European Parliament surrenders to Washington on Russia policy

By Stephen Lendman
Posted on Global Research, June 13, 2015

The European Parliament, Council of the European Union and European Commission share EU legislative functions separate from individual member states’ right of initiative power to propose and enact new laws for their respective countries.

During a June 10 plenary session in Strasbourg (two days ahead of Russia’s National Day), MEP’s adopted a resolution (494 to 135 with 69 abstentions) urging EU reassessment of relations with Moscow because of Ukraine crisis conditions.

The measure includes a litany of “Russia-bashing” accusations and Big Lies claiming:

  • “Russia’s direct and indirect involvement in the armed conflict in Ukraine…”
  • it’s annexing Crimea;
  • violating Georgian territory; and
  • regional economic coercion and political destabilization.

“(B)ecause of its action in Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine, (Russia) can no longer be treated as, or considered, a “strategic partner,” the resolution said.

It urged countering Russian hard truths irresponsibly called propaganda – wanting important sources of news, information and analysis like RT International and Sputnik News replaced by Western-style government sponsored disinformation and Big Lies on issues mattering most.

Fact: Russia-bashing has nothing to do with its nonexistent interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs, violating its sovereignty, annexing its territory, or waging war.

Fact: It has everything to do with attacking Russia’s sovereign independence and vitally important opposition to America’s imperial agenda.

Fact: It’s about promoting regime change – wanting pro-Western stooge governance replacing Putin.

Fact: It’s wanting Russian resources and population exploited – strip-mining the country for profit, transforming its people into serfs.

Fact: It’s about European nations partnering with America’s dirty agenda at the expense of their own interests – risking another major war on their territory.

Russian lower house State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin said “(e)verybody understands who tells the Europeans what they should do, and why.”

Fact: It’s about America wanting other nations doing its fighting and dying for it to enrich its privileged interests more than already.

On Thursday, US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey said America needs “a network of allies.”

“We really want to play an away game, and we need teammates to do it. The very last thing we want is to play a home game.”

Fact: It’s about letting police state justice override fundamental human and civil rights.

Fact: It’s about replacing democracy with money-controlled tyranny.

Fact: It’s about creating a world more unfit to live in than already.

Fact: It’s a loud and clear call to everyone to unite against a monster threatening fundamental liberties too precious to lose.

The European Parliament’s resolution was based on a report by hardline Lithuanian MEP Gabrielius Laandsbergis irresponsibly saying:

“With its aggression against Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, the Russian leadership has put our policies at a crossroads. It’s up to the Kremlin to decide now which way it will go – cooperation or deepening alienation.”

Not a shred of credible evidence suggests Russian direct or indirect aggression in Ukraine. If any existed it would have been revealed long ago.

During his 13th annual marathon Q & A session in April, Putin forthrightly said “(i)n regard to the question of whether or not our troops are in Ukraine, I’ll say directly and definitely that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine.”

An April 16 Kremlin tweet said “Putin on the rumours that Russian troops are deployed in #Ukraine: I want to make this clear, there are no Russian troops in Ukraine.”

Russia alone continues forthright efforts for diplomatic conflict resolution. Anti-Russian propaganda drowns out hard truths. It exceeds the worst of Cold War vitriol. It risks the unthinkable – possible confrontation between the world’s two most formidable nuclear powers.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PMCentral time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/european-parliament-surrenders-to-washington-on-russia-policy/5455362

The TTIP and TPP power grab: handing the corporate thieves the key to your home

The time to stop these two agreements is now. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the other agreement affecting Pacific nations.

President Obama wants fast-track authorization in the U.S., which eliminates normal Congressional oversight, and speeds the authorization.

These agreements are still secret, though portions have been leaked. They signal the end of freedom, and the rule of corporations over virtually everything. Even lawmakers are not permitted to know the content of these agreements.

A group in the U.S. Congress is working to stop fast-track authorization. It will take a loud and active public to stop these agreements in every country.

Go here to access the open letter (also available as PDF in English with all the signatures and in French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, Danish, Italian, Slovenian, Bulgarian and Portuguese) sent to MEPs, and send it to your officials with your letter of support.

From Global Research, March 5, 2015
By Colin Todhunter

Some 375 civil society organisations from across Europe have today called on EU decision-makers to protect citizens, workers, and the environment from threats the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) it poses.  

The call comes as European Parliament committees are discussing a draft resolution on the TTIP negotiations to be voted upon in May. It will not be legally binding on negotiators but will be a significant political signal, as any final TTIP deal would have to pass a vote in the European Parliament.

In an open letter sent to MEPs today, groups from 25 countries – including trade unions, consumer, environmental, and civil rights organizations – warn that TTIP could strengthen the influence of big business and undermine public services, the protection of public health, the environment, food and workers’ rights.

For a TTIP resolution that puts people and the environment before short-term profit and disproportionate corporate rights, the letter calls on all MEPs to agree on a strong resolution that makes clear that the European Parliament will reject any future trade or investment agreements that will not serve the public interest and threaten important rights acquired by ordinary people in long struggles in the EU, US and the rest of the world.

