombs: expert,” saying:
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) claims “Iran has significantly stepped up its output of low-enriched uranium and total production in the last five years (to provide) enough for at least five nuclear weapons if refined much further.”
David Albright heads ISIS. He impersonates a nuclear expert. He’s a former pseudo-UN weapons inspector. Former Iraq chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter called him a “nuclear expert who never was.”
His “track record (reveals) half-baked analyses derived from questionable sources….He breathes false legitimacy into these factually challenged stories by” claiming fake credentials.
Albright founded ISIS. It’s self-serving. It shuns truth. He fronts for power, privilege, and war profiteers. He’s part of Washington’s anti-Iranian agenda. In Iraq, he played the same role. He’s a pro-imperial opportunist.
In June 1996, he appeared once as as a pseudo-Iraq weapons inspector. His role was political, not scientific. He observed and regurgitated what Washington wanted to hear. He’s doing it now on Iran. His credibility is sorely lacking. He has none.
Claiming Iran is able to produce five bombs is inflammatory and misleading. All nations with commercial reactors produce enough uranium and plutonium for bomb-making. Only a handful, in fact, do it.
Iran isn’t one of them. That’s the headline not featured. Instead, deceptive ones heighten tensions for war.
IAEA head Yukiya Amano represents Western, not global interests fairly. He serves Washington’s anti-Iranian agenda. On May 25, he claimed inspectors found Fordo plant enriched uranium traces up to 27%.
Around 90% is needed for bomb-making. Iran purifies to 20%. Most amounts are around 3.5%. Traces signify nothing. Iran’s main stockpile complies with what it claims. No weapons development or production evidence exists.
At times, over-enrichment occurs. It’s normal, not unusual or cheating. Technicians adjust accordingly. IAEA inspectors should have left it unmentioned.
Media scoundrels, of course, jump on it in headlines. Many readers don’t go beyond a few paragraphs to know it’s insignificant.
On May 25, a Washington Post editorial headlined, “Iran’s hard bargain,” saying:
Iran rejected Western “confidence-building measures.” It demanded rights Washington rejects. “(E)xtended negotiations will only benefit Iran.”
“What’s most concerning about the Baghdad talks is that they failed to show that the regime of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has made a strategic decision to strike a bargain.”
“Instead, Tehran sought something for nothing: acceptance by the West of its uranium enrichment in return for assertions that it is not seeking nuclear weapons and promises to cooperate with international inspectors.”
“In fact, no ‘right’ to process uranium exists under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
Fact check
Iran wants (and deserves) to be treated like other countries with commercial nuclear operations. It complies fully with NPT provisions. Washington and Israel are nuclear outlaws.
Iran’s operations are more intensively monitored than any other nation. Washington and Israel prohibit inspections for good reason. Massive cheating would be found. Imperial powers never tell all or say they’re sorry.
NPT permits uranium enrichment as long as countries agree to rigorous monitoring. WP editors better check their sources. They, in turn, need to find another line of work.
Yousaf Butt is a nuclear physicist. He’s a Federation of American Scientists consultant. In January, his Foreign Policy article headlined “Stop the Madness,” saying:
“Despite all the hype, Iran’s nuclear program has yet to violate international law. It’s time to calm down, think, and above all halt the rush to war.”
“The IAEA considers 20 percent enriched uranium to be low-enriched uranium and ‘a fully adequate isotopic barrier’ to weaponization.”
Iran complies. It does nothing illegal. NPT doesn’t prevent a nuclear weapons “capability” or “option.” Dozens of nations have it.
Singling out Iran is for political reasons. It’s not about legitimate fears of an illegal weapons program in the hands of a country threatening to use them.
The key red line Iran won’t cross is “diverting” nuclear material for weapons production. Numerous experts and independent reports “affirmed (for) years that they have no evidence (of) any such program.”
Multiple rounds of sanctions “go far beyond anything related to its nuclear program.”
The hype about it is political. It has no scientific basis whatever.
Washington Post editorial assertions are false, misleading, and inflammatory. Iran is legally entitled to pursue its nuclear program.
P5+1 proposals were disingenuously one-sided. Unreasonable demands were made. Nothing was offered in return. Western good faith wasn’t present in Baghdad. It’s an oxymoron. It doesn’t exist.
Tehran negotiated responsibly. Not good enough, said Washington. Prove a negative was demanded. Refuse and be blamed for Western obstructionism.
Multiple rounds of discussions won’t change things. WP editors think the “slide toward war remains desirable. Iran cannot be granted much more time to build and install centrifuges.”
Washington is infested with hotheads. WP editorial and op-ed writers are among them. They have lots of scoundrel media company. Promoting war makes it more likely. Body counts and vast destruction don’t matter.
Nor for USA Today. It’s post-Baghdad editorial headlined “How the US can win at nuclear poker with Iran,” saying:
“There’s an old poker saying that if you look around the table and can’t figure out who the chump is, it’s you. Too often in high-stakes negotiations with rogue states such as North Korea and Iran, the U.S. has looked a lot like the chump as it tried to curtail those nations’ nuclear weapons programs.”
“(O)nly a sucker could be confident that….Iran really, really means” what it says.
Scoundrel media report this way. Managed news duplicity substitutes for real news, opinion and analysis.
Media liars bear full responsibity. So does Washington for failure, not Iran. Tehran can’t succeed without a willing partner. It hasn’t had one in decades. It has the worst of all relationships now. Obama itches for more war post-election.
He feigns negotiations while planning it at the same time. Munich and Hitler’s Non-Aggression Treaty with Soviet Russia come to mind. Washington and Israel are no different. Hawks in both countries are especially worrisome. They’re bent on aggression and won’t accept less.
In response on May 22, the Tehran Times headlined “Iran must take firm stance at Baghdad talks, saying:
For years, Iran “bravely resisted” unreasonable demands to halt its peaceful nuclear program. Tehran believes pursuing it is a legitimate right. It’s “non-negotiatble.”
At the same time, Iranian officials try to build trust and resolve differences. They negotiate in good faith. In return, they’re rebuffed, stonewalled, and betrayed.
It’s up to Washington to break the deadlock and end sanctions. They’re harsh and unfair. Short of capitulation, tug-of-war diplomacy won’t end. Hillary Clinton said Tehran must “close the gaps. All of our sanctions will remain in place and continue to move forward” for the duration.
They’re about making Iran’s economy scream. They’re not for its legitimate nuclear program. That’s red herring camouflage for bigger fish to fry. At issue is installing puppet leaders Washington controls. War looks likely to try.
Negotiating with America accomplishes nothing. It never did before and won’t now. “Therefore, resistance seems to be the only option left for the Iranian side to convey its message to the West and to uphold the inalienable rights of the Iranian nation.”
America and Israeli want imperial dominance. Iran wants to live free in peace.
Sovereign states deserve that much and more. Wars won’t end until enough of them unite and resist. If not soon, they’ll continue and expand dangerously.
Never in history has one nation devoted so much firepower to global death and destruction.
Saving humanity depends on restoring peace and stability before it’s too late to matter. There may not be much time left to do it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:14 AM

