Monday, October 31, 2011

Netanyahu Threatens Gazans with Death

Netanyahu Threatens Gazans with Death - by Stephen Lendman

Throughout its history, Israel had belligerent, racist prime ministers, none worse than Netanyahu. He talks peace but mocks and spurns it.

His extremism heads Israel toward the brink. His worst ever government enrages global millions. Eventually, Israel may end up isolated and universally vilified as a pariah state.

Already, it's a regional menace. Lawlessly occupied for 44 years, Palestinians know it best. Gaza remains suffocating under siege. Militantly, Netanyahu wants harsher conditions.

On October 30, Haaretz headlined, "Netanyahu to Gaza militants: Israel's policy is kill or be killed," saying:

Netanyahu threatened attacks against "every attempt to fire against Israel and anyone who fires anyway."

He told ministers at a special cabinet session that Israel's defense policy stresses two principles: "Kill or be killed," and "He who harms you should bear the blood on his head."

So-called "militants" are freedom fighters. Hamas and other resistance groups respond only in self-defense. International law affirms it.

In December 2008, Israel waged preemptive war on Gaza. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other groups observed months of unilateral ceasefire, despite repeated Israeli violations. On November 4, it ended after the IDF invaded without cause, killing six Hamas members, allegedly to close tunnels.

Hamas wanted peace. Israel spurned it. Cast Lead followed, destroying and killing everything but the will to resist. To this day, Gazans suffer horrifically, including from repeated Israeli air, land and sea attacks.

Gaza is one of history's terror bombing victims. Netanyahu inverts truth, blaming Palestinians for Israeli crimes.

"I suggest Hamas, Jihad, and other organizations not test our determination to actualize the two principles I have described here," he said.

"We will harm every attempt to fire against Israel and anyone who fires anyway. We are not tempestuous, and we do not want things to deteriorate, but we will defend Israel's citizens determinedly, aggressively and effectively."

Netanyahu is a lawless bully, a rogue leader unfit to rule, a menace to Palestinians and Israelis alike, enduring destructive imperial authority.

Shortly after Islamic Jihad and other resistance groups accepted Egyptian-mediated ceasefire terms, Israeli aircraft bombed southern Gaza. One Palestinian was killed, another wounded.

The National Resistance Brigades (NRB) for the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a statement, holding Israel responsible. It also called on NRB fighters to respond in kind as international law allows.

In addition, it asked world leaders to protect Palestinian civilians and denounce Israeli lawlessness.

On Saturday, Israeli air attacks killed five Al-Quds Brigade fighters, injuring others. After numerous attacks and Palestinian responses, 10 Gazans and one Israeli are dead. Israel is directly responsible for preemptive aggression.

Adham Abu Salmiyya, Gaza's Higher Committee of the Medical and Emergency Services said at least 10 strikes occurred in two hours. Destruction as well as deaths and injuries followed. Dozens of residents, especially children, were traumatized.

Moreover, Palestinian Information Center officials said army forces attacked the Al Qassam Brigades' Al Qadisiyya and Ahrar Movement Centers, as well as a third southern Gaza area.

Early Sunday morning, the IDF fired missiles at alleged Gaza City fighters. No casualties were reported. Later, Ash-Shejaeyya neighborhood east of Gaza City was attacked, as well as Al Qassam Brigades' Tunis Base and a third area east of Rafah.

Extensive damage was reported. Drones and manned aircraft remained present overhead. Gazans fired shells and rockets in response. Israel calls self-defense terrorism.

After it spurned ceasefire offers, Islamic Jihad's Al Quds Brigade officials withdrew its offer, claiming its right to respond defensively. Spokesman Abu Ahmad said "a swift and painful retaliation" is planned, adding that:

"We informed all parties that we will not be part of any truce based on criteria used in previous truce deals. Every time there is a truce, the occupation strikes again and kills our leaders and our people. Today, everybody, all Arab and European mediators must realize that only the resistance can declare or void truce. The occupation will be begging for a truce."

Angry about premeditated Israeli attacks, he further said "(T)his issue must be dealt with. Resistance will fire missiles, and will continue targeting the occupation."

Egyptian officials confirmed failed truce offers. Reportedly, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are negotiating ceasefire arrangements with them.

At the same time, IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz held meetings with senior army officers to weigh Israel's response.

Israel can have peace if it wants it. Palestinians repeatedly committed to nonviolence in vain.

It's not clear if Israel will cease attacks or launch Cast Lead II. IDF commanders may, in fact, have had that in mind all along. Events on the ground bear watching.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also 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.

Living Under Israel's Boot

Living Under Israel's Boot - by Stephen Lendman

Like occupied people everywhere, Palestinians understand oppression better than experts. Ask them. They'll explain.

In Gaza, it means living under siege and Israeli air, land and sea attacks. West Bank communities face day and night incursions.

In the week ending October 27, 58 were conducted, nearly 10 a day. Israel arrests Palestinians while releasing others. Every Palestinian wonders when their loved ones may be taken in middle of the night raids, including children young as ten.

