Yemeni Forces Start to Launch Scud Missiles at Saudi Sulayyil Military Base

Local Editor

Yemeni armyForces of the Yemeni army and the Popular Committees launched on Tuesday a Scud missile at a missile base in Saudi Arabia, state-run news agency Saba quoted the military’s spokesman as saying.

“The missile units of our heroic armed forces launched today a Scud missile at the Al Sulayyil missile base in Riyadh province … it comes as a response to the crimes of the brutal Saudi aggression,” Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman said.

“The missile hit its target directly with high accuracy,” he added.

Luqman indicated that the missile came in response to the duplicated Saudi treacherous attacks against Yemen which are targeting everything that moves on ground.

The military official recalled the attack by the army and the Committees on the Saudi Khaled Bin Abdul-Aziz airbase in Khamis-Msheit, during which a number of Saudi, Israeli and US commanders were killed, stating that it was a message to the Saudi-led aggressors to stop their oppression against the Yemeni people.

“However, they didn’t indicate it any interest,” he said.

“For this reason, the missile units of our heroic armed forces fired a Scud missile today on Al Sulayyil missile base in Al-Dawaser valley in the province of Riyadh,” Luqman went on to say in a statement.

He stressed that “the rocket launch is another message to the arrogant states perhaps they may learn the lesson.”

“We have lots of surprises in the coming days,” he promised.

Yemen has been under brutal aggression by Saudi-US coalition since Saudi Arabia launched a wide military campaign against its southern neighbor on March 26 without a UN mandate.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 2,600 people have lost their lives during the conflict in Yemen till June 14, with the vast majority of them were civilians.

Source: Al-Manar Website
30-06-2015 – 09:38 Last updated 30-06-2015 – 09:59

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Syrian Army Kills a Group of Chechen Snipers in Daraa

In a new setback against the so-called “Operation Southern Storm”, the Syrian army targeted a terrorist gathering on Monday, killing 30 members of a Chechen snipers group hours after their entered into the east of Daraa countryside.

Nassib crossingThe snipers entered Daraa from the MOC operations center through Nassib crossing.

The Syrian army targeted the residential villa, where the Chechen snipers were staying, with a guided missile hours after they entered the city of Saida in Daraa countryside.

Sources told Al-Manar TV that the Chechen snipers were brought in across the Nassib border crossing with Jordan in total secrecy, where they arrived to a residential villa at 2:30 AM in the dawn and were kept under heavy guard.

The Syrian army lookout for them and watched their movements and while they were holding a meeting with a field coordination leader the villa was leveled to the ground. The terrorists were all dead or injured.

Source: Al Manar TV
30-06-2015 – 12:52 Last updated 30-06-2015 – 12:52

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Syrian Armed Forces: ISIS has Suffered 691 Casualties in 48 Hours

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BY  ON JUNE 30, 2015 

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies from the National Defense Forces (NDF) have allegedly killed 691 enemy combatants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) in the last 48 hours at the Syrian provinces of Al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor.
According to media sources from the Syrian Armed Forces, the latter has killed 444 ISIS fighters at the provincial capital of  the Al-Hasakah Governorate and 247 ISIS fighters at the provincial capital of the Deir Ezzor Governorate – among these 691 casualties, 13 of them were reportedly field commanders identified by the Syrian Armed Forces.
While the Syrian Armed Forces have killed a substantial number of ISIS militants in the last 48 hours, these alleged numbers have not been confirmed by the Syrian Arab Army’s Central Command – the only reports that confirm these numbers are SAA media activists.
Al-Masdar News was able to confirm the death of 94 ISIS militants at the provincial capital of the Al-Hasakah Governorate in the last 72 hours; however, the 350 others that the SAA media activists reported could not be confirmed by this news agency.
Recently, ISIS has conducted a number of large-scale offensives in the provinces of Al-Hasakah, Aleppo, Hama, and Homs – they achieved limited success in some of these provinces; however, they have progressed the furthest in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, despite the Syrian Arab Army’s fierce resistance at the southern and western perimeters of the city.Related Videos

 تحليل صريح وموضوعي في سحور سياسي مع د مهدي دخل الله & د بسام أبو عبد الله ~ حسين الفياض

Palestinian Woman Stabs Israeli Soldier at Bethlehem Checkpoint

 BY NEWS DESK ON JUNE 30, 2015

 emergency_servicemen

 A Palestinian woman stabbed a female Israeli soldier in the neck at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and West Bank city of Bethlehem on Monday, according to Israeli security forces.