Police Brutality During Chicago NATO Summit


Police Brutality During Chicago NATO Summit
by Stephen Lendman
NATO arrives everywhere violently. Chicago was no exception. Residents were terrorized for days.
Many are still recovering. For some, it’s from hospital beds. Others are behind bars. Chicago cops upheld their odious reputation. The city is notorious for being America’s police repression capital.
On May 25, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Chicago chapter assessed days of police brutality. More on that below.
Former NLG leader Arthur Kinoy (1920 – 2003) spoke for like-minded activists, saying:

“We, as lawyers, are fighting to keep the First Amendment alive in the legal arena. The people are fighting to keep the First Amendment alive in the streets, in their homes, in the factories, in the legislative halls, in the political arena.”

Given today’s climate in America and other Western societies, the struggle is sorely tested. Police brutality during Chicago’s NATO summit highlighted a repeated problem nationwide.
Activist struggles are targeted. Cops are enforcers for crime bosses. Constitutional rights no longer matter. They’re more artifact than reality.
On May 17, an NLG press release condemned a preemptive Bridgeport neighborhood raid. At least eight arrests were made. No one committed a crime.
Witnesses said cops burst into a six-unit apartment building violently with no search warrant. Doing so is illegal. They entered an apartment guns drawn.
One tenant was tackled in his kitchen. Two were handcuffed for two hours in their living room while police searched their apartment and a neighboring one.
A search warrant produced four hours later had no authorizing signature. Beer-making supplies and cell phones were seized.
Three youths were charged with possession of incendiary devices, material support for terrorism, and conspiracy to commit it.
Despite no evidence whatever proving it, allegations claimed planned use of Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs against police stations, financial institutions, Obama’s Chicago headquarter, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home. Other baseless accusations were made.
On May 22, the Chicago Tribune headlined “Lawyers for 3 charged in firebomb plot say solitary confinement in jail is ‘cruel and unusual,’ ” saying:
NLG attorney Michael Deutsch said they’re held on excessive $1.5 million bonds in “hospital-white” cells, 24 hours a day, and can’t communicate with anyone.