International law doesn't restrain Israeli persecution. Peaceful protestors taste tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades, beatings and other abusive tactics to disperse them.

On October 27, Israel bombed three Khan Younis locations in southern Gaza. No deaths or injuries were reported. Central Gaza's Deir al-Balah was also struck, again with no casualties.

Israel claims provocations each time. Gazans mostly respond in self-defense as international law allows. Israel calls it terrorism. It intercepted two Gazan fishermen, opened fire, detained them and impounded their boats.

Attacks against other fishermen escalated. Boats were confiscated. Fishermen were detained. Tools and equipment were damaged or destroyed.

Gazans are prevented from fishing in their own waters. Violent assaults can come any time. On October 27, Israeli warplanes destroyed a container used for fishing equipment and tools. Nets and a water tank were burnt.

In 2011, 67 similar incidents occurred, involving live fire 40 times. Eight fishermen were wounded. Hospitalization was required to treat them.

Other incidents involved threats and harassment, causing damage and confiscation of boats. Since 2000, Israel denied Gazans the right to fish freely in their own waters. In 2008, their territory was reduced from 20 to six nautical miles, but none of it is safe.

Gazans fishing beyond three miles are attacked. Even close to shore risks interceptions, property damage and confiscation, and detentions. As a result, fishermen have lost 85% of their subsistence.

In early October, West Bank Qusra village farmers discovered about 200 of their fruit trees vandalized. Extremist settlers were responsible. Israel doesn't nothing to stop them. Similar incidents happen regularly.

Despite repeated complaints by Qusra, Duma, Qaryut, Jalud, and other village residents, security forces violate their responsibility to protect them from settler attacks.

In recent weeks, multiple incidents occurred. Property was vandalized. Confrontations between residents and settlers occurred. In one incident, soldiers killed Issam Badran for defending his rights.

Elsewhere, a mosque was set ablaze after Hebrew graffiti was sprayed on it. In late September, multiple incidents destroyed over 900 trees. In 2011, 7,500 trees were vandalized. Perpetrators weren't held accountable. Investigations result in whitewashes. Israel affords Arabs no rights, including its own citizens.

On October 27, Aseel Ara'ra, age four, suffered quadriplegia after soldiers shot her in the neck. Surgery didn't help. She remains in intensive care. She'll never be the same again. Restitution never comes. Aggressors never say they're sorry. They commit other crimes as bad.

On October 26, Israeli police closed two NGO offices, claiming links to Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Jerusalem for Development head Khaled Zabarqa called his organization a "development institution" which closes social gaps in Arab East Jerusalem.

Closures accompany rising tensions. Since 2006, they've increased since Israel began implementing the Jerusalem E1 plan to replace East Jerusalem Palestinians with Jewish settlers. As a result, political activity was prohibited. Legitimate protests are called crimes.

On October 29, responding to Israeli air strikes, Gazans fired seven rockets at Ashdod, Gan Yavne, and west of Be'er Sheva in Israel.

One or more Israelis were wounded, several others traumatized. Later a mortar struck near the Eshkol Regional Council. No casualties were reported.

Israel always responds the same way. More air and ground attacks followed. Bogus reasons justified them. Nine Palestinians were killed. Nearly always, Gazans fire rockets only after Israel attacks. International law legitimizes self-defense.

On October 28, hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in multiple West Bank locations. Around Beit Omar, about 250 demonstrated and threw stones. Soldiers and police responded violently with tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades and other crowd dispersal measures.

About 80 Palestinians protested near Nabi Saleh. Some threw stones. Similar incidents occurred around Bil'in, Kedum, Beitunia, and Lita. Israel responded violently.

Throughout October, Israeli security forces disrupted villages and uprooted dozens of al-Walaja fruit trees to prepare land for Separation Wall construction. Palestinian land is stolen in the process.

In July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Wall construction illegal, ordered its removal, and compensation paid victims for damaged or destroyed property.

On October 3, soldiers began uprooting trees in Ein al-Hadfa, Khallet al-Samak, Ein Jweiza, and al-Walaja area land. About 90 dunums were affected, as well as 230 olive, almond, cypress and oak trees. Grapevines were also destroyed.

Other large sections were isolated, including an area cemetery. More Wall construction occurred around al-Ntouf and Ras Krimzan, east of al-Walaja village. When completed, it will be 2,000 meters long.

Villagers petitioned Israel's High Court to stop it. On August 23, they were rejected. The ruling stated:

"(T)he route of the wall is necessary for the security of Israel and its citizens."

When begun, land theft, not security, was planned. When completed, about 12% of Palestinian land will be gone. Israel uses other ways to steal more land to secure all valued parts of Judea and Samaria it wants colonized and annexed.

Since 2009, about 4,500 meters were built east, west, and northeast of al-Walaja. About 2,100 olive, grape, almond and other trees were destroyed. About 500 dunums of agricultural lands and forests were uprooted. Another 2,000 dunums in al-Walaja village were isolated behind the wall. It surrounds its north, east and western sides.