The letter forwards the following key demands:

1) Transparency now: all documents relating to the TTIP negotiations, including draft consolidated texts, must be made public to allow for an open and critical public debate on the TTIP.

2) A democratic process to allow for the scrutiny and assessment of the negotiation texts and which would ensure that policies are in the public interest.

3) No ISDS: any provision containing Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms must be taken permanently out of the negotiations.

4) No regulatory cooperation council: all regulation must be fully in the hands of democratically controlled bodies and processes.

5) No deregulation of standards which safeguard and serve the public interest: EU standards need to be respected and not “harmonised” down to the lowest common denominator.

6) No further deregulation and privatisation of public services.

7) The promotion of humane and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices and protection of small family farming.

8) Public authorities must keep the political power and structures necessary to protect certain sensitive sectors and safeguard standards important to our quality of life. Internationally-agreed labour and environmental standards must be respected and enforced. The continuous violation of labour standards should be addressed by imposing monetary fines.

Go here to access the letter sent to MEPs today and to see the full list of signatories.

A blatant corporate power grab in secret  

Negotiations over the TTIP are happening behind closed doors, without comprehensive and effective public consultation. The lack of transparency makes it impossible for citizens and civil society to monitor the negotiations in order to ensure that public interests are being protected. Business lobby groups are given privileged access to information and opportunities to influence the negotiations.

The proposed investment protection chapter, particularly the inclusion of an Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision, would give investors exclusive rights to sue states when decisions made by public institutions are considered to have negative impacts on their anticipated profits. These mechanisms rely on rulings by tribunals that operate outside the national court systems and thereby undermine national and EU legal systems and existing structures for formulating laws and policies.

The creation of new governance structures and procedures that aim to ‘harmonise regulations’ like the proposed regulatory cooperation council would make the TTIP and other agreements a moving target, constantly developed in secret by unelected bureaucrats and big businesses. These structures threaten to lower important standards and rules designed for the protection of public interests or prohibit future improvements, regardless of necessity and public mandate.

Evidence from business and industry lobbying documents reveals that the focus on non-tariff barriers and regulatory convergence is being used to push for deregulation, further investment guarantees, intellectual property rights’ monopolies and ultimately a race to the bottom.

Pia Eberhardt of lobby-watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory says:

“TTIP is an attempted corporate coup d’etat where big business on both sides of the Atlantic is trying to achieve in secret negotiations what it could not get in open and democratic processes – from watering down food safety standards to rolling back regulations in the financial sector.”

Paul de Clerk of Europe’s largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth Europe says:

 “TTIP is like a Trojan horse. In the end we find out that it results in lower food, environmental, labour standards and the sacrificing of democratic rights for corporate interests. MEPs have to clearly reject the dangerous provisions in TTIP, such as giving corporations vast new powers to sue governments in corporate biased tribunals and regulatory cooperation as the ultimate tool for business lobby groups to stop new regulation.”

More than 1.5 million people in Europe have signed a self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative calling on EU decision-makers to stop the TTIP negotiations and to not ratify the EU-Canada trade deal CETA.

Erich Foglar of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) says:

 “Trade unions will not support trade deals that lead to job losses, increase inequalities and undermine democracy. But the negotiation texts and independent studies we see, show that this is exactly what TTIP is about. What we need is a trade policy which respects democracy, helps generate decent jobs and enhances workers’ rights.”

For a thorough outline of the history of the negotiations concerning the TTIP, see ‘A Brief History of an Agenda for Corporate Plunder’.

If you want your food poisoned even further with like likes of chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef, GMOs and even lower thresholds for pesticides, do nothing.

If you want Monsanto or Syngenta determining policies (more than they do already) in secretive meetings in Brussels, do nothing.

If you want Unilever, Kraft or Nestle determining what is allowed in your food, do nothing.

If you want governments to be made even more spineless and compelled to further bend to the threats, demands and power of corporations and unscrupulous speculators, do nothing.

In the UK, do not let the main parties sideline TTIP during the general election campaign.

Be informed and take action:

https://stop-ttip.org/

http://corporateeurope.org/

http://www.foeeurope.org/

http://www.s2bnetwork.org/

https://www.lobbycontrol.de/schwerpunkt/ttip/

http://www.alter-eu.org/

http://www.tradejustice.ca/take-action/

Letter is here;

http://corporateeurope.org/international-trade/2015/03/meps-must-protect-public-eu-us-trade-deal-threat

Website on TPP is here:
http://stoptpp.org/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-ttip-power-grab-handing-the-corporate-thieves-the-key-to-your-home/5434894

 

The CIA secret prisons in Europe — Washington’s “European partners in crime”

The West pontificates about “rule of law”. The question is: whose law?