“They are totally in isolation from everyone else in the jail and each other,” he said. “They have nothing to read. They have no writing material. It’s a kind of sensory deprivation situation.”

The Constitution’s Eight Amendment prohibits “excessive bail,” “excessive fines,” and “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Brian Church, Jared Chase, and Brent Betterly are victimized by all three.
A follow-up May 23 Tribune article headlined “Lawyers for 3 accused of NATO plot criticize jail isolation,” saying:
Cook County Sheriff Department spokesman Frank Bilecki claimed the three youths were isolated to assess if they risk “harm (to) themselves or anyone else.” NLG attorneys denounced their isolation as “cruel and unusual.” They also affirmed their innocence.
On May 25, the NLG Chicago chapter headlined “National Lawyers Guild Provides Wrap-up of Police Actions During Week-long NATO Demonstrations,” saying:
Cops engaged in “harassment and violence.”
“(S)erious injuries, high-level charges, and exceptionally high bonds” followed.
NLG estimated 117 arrests. Less than 100 were charged. Most were for violating city ordinances, disorderly conduct, failure to disperse, trespassing, resisting arrest, and other misdemeanors.
Sixteen face felony accusations. Five are accused of terrorism-related activities.
Virtually everyone charged is innocent. Cops violated their rights, not the reverse.
Over 70 reports of police brutality were received. Most occurred during Sunday marches. Most injuries were from baton head and body blows. Over two dozen were hospitalized for broken bones, concussions, knocked out teeth, and open wounds requiring stitches.
According to NLG spokesperson Kris Hermes:

“Although police allowed some unpermitted marches to take place without incident, there were massive shows of force by police throughout the week of NATO demonstrations and indiscriminate violence perpetrated against many protesters.”

“Contrary to rhetoric from Mayor Emanuel and Police Superintendent McCarthy, the city was anything but tolerant to political dissent.”
It waged war against peaceful protesters. Hundreds of Occupy Chicago participants have been targeted, harassed, arrested, and, at times, beaten for demanding  rights they’ve been denied. Protesters on city streets always face harsh police responses.
During NATO’s summit, activists’ homes and organizing spaces were violated without warrants. Chicago Independent Media Center and Wellington Avenue Church were targeted. Numerous unconstitutional stops and searches were conducted.
On May 22, the first felony case was dismissed in Cook County court. On May 15, Danny Johnson was arrested at an immigration rally. He was charged with aggravated felony assault on a police officer. He was jailed for a week on $10,000 bond. According to NLG’s Hermes:

“The dismissal of charges against (him) certainly raises questions about the veracity of claims against many other NATO protesters.”

A dozen or more remain in custody. Five are for terrorism-related charges. No evidence whatever proves them. Most court dates were scheduled from mid-to-late May.
Hearings for the so-called “NATO 5” will be on June 12 and 13.
During days of NATO protests, NLG lawyers were available round-the-clock if needed. Observers were deployed to document police misconduct.
NLG “is committed to provid(e) legal representation for anyone arrested and facing charges.”
They’ll need all the help they can get. Innocence is no defense. NATO 5 activists face kangaroo court injustice. Guilty by accusation is policy.
Precedent shows if they’re exonerated they’ll likely be retried on new charges until convicted.
Police state justice doesn’t take no for an answer. Imperial America wants no challengers abroad or at home. The nation’s gulag is filled with those who try and many others illegally entrapped.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:12 AM

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Social Justice on Trial in Canada