From the south, an IDF security street encloses it. When sections under construction are completed, over half of village land will be isolated. Eventually, the Wall will completely isolate al-Walaja from other Palestinian villages and towns, service providing institutions, and vital Bethlehem governorate areas.

Life under occupation is oppressive and cruel. Palestinians want it ended. They also want recognized sovereignty, full UN membership and peace. Israel denied them for 44 years.

Nothing under consideration offers change. Palestinians are on their own like always, determined to overcome and live free. Their liberating struggle continues.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also 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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Libya: War Without End

Libya: War Without End - by Stephen Lendman

Libya will long be remembered as one of history's great crimes. For over eight months, NATO's killing machine ravaged the country, killing tens of thousands.

Years of protracted conflict lie ahead. Libyans will keep struggling until they're free from NATO's scourge.

UN Resolution 1973 authorized a no-fly zone. In fact, it lawlessly declared war. A prosperous, peaceful, nonbelligerent country and its way of life was destroyed.

Civilians and non-military sites were deliberately targeted. Cold-blooded murder and mass destruction were planned.

Sirte, a city once home to 100,000, symbolizes NATO's depravity. Terror bombing destroyed it. Thousands were massacred.

Under international law, it's a war crime.

Under the 1907 Hague Regulations, Fourth Geneva, Geneva's Common Article III, and various other international laws, civilians are protected persons. So is civilian property. Attacking them is prohibited. War crimes are clearly defined. The principles of distinction and proportionality also apply:

  • distinction between combatants and military targets v. civilians and non-military ones; attacking latter ones are war crimes except when civilians take direct part in hostilities; and

  • proportionality prohibits disproportionate, indiscriminate force likely to cause damage to or loss of lives and objects.

In addition, precautions must be taken to avoid and minimize incidental loss of civilian lives, injuries to them, and damage to non-military sites. Under Fourth Geneva, they must be given "effective advance warning" and "neutralized zones" where they can be as protected as possible.

Fourth Geneva also prohibits collective punishment; the use of human shields; private property destruction; torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; denying the population adequate amounts of food and medical supplies; and assuring free passage of all "consignments" intended for civilian purposes.

Nonetheless, in all US/NATO wars, including Libya (besides earlier American ones), these provisions are systematically and willfully violated.

Civilians and nonmilitary sites are considered legitimate targets. Western powers spuriously claim every effort to spare them. Media scoundrels ignore their crimes.

The UN Charter's Article 2(7) states:

"Nothing contained in the present charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII," pertaining to threats to peace, its breaches, or acts of aggression.

NATO's humanitarian responsibility to protect duplicity terrorized and slaughtered civilians lawlessly. Millions of Libyans won't forgive or forget, including Sirte survivors.

Under siege for weeks, food, medical supplies and other essentials were cut off. Basic infrastructure was destroyed, including power, water and sanitation systems.

Homes, schools, mosques, hospitals and other civilian sites were bombed. Terror weapons were used including thermobaric fuel-air bombs and white phosphorous able to burn flesh to the bone.

Virtually every structure was destroyed or damaged. Rebel rats looted what they found. Even news reports described a scorched earth campaign, including grim scenes reminiscent of Grozny in Russia's Chechen war, Guernica, the Warsaw Ghetto, and other historical terror bombing targets.

On October 27, Human Rights Investigations (HRI) headlined, "Responsibility to protect: the liberation of Sirte," saying:

Over 400 air strikes targeted Sirte for weeks. Each delivered powerful munitions. In addition, rebel rats "indiscriminately shell(ed) the town with tank fire, heavy mortar fire and artillery."

NATO declined comment "on why it did nothing to protect (civilians) and why it has been complicit in these war crimes."

  • "....(U)ndisciplined and in some cases genocidal mobs" committed horrific atrocities. NATO authorized their "murderous rampage," as well as elsewhere across Libya.

  • "....Red Cross officials have said they have found (267) dead in Sirte, most of whom they believe were killed" the day Sirte fell.

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo hasn't "pursued action against pro-NATO forces. In fact, he has been involved (complicity) in spreading propaganda and inciting racial hatred during the conflict."

On October 11, Transitional National Council (TNC) chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil told rebel rat fighters, "You have the support of all the members of the transitional council." He also authorized other war crimes.

"Currently what is left of Sirte is being thoroughly looted." BBC said reconstruction is unlikely. Crumbled remains will stay "a memorial to Colonel Gaddafi's victims," shifting blame for horrific NATO crimes onto him instead of reporting responsibly.

Clearly, said HRI, "responsibility to protest (R2P) has been hi-jacked by NATO and its supporters as a justification for its military campaign and has lost its humanitarian content, becoming little more than a weapon in the propaganda war to draw ill-informed citizens into consent for military action."

In fact, too many people who know better took the bait and believed it. They still do, thinking NATO intervened for humanitarian reasons.

Bosnians, Serbs, Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans and other NATO victims know better. Ask them. They'll explain.