The Palestinian had arrived at the checkpoint, which has separate lines for men and women, and “pulled out a knife and stabbed a military policewoman,” a police statement said.

The Israeli Defense Forces emergency medical service Magen David Adom said the soldier was in moderate condition.

The reported stabbing is the most recent in a spate of attacks by Palestinians on Israel’s military in the Palestinian territories.

On June 21, a Palestinian stabbed and seriously wounded an Israeli border policeman at Damascus Gate outside East Jerusalem’s Old City before the officer shot the Palestinian, critically injuring him.

On Friday Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian at a checkpoint in the Jordan Valley who they alleged was attempting to attack them.

AFP

 

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Greece to Close Banks, Impose Capital Controls

Faced with an increase in demand but no extra funding from the European Central Bank, the Greek government ordered banks closed. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in televised address Sunday that as a result of a denial by Greece’s creditors for a short extension of the bailout program, the government has been forced to introduce capital controls and keep its banks closed on Monday.
“This decision led the ECB today to limit the liquidity of Greek banks and forced the central bank of Greece to propose a bank holiday and a restriction on bank withdrawals,” said Tsipras in a televised address.
Greek lawmakers approved Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ request for a July 5 referendum on Greece’s creditors’ latest bailout terms. However, Greece’s current bailout expires Tuesday and without an extension the country faces defaulting on its US$1.8 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.
As a result, Greece may be in the midst of an urgent financial situation by the time the day of the vote arrives.
Officials from the IMF have also deliberately inserted themselves into the debate surrounding the referendum. IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice told Bloomberg Business that the fund fully expects the payment to be made Tuesday and should Greece fail to pay that, they would immediately be in arrears.
Being in arrears means Greece would be unable to receive any further loans from the IMF.
Meanwhile IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Greek government’s planned July 5 referendum will be based on bailout terms for the country that are no longer valid as the current program expires on June 30.
But Lagarde nonetheless made a pitch to Greeks, encouraging them to vote yes in next Sunday’s referendum. According to the unelected official, if the vote produced “a resounding yes” to remaining in the euro, then creditors would also be willing to make an effort, she told the BBC.
Lagarde said there was still time for the Greek government to accept the proposals from creditors, despite having varied little from its initial calls for austerity reforms, including lowering of wages and pensions.
The latest counter-offer from creditors was deemed unacceptable by the leftist Syriza government, which was elected on a platform to end austerity in the country.
Prime Minister Tsipras has framed the question of a referendum as a question of democracy. This appears to be resonating with the Greek people, who are standing by their government.
“He absolutely did the right thing. Of course I will vote against the lenders proposals,” said Areti Kazanzioglou, 40, a private sector employee. “Europe is all about democracy, and not what the institutions are trying to do to us.”
Prime Minister Tsipras is calling for a “no” vote in Sunday’s referendum while pro-European Greek opposition parties have condemned the decision to call the referendum.
See also: On the Delphi Declaration, by Michael Hudson

ISIS Barbarians at the Gates, While NATO Hypes ‘Russian Threat’

Posted on June 29, 2015 by Alexandra Valiente

As ISIS terror erupts across the globe, Western governments are busy making plans to establish a rapid reaction force in Eastern Europe to ‘contain Russia’, thus qualifying them for an annual ‘you couldn’t make it up’ award.

It calls to mind one of Britain’s worst military defeats, suffered at the hands of the Japanese, when 100,000 troops and sailors were marched into captivity after the fall of Singapore on February 15, 1942. Winston Churchill called it “the largest capitulation in British history.” Many of the British troops never even fired a shot before surrendering, thus adding to the humiliation and ignominy of their defeat at the hands of a much smaller force. The British commander responsible for the surrender, Lieutenant General Arthur Percival, earned himself a cold place in history as a consequence.