Social Justice on Trial in Canada
by Stephen Lendman
Destructive neoliberal mandates harm US and European societies. Canada’s conservative government force-feeds similar policies.
They include wage and benefit cuts, less social spending, privatization of state resources, mass layoffs, deregulation, tax cuts for corporations and super-rich elites, and harsh crackdowns against resisters.
It’s also about sharply hiking college tuition fees, student anger, and criminalizing public responses. More on that below.
In the 1980s, it was called Reaganomics, trickle down, and Thatcherism. In the 1990s, it was “shock therapy.” Today, it’s austerity. The result is unprecedented wealth transfers to corporate favorites and privileged elites.
Capital’s divine rights are prioritized. Social justice is on the chopping block for elimination. Living standards are sacrificed. Ordinary people lose out. Vital services are cut. Human needs go begging. Unemployment and poverty soar. So does rage for change.
Years ago Canada lost its moorings. In December 1984, conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney, addressed policies that began in the 1970s. Speaking before the New York Economic Club, he announced:
“Canada is open for business.”
He meant US companies were welcome. Both countries cooperated for greater economic integration. Corporate interests were prioritized. Ordinary people lost out.
Oh Canada took on new meaning. Sacrificing pluralist Canadian democracy and social justice traditions became policy. Major parties formed consensus the way Democrats and Republicans do in America.
Neoliberal harshness was institutionalized. The conservative Harper government stiffened earlier policies. It serves Canada’s ruling class. Finance capital is dominant. What big money wants it gets. Corporate power overall makes policy.
Canada shifted hard right under Mulroney. Harper institutionalized it further. Last January, he addressed Davos World Economic Forum participants. He pledged “transformative” pro-business policies.
They include more tax cuts, privatizations, deregulation, and austerity hitting ordinary people hardest. “We will do more, much more,” he promised.
Socio-economic policies established represent some of much more to come. Social Canada was hardest hit. Rights for ordinary Canadians no longer matter.
Last March, Canada’s House of Commons passed budget cuts and austerity measures on top of others enacted earlier.
They included eliminating thousands of public sector jobs, cutting billions from federal programs, raising the retirement age to 67, and calling federal debt the problem to be addressed. It’s the same canard America and European countries use to justify neoliberal harshness.
Canadian social justice follows the same downward trajectory as America and across Europe. Eliminating it altogether is planned. Higher education is affected. Once it was affordable. No longer for many as tuition and fees soar.
Last winter, Quebec’s Liberal government announced tuition fee increases over the next five years of around 75% (or $1,625). Stiff annual increases are policy. Other measures slashed vital services and benefits. Thousands of students reacted.
In mid-February, protests and strikes began. One of three provincial student associations initiated them: the Coalition large de l’association pour une solidarite syndicale etudiante (CLASSE: the Broader Coalition of the Association of Student-Union Solidarity).
Others joined in: FEUQ (the Quebec Federation of University Students) and FECQ (Quebec Federation of College Students).
Thousands swelled to 200,000 or more. Most Quebecers support them. Sharp tuition and fee increases force students and families into debt. Others drop out. Available aid is meager compared to years earlier. Higher education grows more unaffordable.
Students react by strikes and protests. They continue into their fourth month. Police confront them. Clashes and arrests follow. The usual pattern repeats against all social justice demonstrations. Legitimate struggles are criminalized.
Money power decides what’s right or wrong. Ordinary people haven’t a chance. In neoliberal societies like Canada, young people have most to lose. Increasingly shut out of higher education, decent jobs, and bright futures, fighting back remains their only option.
Criminalizing dissent became policy. On May 18, Quebec’s Liberal government passed Bill 78. Provisions prohibit student protests or other “form(s) of gathering” within 50 meters of the “outer limits” of the “grounds” of any university or CEGEP (College of general  and vocational education) building.
In Quebec, high school ends at grade 11. Completing CEGEP grades 12 and 13 are required for college or university admission. Doing it successfully earns them DECs (dioplomes d’etudes collegial).
CEGEPs also offer three-year programs in vocational studies, computer science, nursing, and other fields. With DEC credits, Bachelor’s degrees can be completed in three years. Supporters and critics disagree on the system’s merits or disadvantages. It’s unique to Quebec.
Bill 78 also requires student associations, unions representing teachers, and CEBEP staff to “employ appropriate means to induce” compliance with enacted measures or face prosecution.
Article 9 authorizes the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports to modify any law to ensure school sessions throughout the bill’s time frame.
All demonstrations exceeding 50 people were declared illegal without provincial police approval. Offenders face daily fines. A date for education employees to return to work was established.
Winter semester classes at 11 universities and 14 CEGEPs were suspended. Completing them by August or September was mandated. The law expires July 1, 2013. It’s patently illegal.
The 1982 Constitution Act established the Constitution of Canada. It contains a bill of rights called The Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It states:
“Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.”
Article 7 assures “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and the right not to be deprived thereof in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”
Academic and speech freedoms are fundamental in free societies. So are public assembly and association rights. Without them, all others are threatened.
Howard Zinn called dissent “the highest form of patriotism.” Voltaire said, “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Jefferson said, “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”
Bill 78 violates Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So does a newly passed Montreal City Council ordinance criminalizing face paint, niqads, and other face or head coverings while demonstrating.
On May 22, it was invoked. Baton-wielding police confronted downtown Montreal protesters violently.
Tear gas was used. Dozens were arrested. Charges claimed protesters wore illegal masks and/or confronted police violently.
On May 21, confrontations occurred in Sherbrooke. It’s Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s home city. Dozens of arrests followed. Charges included demonstrating illegally.
A Final Comment
Student anger shows no signs of ebbing. Social justice rights are too important to sacrifice. Affordable education is vital. Resolution is nowhere in sight. Quebec officials are determined to force-feed austerity. They include stiff annual tuition and fee hikes.
Students are on their own. Union officials sold out to power. Who knows where this ends. Hopefully working Canadians will join them. Social justice includes more than affordable education.
Class war rages in Canada and other Western societies. Governments serve wealth and power. Eroding social justice heads faster toward total elimination. Popular interests suffer.
Ordinary people face neo-serfdom, debt peonage, and police state harshness for resisting. Fighting back is the only chance for change.
A long struggle remains. In fact, it’s just begun. Staying the course is key. It’s how all great victories are won. They never come easily or quickly. Hopefully Quebec students understand and won’t quit. There’s too much at stake.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:25 AM