On October 25 on Russia Today, nuclear expert Christopher Busby discussed a new report about "uranium-enhanced weapons" used against Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. Horrific birth defects and congenital diseases resulted.

Washington and NATO use depleted uranium (DU) weapons in all wars. Busby exposed evidence of enriched uranium, "the kind used in nuclear reactors and bombs," he said, adding:

His "results prove the existence of a new secret uranium weapon. We have found some US patents for thermobaric and directed charge warheads which employ uranium powder to increase their effect."

Calling it "quite scary," he explained bomb crater evidence "in Lebanon in 2006 after the Israeli attacks and found one which was radioactive and which contained enriched uranium. We found enriched uranium in car air filters from Lebanon and also from Gaza. Others have found evidence of its use in Afghanistan and possibly also in the Balkans."

Busby called the discovery "astonishing with many global implications."

It suggests NATO used these weapons in Libya, including against Sirte. As a result, epidemic levels of cancer, other diseases, and congenital birth defects will follow.

Libya not only was ravaged, likely permanent contamination makes wide areas hazardous. No amount of radiation is safe. It's harmful, cumulative, permanent, unforgiving, and deadly.

Science never found a safe threshold. Radiation poisoning causes cancer, leukemia, other diseases, birth defects, stillbirths, miscarriages, sterility, malformations, open lesions, and more, including permanent genetic damage passed on to offspring.

Busby said it "poison(s) the gene pool of whole populations. This is a war crime and must be properly investigated....It has probably been used in Libya, so we must wait and see what levels of cancer and congenital diseases appear there."

After heroically holding out for weeks, NATO and rebel rats now control Sirte. NSNBC called their operation "one of the most outrageous war crimes of the century," including hundreds of summary executions.

On October 24, Human Rights Watch reported 53 Gaddafi supporters murdered at a Sirte hotel.

On October 26, Russia Today ( said:

"Three hundred bodies of alleged Gaddafi allies have been found in Sirte, shot in the head with hands tied behind their backs. Are (NATO forces) guilty of ordering political executions....?"

RT called NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's comments at a recent Brussels news conference "a grimly prophetic joke," saying:

"Our military forces prevented a massacre and saved countless lives."

In fact, mass destruction, slaughter and atrocities defined its campaign from inception. Knowledgeable observers are horrified by the depravity of NATO's campaign without end.

Whether or not bombing ends October 31, NATO came to Libya to stay. Blue Helmet paramilitary enforcers will join them.

On October 29, RIA/Novosti headlined, "NATO will stop bombing Libya but won't leave," saying:

"The Security Council did not end the war." It's not over, and NATO's not leaving. "They will simply change the name of the operation" to one called "the Friends of Libya coalition."

A dozen or more countries will be involved, including America, Britain, France, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and other regional states.

"To sum up, the war will continue for some time, and NATO will remain in NATO for a long time to come...."

In fact, NATO comes to stay. Like Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, permanent bases will be built. Occupation, colonization and plunder will follow.

Humanitarian considerations, free elections, and other democratic values are non-starters.

Iron-fisted rule is coming. Libyans know their liberating struggle won't end easily or quickly, but they're committed never to quit.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also 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.

Eurozone Bailout Deal: Hold the Cheers

Eurozone Bailout Deal: Hold the Cheers - by Stephen Lendman

More debt agreed on exacerbates an out-of-control problem. Only its final resolution is delayed. The longer crisis conditions continue and grow, the worse they'll be when day of reckoning time arrives.

Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance and punisher of hubris and arrogance in Greek mythology, may have final say.

She's here among us, unseen, patiently stalking, and awaiting when she'll make her presence known. Wagner's Brunnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen collects heros, not fools and hypocrites. However, they both announce themselves the same way, saying "Only the doomed see me."

Predatory Wall Street and Eurozone bankers will feel their sting. It's just a matter of time. Rage across hundreds of US and European cities hastens their day of reckoning. Hopefully it's coming soon. Nemesis will decide, but won't announce it.

Pledging an "ambitious and comprehensive" debt crisis solution, Eurozone leaders sold out to bankers. Europe's debt problem is too great to solve. Throwing good money after bad compounds it.

Greece and other troubled countries owe up to $6 trillion. Germany, France, other donor countries, and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) don't have enough resources to contribute without wrecking Eurozone economies.

As a result, doubts are being raised about optimistic assumptions, sketchy details, and important unanswered questions.

On October 28, the Wall Street Journal's Matthew Karnitschnig headlined, "Cheers and Skepticism Greet European Deal," saying:

Doubts remain about how the plan will work. "European leaders offered few details....signaling that it would take weeks, if not months, to work out the fine print."

As a result, many experts are skeptical. Speaking in Munich, Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann said:

"The envisaged leverage instruments are similar to those which were among the origins of the (2008) crisis, because they temporarily masked the risks."

RBC Dominion Securities currency strategist Stewart Hall believes funding the package "may prove a tough sell." Bond Vigilantes already expressed skepticism. More on that below.