A major reason for the defeat and surrender of an island that was considered a key and strategically vital part of the British Empire was that the guns of the British defenders were pointed in the wrong direction; they’d been expecting the Japanese attack to come from the sea rather than through the jungle and swamps of the Malay Peninsula behind them.

Today, in 2015, British guns are not only pointed in the wrong direction they are pointed at the wrong enemy. The most recent terrorist atrocity, carried out last week against tourists in Tunisia, has resulted in the most British victims since the 7/7 attacks in London which ended in the deaths of 52 innocent civilians. On the same day as the Tunisian attack, a terrorist atrocity was carried out in France, while in Kuwait a suicide bomber attacked a Shia mosque.

Meanwhile, in Iraq and Syria, the so-called Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) and other Salafist terror groups continue to kill, slaughter, and butcher men, women, and children. All this is happening while the West continues to make a virtue of impotence, more concerned with directing its ire against a country, Russia that has been at the forefront of resisting terrorism at home and abroad.

Yes, without doubt, you couldn’t make it up.

Every day that IS exists it grows stronger; its vile ideology becomes more entrenched and grows more attractive to ever more young disaffected Muslim men across the world. They are not attracted to the group’s religious doctrine so much as the opportunity to join a cause that allows them to feel powerful as opposed to the powerlessness of their current predicament in a world underpinned by the anarchy of a free market that breeds poverty, despair, and injustice.

As such, the West is both the handmaiden and victim of radicalization. Every terrorist attack confirms the collapse of Western foreign policy and its alignment with some of the most reactionary states on the planet – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, etc. – not to mention ultra nationalists in Kiev and across Eastern Europe. It constitutes unimpeachable evidence of the sham that is Western democracy, and how it rests upon foundations of hypocrisy and mendacity.

The crisis and chaos that has engulfed the Middle East as a direct result of the West’s role in the region increasingly threatens civilians everywhere, including Russia, which is why it remains unconscionable that the West remains intent on treating Moscow as an enemy rather than a partner in a struggle against one of the gravest threats to modernity and civilization the world has faced. Furthermore, this cognitive dissonance, this departure from reality, informs an air campaign that has failed utterly in its stated objective of degrading the power of IS and stemming its advance. When it suffers a reverse in one part of Syria or Iraq, it advances in another, butchering civilians wherever it appears.

The question needs to be asked: Where is the 30-40,000 strong rapid reaction force to counter the barbarism of ISIS? Where is the determination to contain a state – the so-called Islamic State – that violates every moral and ethical principle of humanity in its treatment of minorities, women, children, and natural justice?

There is no more grievous indictment of the policy being undertaken by the West than the fact that a large swathe of the world is now a no-go area for tourists and visitors. The impact of the attack in Tunisia, for example, will be measured in a loss of a tourism industry that is vital to that country’s ability to maintain a nascent democracy that is balanced precariously on the edge of sustainability, thus making the growth of extremism and terrorism there more rather than less likely.

This lamentable state of affairs is even more grotesque when we consider that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. This was a war that saw the West and the Soviet Union unite against a common enemy, fascism, in the interests of humanity. Those who fought and sacrificed and suffered immeasurably in that war would be well within their rights to judge the current generation of leaders harshly over their lack of statesmanship and foresight in understanding who and what the real enemy is, and where the real threat to global peace and stability resides.

The barbarians are at the gates and it’s time to wake up, else we’re going to have a bloody disaster on our hands.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Spin Becomes “Fact” in NY Times Gaza Flotilla Story

Spin Becomes “Fact” in NY Times Gaza Flotilla Story

Now, with the seizure of a Swedish boat in international waters, The New York Times can no longer ignore Flotilla III, the latest attempt to break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. So we find a story today that ends the paper’s silence on this weeks-long saga that began in Gothenburg last month.

Times readers learned nothing of the Marianne and her three companion vessels as the international organizers of the flotilla announced their plans and gathered crews throughout the spring. Even when one of the boats was sabotaged last week or when a Palestinian member of the Knesset announced that he was joining the group, none of these events appeared in the Times.