Continuing Palestinian Hunger Strikes


Continuing Palestinian Hunger Strikes
by Stephen Lendman
Israel mocks democratic freedoms. Force-fed occupation injustice reveals its true face. It rivals the world’s worst tyrannies. Scoundrel media cover-ups can’t change facts.
Mass Palestinian prisoner hunger strikes persisted for weeks. Some lasted over two months. Miraculously no one died. Victories remain elusive. Negotiations produced Israeli promises to ease prison harshness. In return, most strikers resumed eating.
Pledges made are easily broken. Israel’s history proves its word is worthless. Palestinians have no rights, in or out of prison. Racism is policy. So is institutionalized persecution and violence against non-Jews. Arabs are despised.
Even Jews aren’t spared it they challenge government authority too far. No wonder many vote with their feet and leave. Like America, Israel is no fit place to live in. For Palestinians, it’s hell.
On May 24, Addameer headlined “Mahmoud Sarsak and Akram Rikhawi still on hunger strike as Israel’s violations continue,” saying:
“Israel has already violated the terms of the agreement addressing the demands of approximately 2,000 Palestinian political prisoners just over one week since they ended their historic mass hunger strike.”
Agreements with Israel aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Eventually they’re violated entirely. Hunger strikers are betrayed like all Palestinians, past and present.
Two prisoners remain on strike. Their health seriously deteriorated. They’re denied independent care. Ramleh Prison physicians make witch doctors look good by comparison. They’re charlatans. They betray their Hippocratic Oath to practice medicine ethically and responsibly.
Mahmoud is a member of Palestine’s national football team. Three years ago, he was imprisoned uncharged. On May 25, he began day 68 without food. He’s protesting against lawless detention uncharged under Israel’s draconian Unlawful Combatants Law (UCL).
Without evidence, it’s imposed based on “a reasonable basis” to believe Palestinians belong to a hostile group belligerently confronting Israel.
UCL is similar to George Bush’s “unlawful enemy combatant” designation. In 2009, terminology switched to “unprivileged enemy belligerent.” Language changed, but not intent. Detainees lose all rights. Israel and America replicate the worst of each other.
Legal obligations don’t matter. Targeted victims lose out entirely. Both countries wage war on Islam. State terror is official policy.
Israel promised Mahmoud a July release date. None so far was affirmed. Addameer lawyer Mona Neddaf visited him and five others in Ramleh’s medical center. She reported his condition so grave he could barely speak.
On May 25, Akram began day 44 without food. He’s been in Ramleh’s medical center since arrested in 2004. Serious diseases afflict him. They include diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis. Protracted striking left him precariously weak in grave condition.
Diabetes sufferers need minimal regular sustenance to survive. Akram can’t last much longer without it.
Neddaf also visited Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh. On May 14, they resumed eating. Bilal has stomach and head pain. His body rejects most nourishment. He digests only soup and milk.
He and Thaer struck for 77 days. Doing so risked death. Neither is out of the woods. Recovery will take months or perhaps years. Despite pledging to allow family visits, Bilal’s mother was denied permission to see him. Baseless “security” reasons were given.
Thaer also struggles to recover. He’s experiencing stomach, pancreas and back pain. On May 20, he was transferred to Ofer Prison for interrogation, then returned to Ramleh.
Both were promised release when their administrative detentions expire. For Thaer, it’s June 5. Bilal is scheduled for August 11. Each pledged to resume striking if Israel violates agreed on terms.
On May 14, Mohammad Taj ended his 60 day hunger strike for 24 hours after learning his POW demand would be met. Another promise made, another broken. The Israel Prison Service (IPS) violated its pledge.
On May 21, Mohammad again began eating. He told Neddaf details of his ill-treatment after resuming his strike. Despite his grave condition, he was transferred on May 15 to Al-Jalameh interrogation center.