Even if investors embrace the deal, bailing out out banks won't fix sick economies. As a result, economic weakness will deepen and remain protracted with no policy measure considered to boost growth.

Britain's Financial Times (FT) headlined, "Italy gives EU a post-party hangover," saying:

"Italy's borrowing costs have climbed to euro-era highs a day after European leaders agreed on a new plan to reverse the region's spiraling debt crisis, a worrying sign they have failed to regain the confidence of key financial markets."

Bond investors know that raising debt levels compounds an out-of-control problem. As a result, they responded negatively to the deal.

Because of its size, Italy's troubled economy threatens contagion if it needs a Greece-type bailout package as many expect.

Senior Italian financial officials warned Eurozone leaders that "plans to recapitalize banks have not been properly thought out and risk pushing Italy, and other economies, into recession, by forcing banks to withhold funding from businesses and consumers."

According to one unnamed official:

"This situation has not been fully considered and there is a severe risk that half (or more) of Europe ends up in recession."

Spain faces similar problems. As a result, bond yields jumped there as well to a deal investors believe falls short of resolution.

Germany's powerful constitutional court issued an injunction requiring full Bundestag approval for any urgent European Financial Stability Facility bond-buying operations.

Moreover, Eurozone finance ministers haven't agreed on ways to implement their announced leverage plan to provide around $1.3 trillion in bailout aid.

An end of November deadline was set to approve final details, but many experts doubt the viability of what's eventually announced. Moreover, some think months will pass before anything substantive is known.

On October 28, FT's Peter Spiegel headlined, "Deal widens Paris-Berlin divisions," saying:

Differences between the two countries run deep. During negotiations, they occasionally flared. An unnamed European official said:

"It is not about day-to-day things. There is a political and economic structure behind the two countries that is just too different."

As they go (along with Britain), so goes Europe. Since the crisis began, German officials "pushed for Greek bond investors to take losses on their holdings as a way to lance the boil of Greece's unsustainable debt levels."

Berlin worries about moral hazard risks. Germany finally got bondholders to take a 50% haircut, but not as announced. If enforced, it only applies to some Greek bonds.

Moreover, troubled banks in greater trouble from haircuts will get bailout help to compensate. In other words, taxpayers will bear most pain, not bankers responsible for today's crisis.

On October 28, New York Times writers Jack Ewing and David Jolly headlined, "Hitches Signal Further Difficulties for Euro Zone," saying:

Friday "(s)obriety displaced (Thursday's) euphoria," signaling a debt crisis far from resolved. Interest rates in troubled economies are rising, exacerbating conditions there. Bond vigilantes reacted negatively to a bad deal, even though details are unclear.

Investors lost confidence in Greece, Italy, Spain and other Eurozone countries. Fragile conditions signal trouble. Wednesday's deal solved nothing. According to UBS economist Martin Lueck:

"If you ask someone (in Germany), they'll say they want the Deutschemark back." Authorities already printed a supply just in case.

Regular Progressive Radio News Hour contributor Bob Chapman said "Europe doesn't know what to do and neither does the Fed and Bank of England." Their solutions exacerbate the mess they made, so they keep throwing money at it counterproductively instead of taking constructive resolution steps.

Conditions now are so out-of-control, "there are no solutions offered to solve the problem." Major US and European banks are insolvent. "Many carry two sets of books. Without a total audit one does not know the actual condition of these financial institutions. Market players and investors don't want the truth because they can't handle it. It means the game is over."

"Almost everywhere we look, problems are being extended and thrown into the future. How long it will take for the world monetary system to collapse no one knows, but it's inevitable."

Creating more of it can't solve debt problems. Economies are wrecked to save banks. Eventually, Greece will default. When it goes, so does Europe and America because financial systems in these countries are inter-connected.

A Final Comment headlined "Euro Bailout Failure," saying:

"Have so many ever been so enthusiastic over a plan to beg, borrow, and steal $1.5 trillion?"

These type policies don't instill confidence. Most important, they don't work. At best, they buy time, creating a greater problem instead of solving current crisis conditions.

As explained above, the agreed Greek bond 50% haircut is far less than announced. Private investors were asked voluntarily to go along. Some will. Others won't. Moreover, default is certain.

Excluding German and French banks, others have to recapitalize. Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish, and Greek banks need lots of help. Where it's coming from isn't clear. Who'll buy their countries' depreciating debt? Who'll buy theirs?

Eurozone leaders want China and Japan to help. They have their own troubles to resolve. Neither will throw good money after bad without something in return. Moreover, no nation will guarantee another $1 trillion in debt, especially from troubled economies.

Out-of-control debt isn't resolved by more of it. So far, proposed solutions offer little else. In other words, years of failed policies are being repeated.

Nemesis will have final say on when culpable bankers and corrupted officials will be held accountable. Everyone, however, will share pain more severely than already. Expect hard times indeed to get harder.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also 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.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Eurozone Bailout Deal

Eurozone Bailout Deal - by Stephen Lendman

One size fits all doesn't work. Uniting 17 dissimilar countries under rigid euro rules failed.