From Global Research, March 4, 2015
By Nako Minchev

secret prison poland

It is common knowledge that at end-January 2015 the global movement Amnesty International published a report, titled “Breaking the conspiracy of silence: USA’s European “partners in crime” must act after Senate torture report”, which throws further light upon the information gathered within the US Senate investigation into torture methods, applied by the Central Intelligence Agency, by referring to media reports on the way CIA-operated secret detention sites were run in Europe – in particular, on the territory of Lithuania, Poland and Romania. As a matter of fact, it was several years ago when it first became known that CIA tortured terror suspects not only in these countries but also on the territory of another EU Member State – namely, Great Britain. According to the Lawrence Wilkinson, former Chief of Staff to the US Secretary of State, after the terror attack of 11th September 2001 the CIA used the US military base on the island of Diego Garcia, located in the British Indian Ocean Territory, to conduct interrogations and torture terror suspects who had been abducted from various countries without any court order whatsoever.

After the US Senate report got published, the European Parliament adopted a special resolution on 11th February 2015 in which it:

“expresses its deep condemnation of the gruesome interrogation practices that characterized these illegal counterterrorism operations; underlines the fundamental conclusion by the US Senate that the violent methods applied by the CIA failed to generate intelligence that prevented further terrorist attacks; recalls its absolute condemnation of torture”.

The resolution also highlights the fact that:

“the climate of impunity regarding the CIA programme has enabled the continuation of fundamental rights violations, as further revealed by the mass surveillance programmes of the US National Security Agency and secret services of various EU Member States”.

In this context, the US Government is called on:

“to investigate and prosecute the multiple human rights violations resulting from the CIA rendition and secret detention programmes, and to cooperate with all requests from EU Member States for information, extradition or effective remedies for victims in connection with the CIA programme”.

The European Parliament also:

“reiterates its calls on Member States to investigate the allegations that there were secret prisons on their territory where people were held under the CIA programme, and to prosecute those involved in these operations, taking into account all the new evidence that has come to light”.

At the same time it:

“expresses concerns regarding the obstacles encountered by national parliamentary and judicial investigations into some Member States’ involvement in the CIA programme, the abuse of state secrecy, and the undue classification of documents resulting in the termination of criminal proceedings and leading to de facto impunity of perpetrators of human rights violations”.

Furthermore, the resolution “calls for the findings of existing inquiries relating to Member States’ involvement in the CIA programme, in particular the Chilcot inquiry, to be published without further delay”.

Considering the above, we are unpleasantly impressed by the fact that the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) have hitherto failed to demonstrate the due will to discuss the refusal of the governmental authorities in Vilnius, Warsaw and Bucharest to investigate the multiple occasions of human rights violations, ensuing from the agreement of these countries to host the establishment of CIA black sites on their territory. Such an attitude erodes the very foundations of the European Union, weakens the belief of European citizens that their fundamental rights are truly guaranteed, divests the EU of its moral authority and discredits its allegiance to the universal human values.

The US Senate report and the one issued by Amnesty International, unequivocally point out that the above three EU Member States, as well as Great Britain, played a key role in the implementation of this CIA “operation” on the territory of the Old Continent. Without the help of these governments the USA would not have been in the position to detain and torture people for so many years, applying such inhumane methods as waterboarding and mock execution, sleep deprivation, use of coffin-sized confinement boxes or sexual threats.

It is high time that Europe became aware of the fact that the time for paying lip service to the condemnation of these crimes or the attempts at their covering up is over for good. The governments of Lithuania , Poland and Romania can no longer hide behind the unconvincing “national security reasons” and “state secret” arguments, thus refusing to bring to light the entire truth about their role for the torture and abduction of people in their countries. Jozef Pinior, one of the legendary leaders of the Polish “Solidarity” trade union, member of the European Parliament in the period 2004 – 2009 and of the Parliamentary committee on secret CIA prisons in Europe, now a Polish senator, points out:

“The information in the Washington Post about the fact that Polish intelligence services received USD 15 million to “host” a secret CIA prison in the country compromises the entire Polish state which should elucidate this issue as quickly as possible. This unquestionably confirmed the grimmest hypothesis that under Leszek Miller Poland turned into a “banana republic” to the USA . Another deplorable fact is that our national services have contributed in no way whatsoever to the disclosure of this conspiracy. This is an extremely disgraceful situation. The Polish state, the judicial system and the Government should publish the investigation findings as soon as possible. Otherwise we are going to become Europe ’s laughing stock. It turns out that we while we give lessons in democracy to countries like the Ukraine , we take money from the US to allow them to practice illicit torture of people on our territory”.

In its turn the Bulgarian Government should state its official support for the appeal of Amnesty International and the European Parliament and urge the authorities in Vilnius , Bucharest and Warsaw to undertake an immediate and full investigation of this case and to prosecute those involved in the tortures. Let us be reminded that most of the victims of these malpractices are Muslims and in the context of surging anti-Islam mood after the terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen it becomes even more important to find out the truth about the secret CIA “black sites” in Europe.

 

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-cia-secret-prisons-in-europe-political-camouflage-in-the-eu-washingtons-european-partners-in-crime/5434762