“He was severely beaten and his clothes were forcibly stripped from his body. Prison guards also attempted to force milk down his throat.”
Addameer also documented blatantly violated pledges related to administrative detention. Numerous uncharged detainees got extensions. Israel promised otherwise. In addition, newly arrested prisoners are held uncharged. Doing it longer than minimal periods violates international law.
Israel finds new and repeated ways to affirm its rogue status. Justice and democratic freedoms don’t have a chance. Accountability remains denied.
Mahmoud Kamel Muhammad Sarsak spoke poignantly about his son, Mahmoud. He asked others to help save him. Public pressure and world embarrassment alone have a chance.
On July 22, 2009, he was arrested at Gaza’s Erez checkpoint. He headed for a West Bank Balata refugee camp football match. He was taken to Ashkelon Prison for weeks of interrogation.
On August 23, he was lawlessly detained under Israel’s UCL. Using it results in long-term indefinite detentions. Mahmoud was never charged or tried. On March 19, he stopped eating in protest. His fundamental rights are denied. He spent punishing time in solitary confinement.
“For us it is unbearable to see Israel has been awarded the hosting of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Under 21s football championship in 2013 and gears up to participate in the London Olympics, while it routinely arrests, tortures, imprisons and kills Palestinians, including football players, without consequence.”
“This is not fair play. Sports should show solidarity.”
Mahmoud and his family “call(ed) on all people of conscience to demand his immediate release, and to pressure governments and international organizations to force Israel’s compliance with the most basic standards of international law.”
In early May, Football Beyond Borders (FBB) expressed solidarity with Palestinian hunger strikers. It noted Mahmoud’s unjust detention and critical condition. It announced it would boycott the 2013 UEFA championship games hosted by Israel.
In June 2011, dozens of Palestinian athletic teams wrote UEFA. They protested awarding Israel host city rights for 2013. They said in part:
“Football Beyond Borders, a student-led organisation which uses the universal power of football to tackle political, social and cultural issues, stands in solidarity with Mahmoud Sarsak and all of the Palestinian political prisoners currently being detained by Israel on hunger strike, as together we protest the injustices being inflicted upon Palestinian prisoners in Israel, and draw attention to their plight.”
“Football Beyond Borders also takes this opportunity to announce our official boycott of the UEFA 2013 Under-21 European Championships, which Israel has been awarded the honour of hosting.”
“Further announcements and planned actions will be made on this boycott in due course.”
Football Beyond Borders
C/o SOAS University Students’ Union
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
A Final Comment
On May 24, the Palestine News Network said Sameh Elaiwe “was transferred from Nablus city to administrative detention one hour before his scheduled release date.”
On May 23, Foad al-Khafsh, head of Al-Ahrar Center for Prisoners’ Studies and Human Rights said an Israeli military court ordered him released the next day.
Israeli intelligence overturned its decision. He received four months administrative detention uncharged.
At issue, said Al-Khafsh, is breaking prisoner spirit and solidarity. Israel’s May 14 hunger strike agreement promised easing prison harshness. Terms included charging administrative detainees or releasing them once their terms ended.
Instead, over 25 administrative detentions were ordered in the past 10 days.
On May 24, Huwwara detention center prisoners began hunger striking. Issues include decent food, cleaning products to wash clothes and cells, adequate breaks, and overall respect for their rights.
Prison authorities spurned them. Prisoners said they won’t eat until fundamental demands are met. Israeli  prisons are harsh gulags. Huwwara and Etzion are called worst of all.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:23 AM