Membership means foregoing the right to devalue currencies to make exports more competitive, maintain money sovereignty to monetize debt freely, and legislate fiscal policy to stimulate growth.

Eurozone's obituary remains to be written. It's just a matter of time.

Maastricht criteria limit inflation, long-term interest rates, budget deficits, and government debt. Granting money power to a supranational authority flopped. Globalists want it anyway. Wrecking economies to enrich bankers matters most.

The euro's 1999 introduction prevented the European Central Bank (ECB) from financing government deficits. Eurozone members can't monetize credit. Their public sector is "dependent on commercial banks and bondholders," explains Michael Hudson.

It's a "bonanza for them, rolling back three centuries of attempts to create a mixed economy financially and industrially, by privatizing the credit creation monopoly as well as capital investment in public infrastructure monopolies now being pushed onto the sales block for bidders - on credit, with the winner being the one who promises to pay out the most interest to bankers to absorb the access fees (economic rent) that can be extracted."

As a result, nations were financialized and economies privatized. "Financial oligarchy" replaced democracy. Wealth more than ever is concentrated in private hands. Banker rules force selling off public land and enterprises.

Austerity demands public sector layoffs, wage and benefit cuts, and unrestrained economic freedom, unfettered of rules, regulations, onerous taxes, and trade barriers.

Governments work best by getting out of the way to give private business free reign. Financialized economies empower bankers most of all. Money power in private hands and democracy can't coexist.

Troubled Eurozone countries now suffer most. Throwing good money after bad delays decision day at the price of far greater trouble on arrival.

Greece highlights what other debt entrapped countries face, including bankruptcy, mass impoverishment, and growing anger threatening revolution.

Pledging an "ambitious and comprehensive" debt crisis solution, Eurozone leaders sold out to bankers.

Europe's debt problem is too great to solve. Throwing good money after bad compounds it. Eastern Europe is deeply troubled. Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain owe up to $6 trillion.

Allegedly less than one-fourth was pledged, but sketchy details leave many unanswered questions. European debt is triple the size of Germany's economy. Its banking giants are insolvent. So are France's. Solutions tried so far failed. Wednesday's deal may be worst of all.

On November 23, a congressional "Super Committee" must agree on $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. Republicans won't raise taxes. Democrats oppose greater social safety net cuts.

Without resolution, automatic cuts will result. Ordinary Americans will be hit hardest. Any steps taken won't solve out-of-control deficits. Disruptions and dislocations are assured.

For the first time ever, Western societies face default. Eurozone unity is crumbling. Major banks face bankruptcy. Political solutions assure greater trouble. Rage against the system grows.

Bailouts accomplish nothing. Ordinary people suffer most. The mother of all train wrecks approaches. On arrival, it'll be too big to ignore or resolve without consequences no one wants to consider.

Economist David Rosenberg called the Eurozone deal "tentative," involving 100 billion euro bailout for Greece. Allegedly it includes a 50% debt haircut, but suspicions are that bookkeeping entries may end up shifting it from one account to another so bankers get off easier than announced.

With leverage, a pledged overall 250 - 275 euro package implies 1.375 trillion euros for troubled Eurozone economies. If Italy needs help, as expected, it's not nearly enough to cover its debt burden.

Where funds come from isn't clear. Voluntary public and private investor participation is needed. Who'll provide it isn't known, especially with fears of throwing good money after bad.

Moreover, clear details are lacking, and 17 Eurozone countries must agree to go along. Bailing out Greece is one thing. What if Portugal, Italy and Spain follow. Healthy countries like Germany haven't enough money for it without wrecking their economies and raising public anger higher than now.

In addition, doubts are being raised. The Financial Times (FT) questioned "optimistic assumptions" about Greek privatization revenues raised.

Under the best scenario, substantial risks remain. FT headlined, "Eurozone bailout: the blogosphere's verdict," saying:

  • the Wall Street Journal Europe Source blog called the deal "too little too late to keep Italy out of the crosshairs of financial markets and open the next battle in the struggle to save the euro;"

  • “FT Alphaville” worried about projecting Greece's debt still at a troubling 120% of GDP in a decade under assumptions too optimistic to meet;

  • some analysts can't distinguish between smoke and mirrors and reality in the announced package;

  • stagnant growth worries Germany's Die Welt commentator Gunther Lachmann, saying the deal omits ways to create jobs and achieve prosperity;

  • Germany's business daily Handelsblatt said the agreement creates problems Germans wanted to avoid; and

  • other critics see nothing good ahead for troubled Eurozone countries; at best, only their day of reckoning was delayed.

Regular Progressive Radio News Hour contributor Bob Chapman expressed great skepticism about a workable policy response, saying:

"All the lies of the past two weeks by various European governments and bureaucrats, as well as Sarkozy and Merkel, were just delaying tactics to attempt to find a solution to Europe's financial dilemma."

In his judgment, they don't have one, headlines notwithstanding.