Those who checked out The Washington Post, Newsweek, CBS News or Israeli media would have known that Flotilla III was on its way to Gaza, with the Swedish vessel approaching the strip and the others far behind. The Times, however, avoided any mention of the effort until today, when the Israeli navy announced that it had seized the Marianne and was taking her to the port of Ashdod. (The other vessels by then had turned back toward Europe.)

Now the Times has published an article by Diaa Hadid on the seizure, and her piece gives precedence to Israeli spin, allowing official excuses for the brutal siege of Gaza to stand as fact. Thus, she writes that Israel maintains a naval blockade of the strip “because militants have tried to smuggle in weapons and attack Israel by sea.”

Hadid repeats this formula in the following paragraph where she states that Israel allows only “small amounts” of construction materials into Gaza “because Hamas has used building materials to construct tunnels to attack Israel.”

United Nations investigations have provided very different takes on these two issues: A 2010 fact-finding mission, for instance, declared that Israel has imposed the blockade (by land and sea) out of “a desire to punish the people of the Gaza Strip for having elected Hamas. The combination of this motive and the effect of the restrictions on the Gaza Strip leave no doubt that Israel’s actions amount to collective punishment as defined by international law.”

Where Hadid’s piece implies that tunnels have been used for random “terror” attacks on Israel, a recent UN report on the 2014 conflict found that the tunnels had been used only for legitimate means, to engage with Israeli troops during the fighting this past summer. Neither the Times nor any other media outlet has named a single Israeli civilian who was harmed because of these tunnels. (See TimesWarp 6-22-15.)

Unfortunately, Hadid fails to mention either of these findings and repeats Israeli spin as accepted fact. She fails to make even a minimal attempt at attribution, and so we have no “according to” or “Israel claims” here—just the bald, assertive “because.”

Her story ends with a poignant quote that begs for explanation. As fishermen gathered in Gaza to protest the seizure of the Marianne, one of them spoke to a Times representative. “We hope that other activists come to Gaza to help us break the naval siege,” he said, “so that we can sail again without fear.”

The article leaves us with an unanswered question: Why are the fishermen living in fear? Times readers, however, never learn the answer: Israeli naval boats routinely open fire on fishermen as they sail within the 6-mile limit imposed by the blockade. At least one died this year, several have been injured, and several have lost their boats and equipment because of the Israeli attacks.

The Times ignores this ongoing breach of the August 2014 truce, which stated that the fishing limit would expand to 12 miles. (This in itself is still far short of the 20-mile boundary set by the Oslo accords.) The paper also ignores Israel’s military incursions into Gaza, which are further breaches of the ceasefire.

Times editors are counting on a short shelf life for the Flotilla III story. Too much attention to such messy topics as international law, the definition of piracy, assaults on unarmed fishermen and Israeli breaches of the 2014 ceasefire might expose some inconvenient facts about Israel’s pitiless siege of Gaza, and this is not to their taste.

Barbara Erickson

July 4th, a revolution desperately needed for the USA

July 4: Land of the free, home of the brave? Ok; are you free and brave enough to demand arrests of US .01% War Criminals ?

Do you admire the US Declaration of Independence ideals of unalienable rights, and early Americans having the intellectual integrity and moral courage to defend your country from dictatorial government, and refusing being used as work animals of a .01% self-declared “elite”?

Those of you with Oaths to support and defend the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so you have the honor to enact that Oath here and now?

Those of you who consider yourselves responsible and educated citizens, do you respect the sacrifices of all our families through two world wars to uphold the Emperor’s New Clothes simple treaties that make current US wars Orwellian unlawful? I mean, really: can you tell us any more important law for citizens to understand than when armed attack is and is not lawful?

Unalienable rights are from God, and granted to all humans. Living in the land of the free and the home of the brave means by definition that we uphold all peoples’ freedom, and are brave enough to defend everyone’s freedom from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The most important freedom to defend is what the Declaration of Independence calls “Life”: freedom to not be killed by dictatorial government. The two treaties after each world war make current US armed attacks not even close to lawful. Importantly, all “reasons” given for war to Americans, our military, and the world are now disclosed by US official documents as known to be false as they were told. Of 248 armed conflicts since WW2, the US started 201 (81%), killing ~30 million human beings; more than killed by Germany in WW2.