Friday, May 25, 2012

Iran Nuclear Talks in Baghdad

Iran Nuclear Talks in Baghdad
by Stephen Lendman
Previous nuclear talks failed. On April 14 and 15, another round convened.
Istanbul hosted so-called P5+1 countries. They include the five permanent Security Council members – America, Russia, China, Britain, and France – plus Germany.
Iran participated in good faith. Its delegation came with little hope hardline Western views would soften. On April 14, both sides agreed to more talks in Baghdad on May 23.
At issue isn’t Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran’s a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory. It complies fully with provisions. No evidence suggests otherwise. Nonetheless, bogus accusations persist.
Iran won’t relinquish its legal rights. Washington remains hardline and obstructionist.  An unnamed US official called May 23 talks “very difficult.”
Both sides continued on Thursday. A possible Geneva June round was discussed. On May 24, the Washington Post headlined “Iran nuclear talks continue on second day,” saying:
Talks resumed Thursday “amid fading hopes that these latest negotiations would help ease tensions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.”
As explained above and numerous previous times, Iran’s program complies fully with international law obligations. Washington’s the problem, not Tehran.
“Iran rejected” P5+1 proposals, said the Post. Thursday talks won’t likely resolve things. They center on Iran’s legitimate right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program. Washington wants it denied. No sovereign country should yield to that type pressure.

Iran justifiably rejected proposals it called “outdated, not comprehensive and unbalanced. There is no balance, and there is nothing to get in return. What we heard in Istanbul was more interesting….We believe the reason P5+1 is not able to reach a result is America.”

According to former Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian:
“The world powers are asking Iran for diamonds, in the form of ceasing to enrich uranium to 20%, and all they are offering in return is peanuts, in the form of spare parts for Iranian airline planes.”
A member of the Iranian delegation added:
“The American delegation says on the one hand that they want to reach a fast agreement through negotiations, but on the other hand they are continuing to impose unilateral sanctions on Iran.”
An unnamed Israel official said:
“We will hear about what was discussed, and then respond accordingly.”

P5+1 demands include halting uranium enrichment to 20%. It’s needed to produce medical isotopes. Weapons grade uranium requires close to 90% enrichment. Scoundrel media reports don’t explain it or that Iran’s program is peaceful.
Washington also wants its Fordo plant closed. It’s deep underground within a mountain for protection against US and/or Israeli attacks.
Iran alone faces unreasonable demands. Dozens of other nations with commercial nuclear operations have no such restrictions. Tehran calls this unacceptable. It’s also offered nothing in return.
Chief negotiator Saeed Jalili wants sanctions lifted in return for negotiating in good faith, cooperating with IAEA inspectors, and complying fully with NPT provisions.
Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani rejected proposals restricting Tehran’s legitimate enrichment rights, saying:

“(A)uthorities of the Islamic Iran will never retreat from the country’s natural and inalienable rights. Our people and officials are in consensus over nuclear advancement. Our team of negotiators will never make a deal over nuclear enrichment.”

Iran’s IAEA permanent envoy, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, reiterated Tehran’s position. It won’t compromise its legitimate rights, nor should it.
Iran countered with a five-point proposal. Details weren’t disclosed. It includes recognizing Tehran’s legitimate nuclear program and discussing Syria’s insurgency. Damascus is a key Tehran ally. Western-generated violence justifies concern. Together with responsible Western nations is an appropriate forum to raise it.
Washington flatly refused. Nor will it yield on other unreasonable demands. Stalemate looks likely. Tehran will be blamed. Fingers point the wrong way. Diplomatic breakthrough hopes fade.
Resolution’s not possible without willing partners. Iran has none in Baghdad. What’s next remains to be seen. More talks won’t reverse this round’s failure. Expect more heated rhetoric.
On May 23, Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Western power is declining. “No matter their propaganda, they are being weakened and destroyed.”

