The system tortures, and they call it democracy

The Guardian:  “Gitmo hunger strikes are a cry for help. Why is the US fighting back with secret torture?……..Force-feeding at Guantánamo shames America – not just in the bad old days of George W Bush, but today, in 2014. And you deserve to hear the truth, loud and clear.”

by Cori Crider, theguardian.com, Tuesday 30 September 2014

gitmo fence hand

Gitmo is a warehouse of the forgotten, run by a military that doesn’t know how to treat the sick souls it’s caged without charge for over 12 years. Photograph: Dar Yasin/AP

“Safe, Humane, Legal, Transparent”: so goes the slogan of the world’s most famous offshore prison. It’s an Obama-era rebrand, a bid by Gitmo’s PR people to persuade Americans that today’s is a kinder, gentler Guantánamo Bay. There’s just one wrinkle: Gitmo is still dangerous, nasty, lawless and secretive – and the evidence just keeps piling up.

At the forefront of this war over the truth is the first-ever trial concerning the practice of force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike, due to start Monday. My client, Abu Wa’el Dhiab – a Syrian man who has never been charged, and indeed has been cleared to leave Guantánamo by the US government for more than five years – has been fighting for over a year to reform the way he and other hunger-strikers have been treated. He’s finally about to have his day in court.

But the Obama administration refuses to accept this unusual intrusion of justice into its island idyll. On Friday, US justice department attorneys filed a motion asking the court to hear all evidence in the trial entirely in closed court, save a short, anodyne opening statement from lawyers on both sides. Continue reading

U.S. Guilty Of War Crimes in Palestine

Photo by Marius Arnesen

The U.S. is not a neutral mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it is an active participant and is guilty of the crimes being committed by Israel against Palestinians, most recently, the mass killings and destruction Israel wrought on the Gaza Strip during the summer. The reality that the U.S. is an active supporter of unimaginable suffering may very well be the motivating force behind the U.S.’s adamant attempts to block the Palestinians from using any of the internationally recognized tools of accountability to hold Israel responsible, such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. When an indigenous, stateless population is blocked access to opportunities for justice by superpowers like the U.S., something is wrong—deadly wrong.

While Israeli bombs were hammering Gaza, Alice Lynd with the assistance of Staughton Lynd, drafted a 32-page pamphlet which was published by the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW) titled, Violations by Israel and the Problem of Enforcement (August 2014). The policy paper places the U.S. in front of its own mirror and meticulously documents how one hand of the U.S. government systematically documents Israeli violations of U.S. law and international law, while the other hand unconditionally dishes out financial, military, and diplomatic support to Israel.

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The Growing Phenomenon of Pro-Israeli Advocacy in Chinese Academia

[The prominent and powerful role of the Israeli Lobby in the policies and practices of the imperialist world system, often described as a special relationship with the US (and closely related Canadian and European) imperialists, is not limited to those relations.  Israeli strategic planners actively pursue the widest range  of imperialist relations; they will not be tethered to the success of US hegemonism, especially when crises and internal contentions and surrogate instability are matched by growing global challenges from China and others.  The news of the Sino-Israeli alliance-building may surprise those  "anti-imperialists" who confine their opposition (and pro-Palestinian activism) to the US (and US-led) forces allied with Israel, but imperialism is a larger system, and Israel will not confine its fortunes to the US. -- Frontlines ed.]

Over the last decade, a network of loosely affiliated pro-Israeli organizationsembracing a number of think tanks, universities, lobbyist groups, foundations, activist-scholars as well as donorshave successfully established a foothold in Chinese academia. The aim of these groups in China has been to provide a platform for espousing hasbaraa Hebrew term for “explanation” denoting the utilization of diplomatic, media, and political mediums to clarify and defend Israel’s positions and actionsthat would serve to re-shape Chinese academic perceptions of the Jewish state. The logic underlying this advocacy is that it would eventually influencegiven prevailing assumptions about the Chinese government’s reliance on the opinion of scholars and expertsthe calculations of Chinese policymakers, nudging them toward positions more conducive to the preservation and maximization of Israeli interests over the long-term.

[Image of a graphic that demonstrates the SIGNAL backed ISP zones in China. Image from Sino-Israel.org]

Greenwald Details the US Hand on the Gaza Genocide

[Well, after all, it IS an IMPERIALIST SYSTEM, and the lines between who's in and who's out are fairly sharply defined, (though this line is redrawn from time to time), with accompanying rhetoric about rights and national interests reflected in the mass media templates for mass deception.  The Snowden and now other revelations pull the cover off of so much of this, it enables the discarding of illusions by the boxcar-load, and it enables a far more clear-sighted path for anti-imperialist and revolutionary internationalist solidarity. Why does the New York Times and CNN and ABC/CBS/NBC tell this news?  Apparently, it is not "fit to print"!  -- Frontlines ed.]

Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack

By Glenn Greenwald, August 4, 2014
Featured photo - Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack

President Barack Obama (L) greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on March 20, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. Photo credit: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

The U.S. government has long lavished overwhelming aid on Israel, providing cash, weapons and surveillance technology that play a crucial role in Israel’s attacks on its neighbors. But top secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shed substantial new light on how the U.S. and its partners directly enable Israel’s military assaults – such as the one on Gaza.
Continue reading

Greenwald: NSA Docs Show ‘Israeli Action In Gaza Has US Fingerprints All Over It’

[It's really quite amazing how supporters of imperialism believe Obama's statements of outrage and dismay at Israeli genocidal murder of Palestinians, most recently in Gaza.  In fact, the US government has largely paid for and armed the colonial aggression, and the US' NSA has provided targeting data to the Israeli forces for the aerial attack on Gaza's people.  So, Obama's "outrage" notwithstanding, it appears the debate in Washington is about whether the Israelis have not gone far enough, and if they should, right away, again with US funds, arms, and "intelligence," further aggress toward what Israeli politicians, especially from the Likud Party, are calling the "Final Solution." --  Frontlines ed.]

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New documents leaked by Edward Snowden show how intellegince cooperation enables repeated Israeli aggression against Palestinians.
By Jon Queally, Common Dreams | August 4, 2014

John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks with the media on Capitol Hill in Washington. While much of the rest of the world watches the Gaza war in horror and scrambles for a cease-fire, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military operations. Boehner said Monday, July 28, the administration should “stand with Israel, not just as a broker or observer but as a strong partner.”

A new analysis of the intelligence and military relationship between the U.S. and Israeli governments—bolstered by new top secret NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden—exposes the deep complicity of American foreign policy when it comes to enabling Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinian territories and its ongoing aggressive military assault on the Gaza Strip.

Reported by The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald on Monday, the new NSA documents show how the U.S. spy agency “has significantly increased the surveillance assistance it provides to its Israeli counterpart, the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU; also known as Unit 8200), including data used to monitor and target Palestinians.”

According to Greenwald, the “new Snowden documents illustrate a crucial fact: Israeli aggression would be impossible without the constant, lavish support and protection of the U.S. government, which is anything but a neutral, peace-brokering party in these attacks. And the relationship between the NSA and its partners on the one hand, and the Israeli spying agency on the other, is at the center of that enabling.” Continue reading

Slave ships and supermarkets: Modern day slavery in Thailand

[Representatives of capital, and of modern capitalist-imperialism, have often claimed that their exploitative system has been a civilizing force, promoting and spreading democratic rights along with social and economic development wherever it has gone throughout the world.  These claims could not be further from the truth, as these masters of global plunder of human and all natural resources continue to force marginalized and desperately migrating peoples--peasants and proletarians alike--into the most dangerous conditions of slavery, enforced by the repressive regimes and the enslaving corporations they serve.  The following exposure by The Guardian exposes one aspect of this malevolent and highly profitable system, which then offers the inexpensive and tasty shrimp/prawn delicacies to unaware and/or uncaring consumers in imperialist countries. -- Frontlines ed.]

By Kate Hodal, Chris Kelly, Felicity Lawrence, www.theguardian.com

June 12th, 2014

Slaves forced to work for no pay for years at a time under threat of extreme violence are being used in Asia in the production of seafood sold by major US, British and other European retailers, the Guardian can reveal.

A six-month investigation has established that large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns (commonly called shrimp in the US) sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco.

The investigation found that the world’s largest prawn farmer, the Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, buys fishmeal, which it feeds to its farmed prawns, from some suppliers that own, operate or buy from fishing boats manned with slaves.

Men who have managed to escape from boats supplying CP Foods and other companies like it told the Guardian of horrific conditions, including 20-hour shifts, regular beatings, torture and execution-style killings. Some were at sea for years; some were regularly offered methamphetamines to keep them going. Some had seen fellow slaves murdered in front of them. Continue reading

Western Moves to Isolate Russia Spurs China-Russia Energy Deal

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, right, and President Xi Jinping of China on Wednesday in Shanghai, where they signed a deal to send gas through a pipeline from Siberia to China. Credit Pool photo by Mark Ralston

BEIJING — China and Russia agreed to a major 30-year natural gas deal on Wednesday that would send gas from Siberia by pipeline to China, according to the China National Petroleum Corporation.

The announcement caps a decade-long negotiation and helps bring Russia and China closer than they have been in many years. The contract was driven to a conclusion by the presence of President Xi Jinping of China and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Shanghai for the last two days. Continue reading