You wouldn’t know this unless you read alternative media, because in Empires since the Roman’s, governments for the elite insiders rather than the public always control:

  • Government for favorable laws, and to control military, law enforcement, and judges.
  • What is used for money to enrich themselves and pay their minions.
  • Media in order to propagandize the public to “cover” their crimes.

These claims require zero belief. Those of us awake simply ask what the Emperor’s New Clothes child asks the community: look for yourselves at naked crimes in literally ~100 areas. These crimes demand arrests, obviously, as the costs of these crimes centering in war and money dwarf all others:

A lawful revolution is in response to government that abjectly violates its own laws, and refuses all reasonable offers to return government limits within its own constitution. It is a lawful revolution that requests its own military and law enforcement to do their jobs of arresting obvious criminal suspects in their own government.

Are you free and brave enough to stand with those of us simply pointing to Emperor’s New Clothes obvious facts of our own government slaughtering our fellow humans in unlawful, lie-began wars and poverty-murder?

Will you pass this simple test of responsible citizenship to demand arrests of obvious criminals violating the most important laws to stop government wanna-be dictators to continue killing millions, harming billions, and looting trillions?

I teach history, government, and economics, and promise you that the above documented facts of two treaties after each world war are what you already learned beginning in elementary school, and finished learning in high school.

Are you free enough to verify what you already know, and brave enough to tell the simple truth of US domestic War Criminals?

If you admire the Founding Generation of Americans for standing against the tyranny of their own government, do you admire yourself enough to stand with them today under circumstances far more obvious than faced by Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and their colleagues?

The thoughts, words and actions you take are what you really are as a human being, and what you give to your children.

Be the American you’ve always wanted to be.

**

Note: I make all factual assertions as a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History, with all economics factual claims receiving zero refutation since I began writing in 2008 among Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teachers on our discussion board, public audiences of these articles, and international conferences. I invite readers to empower their civic voices with the strongest comprehensive facts most important to building a brighter future. I challenge professionals, academics, and citizens to add their voices for the benefit of all Earth’s inhabitants.

**

Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History; also credentialed in Mathematics. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at Carl_Herman@post.harvard.edu

Note: Examiner.com has blocked public access to my articles on their site (and from other whistleblowers), so some links in my previous work are blocked. If you’d like to search for those articles other sites may have republished, use words from the article title within the blocked link. Or, go to http://archive.org/web/, paste the expired link into the box, click “Browse history,” then click onto the screenshots of that page for each time it was screen-shot and uploaded to webarchive. I’ll update as “hobby time” allows; including my earliest work from 2009 to 2011 (blocked author pages: here, here).

Saudi dictatorship confirms WikiLeaks Leaked Documents are genuine

The Saudi crown prince: draconian measures and Severe Punishments Expected for Those Who Publish WikiLeaks Leaked Documents

 

Muhammad bin Nayef , the Saudi Crown Prince, declared that publishing any of classified Saudi documents by WikiLeaks whistle-blower is considered a crime and wrongdoers will convicted to high treason The Saudi monarch ordered a special committee to address the political consequences of recent publication of thousands of classified Saudi Foreign Ministry documents by the transparency advocate site WikiLeaks . The committee that is chaired by Saudi crown prince includes other high-ranking officials such as the heads of General Intelligence Directorate and Saudi’s notorious secret police –known as Mabaheth – and representatives from the Saudi royal court and Defence Ministry.

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz (Sky News)

 

According to our well-informed sources, one of the first resolutions adopted by this committee is the restriction on publishing the Saudi Foreign Ministry cables, moreover Saudi citizens who found guilty will be sentenced to severe punishments.

 

In the meantime, the Saudi octogenarian king will soon send emissaries to United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan to urge the heads of governments to help the beleaguered Saudi regime prevent the unbaiting waves of angry public opinion.

 

The Saudi officials have blocked all websites that contain any parts of WikiLeaks leaked documents to avoid further public indignation.