“The Iranian nation is hopeful of the future. And the horizon of the future is smiling toward the Iranians.”

Optimism isn’t easy with Washington remaining hardline. It negotiates one way. It’s all take and no give.
Extremist groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracy (FDD) make things harder. Its president, Clifford May, headlined a Scripps Howard News Service article “What Iran’s Rulers Want,” saying:

“It’s no longer possible to pretend we don’t know the intentions of Iran’s rulers.” They want Israel destroyed, he claims.

A spurious Ayatollah Ali Khamenei comment alleged he said “Israel must be burned to the ground and made to disappear from the face of the Earth.”
According to former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, he and other Iranian officials want Israel destroyed “through military force.”
May claims Tehran is “committed to war, genocide and developing nuclear weapons.” Other spurious accusations were made. He included the longstanding canard about Iran being “the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.” Another claimed it “violate(s) the most fundamental tenets of international law.”

When supportive facts don’t exist, extremists like May invent them. Op-ed space in major broadsheets publish them.
The Washington Post featured FDD’s Mark Dubowitz and Reuel Marc Gerecht’s commentary headlined “An Underwhelming Approach to Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions,” saying:
Given Iran’s “advanced nuclear program….the West appears poised (again) to take the easy way out.” Both writers favor force, not diplomacy. They want Tehran’s uranium enrichment entirely prohibited.

“A new red line at 20 percent enrichment (leaves Israel) two options: strike or give up.”

“For those who fear another conflagration in the Middle East, that ought to be a compelling reason to hang tough in Baghdad. Odds are, however, we won’t.”

According to the hawkish American Enterprise Institute (AEI):

“Any outcome that does not include the verifiable dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and the removal of all nuclear material – at any level – will allow Iran to retain the ability to acquire nuclear weapons fuel in short order.”

AEI’s Iran section features this and similar comments in articles and reports like:
“The new deal with Iran”
“A Regional Reality Check about Iran as the P5+1 Meet”
“Iran’s nuclear weapons fuel production capability”
“Iran, sanctions, and what can Congress do?”
“Iran Guards Corps Fears Attack by Israel, fears Hezbollah will be the spark”
“Congress and Iran”
“Stop giving Iran a pass.”

Others follow variations on the same theme. Syria is also targeted.
AEI was influential ahead of Washington attacking Iraq. It’s pushing war now against Tehran and Damascus. It’s ties to top administration and congressional leaders makes more conflict likely.
Congressional neocon extremist Senators John McCain (R. AR), Lindsey Graham (R. SC), and Joe Lieberman (I. CT) need no convincing. Their Wednesday Wall Street Journal op-ed said:

“Given the Iranian regime’s long-standing pattern of deceptive and illicit conduct, we believe that it cannot be trusted to maintain enrichment or reprocessing activities on its territory for the foreseeable future – at least until the international community has been fully convinced that Iran has decided to abandon any nuclear- weapons ambitions.”


“We are very far from that point,” they added. The so-called “three Amigos” and other like-minded congressional hawks believe military action against Iran and Syria is the only viable option.
Israeli hard-liners concur. They’re coordinating with Obama officials on Iranian and Syrian policy. The tail perhaps wags the dog. It wouldn’t be the first time.
It’s no coincidence that Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Washington last week. He came mainly to discuss Iran ahead of the P5+1 talks. An Israeli delegation didn’t participate. America represented Tel Aviv’s interests.
Both nations prefer conflict, not compromise or conciliation. Peace isn’t an option. Capitulation’s demanded. If not forthcoming, expect war. Influential hawks in both countries urge it. So does the Israeli lobby.
Earlier scenarios repeat. They include baseless accusations, fearmongering, scoundrel media headlines claiming nonexistent threats, op-ed contributors pushing war, and, at times, false flags launching them.
At issue isn’t Tehran’s nuclear program. It’s unchallenged US hegemony. Other nations besides Iran and Syria are targeted.
A rage to fight dominates Washington policy. One war follows another. Empires that overreach eventually self-destruct. America’s no exception.
Living by the sword doesn’t work. Today’s destructive weapons threaten everyone, not just nations using them.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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