On October 28, Naked Capitalism headlined, "Grand European Rescue Already Starting to Come Unglued?" saying:

Analysts worry about wrecking economies to save banks. Other issues include an inadequate "rescue fund, heavy reliance on smoke and gimmickry to get it to that size, insufficient relief" for Greece, doubts about whether "banks will go along with the 'voluntary' rescue, and way too many details left to be sorted out."

In addition, "haircuts will apply to only a portion of (Greek) bonds" if enforced. Smoke and mirrors manipulation suggests not, or at least not as announced.

Moreover, troubled banks in greater trouble from haircuts will get bailout help to compensate.

About one-third of Greece's 350 billion debt is held by private international investors. The ECB, IMF and sovereign governments hold another third. The remainder is held by Greek and Cypriot banks and the Greek Social Fund.

If half of Greece's debt is written off, the nation's pension funds will lose 12 billion euros. As a result, they'll face bankruptcy. At the same time, Greek and other banks need hundreds of billions of euros to survive. Some need even more. Patchwork bailouts only delay their day of reckoning.

Even the ECB is skeptical about a flawed deal. Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann expressed alarm about leverage "without putting any new money into the pot."

China and other BRIC countries are being courted to help. None will without compensating benefits. Eurozone countries must contribute most. A workable package is key. What's known makes a bad situation worse. China's got its own problems. Will it exacerbate them by bearing some of Europe's burden?

Most troubling is throwing good money after bad. Greater trouble ahead is assured. Out-of-control debt isn't resolved by more of it.

Neither is repeating failed policies and expecting a different outcome.

Reality differs greatly from hope. European officials met 20 times this year alone because nothing tried so far worked.

Bond investors reacted negatively to their latest deal. They usually have the last word.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also 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.

Anti-Imperial Voices

Anti-Imperial Voices - by Stephen Lendman

Last August, over 140 prominent Africans expressed opposition to NATO's imperial war against Libya. South African signatories to an open letter included former President Thabo Mbeki, former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, former Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad, and ANC National Executive Committee member Jesse Duarte.

Their letter, in part, said:

Africans have long "been subjected to the fury of war by foreign powers which have clearly repudiated the" UN Charter.

Security Council Resolution 1973 resolved "to take all necessary protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya...."

"(T)he Security Council produced no evidence" such attacks occurred. Nonetheless, "they empowered themselves openly to pursue the objective of 'regime change' and therefore the use of force and all other means to overthrow the government of variance with" its own founding document and other international law principles.

Contrary to UN Charter provisions, the "Security Council authorized and has permitted the destruction and anarchy which has descended on the Libyan people."

As a result:

  • war substituted for diplomacy;

  • regional countries were destabilized, including "Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauretania," among others;

  • violent intervention denied Libyans the right to determine their own destiny;

  • many Libyans died, were wounded or maimed;

  • vital infrastructure was destroyed; and

  • Libyans were impoverished and immiserated.

As a result, prospects for Libya and North Africa are "increasingly ominous." In vain, signatories demanded NATO end its "war of aggression in Libya...immediately."

Former Congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, Cynthia McKinney, spent weeks in Tripoli last summer.

In a June 30 article headlined, "The War Against Libya," she published remarks she made the previous day in front of Congressman John Lewis' Atlanta District Office, saying:

When Americans are asked to make sacrifices, "teachers are receiving pink care (is) in crisis (for millions), and the US government is in serious threat of default, our President and Congress have decided that a new war (against) Libya is appropriate."

At the same time, about "$3 billion per week (is spent) for war against Iraq and Afghanistan....Additionally, US Admiral Locklear admitted to a Member of Congress that one of NATO's missions was to assassinate Muammar Qaddafi."

He wasn't exaggerating about a mission now accomplished, no matter how outrageous and lawless.

In Tripoli, McKinney "witnessed NATO's targeting of civilians: NATO bombs and missiles landed in residential neighborhoods, hit schools, exploded near hospitals, destroyed parts of the public broadcasting infrastructure, and narrowly missed killing students at Al Fateh University."

These and similar incidents are grievous war crimes. Military powers never admit them, say they're sorry, or explain that military strategy uses terror tactics to crush resistance.

They know nothing about Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans and others throughout the region who revile imperial aggression and won't quit struggling until it's expunged.

Libyans and other oppressed people "have the right to self-determination. They have a right to 'resource nationalism.' They have a right to live in peace. They have a right to determine their future," and resist NATO terror without compromise until it's secure.

On October 25, Reuters quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying:

America and other Western powers want to "plunder" Libya's oil and other wealth, adding:

"Show me one European or America president who has not traveled to Libya or has not signed an agreement" with Gaddafi.

"Some people said they killed (him) to make sure he would not be able to say anything...." Calling the Security Council an "organization with no honor," he denounced its resolution used as authorization to wage war.

"Any decision that would strengthen the presence, domination or influence of foreigners would be contrary to the Libyan nation's interests," he stressed. "The expectation of the world of the Libyan nation is that they stand and run (their) country themselves," free from imperial intervention.