Saudi linked to Jihadist Group in Afghanistan

Saudi Officials Linked to Jihadist Group in WikiLeaks Cables

Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, had high-level contacts with America’s most deadly adversary in Afghanistan, the Haqqani network, according to purported Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

Jalaluddin Haqqani (C)

Jalaluddin Haqqani (C)

The documents, which couldn’t be independently verified, say the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan met in 2012 with Nasiruddin Haqqani, the chief fundraiser for the jihadist group who has been on a United Nations terrorism watch list since 2010.

 

In the meeting, Mr. Haqqani requested medical treatment in Saudi Arabia for his father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the terrorist organization, the diplomatic correspondence says. The documents indicate the elder Haqqani carries a Saudi passport.

 

The Saudi embassy in Islamabad wasn’t available to comment, and Afghan officials didn’t immediately respond to the allegations. Senior U.S. officials said they were reviewing the reports but they had no immediate comment. Earlier this month, Osama Nugali, a Saudi foreign ministry spokesman, said that many of the documents published by WikiLeaks“have been clearly fabricated.” But he also said that the documents “didn’t give any information other than that formerly announced by the ministry” on international or regional issues.

 

Washington’s ties with Saudi Arabia have been strained for years over U.S. concerns that funding for the Afghan insurgency and other terrorist groups in the Middle East comes from donors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. Successive U.S. administrations have been careful not to accuse Gulf governments of complicity in sponsoring terrorism, however.

 

A document dated Feb. 15, 2012, and signed by the then-Saudi envoy to Islamabad, Amb.Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Saleh Al Ghadeer, says the diplomat met with Nasiruddin Haqqani, who asked the ambassador to convey to the Saudi king his father’s wish to be treated in a Saudi hospital. The cable also mentions Jalaluddin Haqqani’s Saudi passport.

 

In a separate document, dated Feb. 25, 2012, a senior official from Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry recommends treating Jalaluddin Haqqani in a Saudi hospital. It was unclear whether the treatment ever took place.

 

The Haqqani network is believed by U.S. and Afghan officials to be responsible for carrying out the most brazen attacks in the Afghan capital over the last decade, including a September 2011 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. This month, Afghan officials blamed the Haqqani network for an unsuccessful attempt to storm the parliament in Kabul.

 

The network traces its origins to the 1980s, when the U.S. and Saudi Arabia backed Afghan mujahedeen factions fighting the Soviets with the assistance of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf described the Haqqanis as “our champions of the uprising against the Soviet Union.”

 

The U.S. broke off support for the mujahedeen after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, but Saudi Arabia and Pakistan maintained active links with various mujahedeen factions. After the Taliban government was ousted by the U. S-led invasion in 2001, the Haqqanis became a key military ally of the Taliban, who have waged a deadly insurgency against the U.S.-backed government of Afghanistan following the collapse of their regime.

 

Jalaluddin Haqqani’s listing on the U.N. terror watch list is supposed to bar his international travel and impose a financial freeze on him. Nasiruddin was placed on the same U.N. list in 2010. The U.S. designated the Haqqani network as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” in 2012.

 

“It just shows how acceptable it is to the Saudi hierarchy that the ambassador thought nothing of reporting this in an official cable, and indeed meeting them, or needing to seek instructions before doing so,” said Zafar Hilaly, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Yemen.

 

Official U.S. anger over support for the Haqqani network has largely focused not on Saudi Arabia but on Pakistan, where the group had a base for years in the North Waziristan tribal area along the border with Afghanistan. In 2011, U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the Haqqanis as “a veritable arm” of the ISI, a characterization Islamabad has disputed. A Pakistan army operation launched last year has driven many militants out of North Waziristan.

 

The Afghan government has also considered the Haqqanis an irreconcilable foe. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai often addressed the Taliban as “brothers,” when urging them to end their armed opposition — but didn’t extend the same courtesy to the Haqqanis, according to his former spokesman, Aimal Faizi.

 

“They killed a large number of Afghans, civilians and military,” Mr. Faizi said.

 

Simbal Khan, a security analyst based in Islamabad, said that Afghanistan was part of the proxy war being waged across the Muslim world between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which has also supported insurgent groups in Afghanistan, including parts of the Taliban.

 

“The Saudis cannot not support the old Taliban, the ones they at least had good relations with,” said Ms. Khan. “If they gave them up, and Iran kept funding their elements, how does that make sense for the Saudis?”

 

Nasiruddin Haqqani was assassinated on the outskirts of Islamabad in November 2013, a shooting that Pakistan says was orchestrated by Afghan intelligence. It isn’t clear whether Jalaluddin, who is known to have been ill for years, is still alive. Another one of his sons, Sirajuddin, is currently the group’s military commander.

 

This article was originally published in WSJ and can be accessed here.

Netanyahu: israel considering leaving UN Human Rights Council, actually they should be thrown out

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel is considering leaving the UN Human Rights Council, according to Israeli radio.

Netanyahu (Photo:lfarosulmondo)

 

“ Israel is considering whether or not to stay in the Human Rights Council in light of the recentUN Gazareport,” BenjaminNetanyahu said in a closed meeting with top Israeli officials, according to Israeli Army Radio.

 

Last Monday, an independent United Nations inquiry pointed out the impunity with which Israeli forces committed grave human rights violations in the Gaza Strip and West Bank during its offensive in 2014.

 

The report noted that there was a huge increase in firepower during the conflict in 2014, with over 6,000 airstrikes carried out by the Israeli army and around 50,000 tank and artillery shells fired.

 

Palestinian armed groups also reportedly fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars at Israel between July and August 2014.

 

The State of Palestine officially submitted documents to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Thursday, accusing Israel of war crimes and illegal settlement construction on Palestinian territory.

 

The move, made possible after Palestinians joined the court in April, comes days after a United Nations report that said both Israel and Palestinian resistance group Hamas may have committed war crimes during Israel’s bloody military offensive last July.

 

The file delivered to the ICC contains claims regarding the Israeli operation in Gaza last year and the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

 

During Israel’s 51-day Operation Protective Edge in July and August 2014, more than 2,100 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed and 11,000 injured — mostly women and children.

 

For decades, Israel has continued to misappropriate Palestinian land in the West Bank, where it continues to build Jewish-only settlements in breach of international law.

 

The number of Israelis living in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem is estimated to be over 500,000, living in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements.

 

This article was originally published in AA and can be accessed here.

New Cold War has nothing to do with Russian aggression for the simple reason there is/was none

US Restarted the Cold War: The Real Story About the NATO Buildup The New York Times Won’t Tell You

This article originally appeared at Salon

“Russian aggression”—CBS provides a perfect example of imperial disinformation

US leaders and media push time-worn nonsense about American innocence, while taking aggressive moves. Look out


Have you picked up on the new trope du jour? We are all encouraged to bask in our innocence as we lament the advent of a new Cold War. The thought has been in the wind for more than a year, of course, at least among some of us. But we witness a significant turn, and I hope this same some of us are paying attention.

As of this week, leaders who know nothing about leading, thinkers who do not think and opinion-shaping poseurs such as Tom Friedman are confident enough in their case to sally forth with it: The Cold War returns, the Russians have restarted it and we must do the right thing—the right thing being to bring NATO troops and materiel up to Russia’s borders, pandering to the paranoia of the former Soviet satellites as if they alone have access to some truth not available to the rest of us.

James Stavridis, the former admiral and NATO commander, quoted in Wednesday’s New York Times: “I don’t think we’re in the Cold War again—yet. I can kind of see it from here.”

I can kind of see it, too, Admiral, and cannot be surprised: NATO has missed the Cold War since the Wall came down and the Pentagon’s creature in Europe commenced a quarter-century of wandering in search of useful enemies. At last, the very best of them is back.

The inimitable (thank goodness) Tom Friedman on the same day’s opinion page: “This time it seems like the Cold War without the fun—that is, without James Bond, Smersh, ‘Get Smart’ Agent 86’s shoe phone,” and so on.