AP quoted Hugo Chavez urging mediation to end Libya's war. He called it "disgusting" that America, Britain, France, and other NATO partners attacked a nonbelligerent country.

"More death, more war. They are masters of war," he said. "What irresponsibility. And behind that is the hand of the United States and its European allies," wanting to colonize and exploit another country.

"They want to seize Libya's oil. The lives of Libya's people don't matter to them at all. It is deplorable that once again the warmongering policy of the Yankee empire and its allies is being imposed, and it is deplorable that the (UN) lends itself to supporting war, infringing on its fundamental principles, instead of urgently forming a commission to go to Libya" and stop the carnage.

On September 26, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro gave Chavez's speech to the UN General Assembly, stressing Charter provisions to "sav(e) future generations from the scourge of war."

Calling it "a dead letter," he said wars since 1945 "inexorably increase(d) and multipl(ied) themselves. We see, once again, Libya destroyed and bloodstained by the will of the powerful."

"(S)ince September 11th, 2001, a new and unprecedented imperialist war began, a permanent war, in perpetuity."

"Why does the UN do nothing to stop Washington?"

"What is behind this new Armageddon?: the absolute power of the military-financial leadership which is destroying the world in order to accumulate ever more profits...."

Libya is "a new imperial kind of colonialism: that of military interventionism backed by anti-democratic organisms of the (UN) and justified on the basis of prefabricated media lies."

NATO's Libya war resulted from "intense propaganda by the western media, who lied about the alleged bombing of innocent civilians by the Libyan Air Force....This premeditated bunch of lies was used to justify irresponsible and hasty decisions (for NATO's planned) regime change policy...."

"And the same imperialist pattern is being repeated (in) Syria." Paraphrasing Boliver on Yankee imperialism in 1818, he added:

"(W)e have had enough of the weak following the law while the strong commit abuses (by) destroying and plundering us."

He concluded citing Ali Primera saying "peace involves radically reversing all that impedes humanity from being humane."

America's imperial agenda excludes humanitarian considerations altogether. They don't exist in its vocabulary.

AP cited Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega calling accusations against Gaddafi "overblown or unproven." Like others, he said imperial powers want Libya's oil and are "putting out fire with gasoline." He also accused UN Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon of being "an instrument of those powers."

Bolivia's Evo Morales condemned military intervention, saying powerful countries like America "invent a problem, and the problem is wanting to take control of oil."

Fidel Castro asked why the Security Council exists, and said NATO wields such colossal military force that it "serves only to show the waste and chaos generated by capitalism."

On October 24, Castro's Prensa Latina opinion piece headlined, "NATO's Genocidal Role," saying:

"This brutal military alliance has become the most perfidious tool of repression known in the history of humanity."

Soviet Russia served as pretext for its creation. After its dissolution, it became more powerful and destructive than ever. "Its criminal purpose became obvious in Serbia," a Slavic country that fought Nazism in WW II.

In 1999, NATO lawlessly attacked Serbia/Kosovo. "A great number of Serbian patriots lost their lives." Slobodan Misolsevic was prosecuted at the Hague, then "died under mysterious circumstances in prison."

Earlier, Castro published "nine Reflections about the issues, in which (he) amply addressed the role of NATO in Libya and what, in (his) opinion, was going to happen."

Commenting on Gaddafi's murder, he said he was "mortally wounded by NATO's most modern fighter planes, (then) was captured alive and....assassinated by men armed by this organization."

"His body was seized and exhibited as a war trophy, conduct which violates the most fundamental principles of Islamic norms and other religious beliefs around the world."

At the same time, NATO and TNC officials claim they'll establish "a democratic state which defends human rights," they've systematically destroyed for eight months.

Tens of thousands of Libyan graves bear testimony to their real intentions.

Survivors will keep struggling to assure they didn't die in vain, no matter how long it takes.

A Final Comment

Gaddafi's will "pledge(d) that I will die as Muslim."

"Should I be killed, I would like to be buried, according to Muslim rituals, in the clothes I was wearing at the time of my death and my body unwashed, in the cemetery of Sirte, next to my family and relatives."

On October 25, Gaddafi and his son Motassim were buried secretly at an undisclosed desert site to prevent its location from becoming hallowed ground as a shrine.

He also requested that "my family, especially women and children, be treated well after my death. The Libyan people sould protect its identify, achievements, history and the honorable image of its ancestors and heros. The Libyan people should not relinquish the sacrifices of the free and best people."

"I call on my supporters to continue the resistance, and fight any foreign aggressor against Libya, today, tomorrow, and always."

"Let the free people of the world know that we could have bargained over and sold out our cause in return for a personal secure and stable life. We received many offers to this effect but we chose to be at the vanguard of the confrontation as a badge of duty and honor."

"Even if we do not win immediately, we will give a lesson to future generations that choosing to protect the nation is an honor and selling it out is the greatest betrayal that history will remember forever despite the attempts of the others to tell you otherwise."

In the eyes of his supporters, Gaddafi died a hero, fighting on the front lines with other Libyans for their freedom. Their liberating struggle continues.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also 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.