Leave it to Tom to recall the single most consequentially corrosive period in American history by way of its infantile frivolities. He is paid, after all, to make sure Americans understand events cartoonishly rather than as historical phenomena with chronology, causality and responsibility attaching to them.

You have here a classic one-two. Stavridis’ successors in the military get on with the business of aggressing abroad and trapping Russia in a frame-up J. Edgar Hoover would admire, while Friedman buries us in marshmallow fluff sandwiches.

A couple of columns back I wondered aloud as to what all the talk of renewed Russian aggression, begun in mid-April, was all about. It certainly had nothing to do with Russian aggression for the simple reason there was none. If you saw any, please tell us all about it in the comment box.

A couple of columns earlier I questioned why John Kerry met Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov, his foreign minister, in Sochi. Altogether weirdly, the secretary of state suddenly appeared to make common cause with the Russian president.

My worst predictions are now realities. We have just been subjected to a tried-and-sometimes-true campaign preparing us for a Cold War reprise—begun, like the original, by spooks and Pentagon planners ever eager to escalate unnecessary tensions in the direction of unnecessary conflict.

Think with history, readers. We are now back in the mid-1950s by my reckoning, when the template at work today was perfected in places such as Guatemala. The Dulles brothers double-handedly transformed Jacobo Árbenz, offspring of a Swiss druggist and Guatemala’s second properly elected president, into an agent of “Communist aggression,” as the Times helpfully described him at the time. Árbenz was deposed in 1954, of course, and most Americans were obediently relieved that another “threat” had been countered. (I have always loved the purely American thought of an aggressive Guatemala.)

On through the decades, from Ho to Lumumba to Allende to the Sandinistas—every single case falsely cast as a Moscow-inspired challenge to the “free world,” every case in truth reflecting America’s ambition to global dominance. There is a golden rule at work here, so do not miss it: Americans never act but in response to a threat to human freedom originating among the mal-intended elsewhere.

Any good historian—and stop being so negative, you find good ones here and there—will tell you that the golden rule has applied without exception since the 18th century. It applied to the Mexicans in the 1840s, the Spanish in the 1890s, and countless times during the century we call American.

Even now, the golden rule is inscribed in any American history text you may pick up. It is integral to Americans’ consciousness of themselves. And in consequence it is near to impossible for most of us to grasp our role in events as they unfold before our eyes, never mind our true place in history.

So long as the rule applies, all notions of causality and responsibility are erased from the story. This reality is very close to the root of the American crisis, if you accept the thought that we are amid one.

I view the marked deterioration of the West’s relations with Russia since April in precisely this historically informed light. We have entered upon a new Cold War, all right, and its similarity to the last one lies in one aspect more important than any other: Washington instigated this one just as Truman set the first in motion when he armed the Greek monarchy—fascist by his own ambassador’s description—against a popular revolt in 1947.

You would think it something close to a magician’s trickery to conduct a century and more’s worth of coups, political subterfuge and military interventions and keep Americans convinced that all done in their names is done in the name of good. But we live through a case in point. We now witness an aggressive military advance toward Russia’s borders on a nearly astonishing scale, yet very few Americans are able to see it for what it is.

Such is the power of our golden rule.

The theme of new Russian aggression sounded over the past couple of months reeked of orchestration from the first, as suggested in this space when it was first sounded. It was too consistent in language, tone and implication, whether it came from the Pentagon, NATO or Times news reports—which are, naturally, based on Pentagon and NATO sources.

Anything counted: Russia’s military exercises within its own borders were aggressive. Russian air defense systems on its borders were aggressive. Russia’s military presence in Kaliningrad, Russian territory lying between Lithuania and Poland, was an aggressive threat.

The caker came 10 days ago, when Putin promised his generals 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles. Aggressive times 10, we heard over and over. “Loose rhetoric” was the incessantly repeated phrase.

In this connection I loved Ashton Carter in an exclusive interview on CBS Tuesday morning. Announcing NATO’s new plans for deployments in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, the defense secretary cited Putin’s “loose rhetoric.” The correspondent must have lost the playbook and had the temerity to ask him to explain. Whereupon the wrong-footed Carter mumbled, “Well, it’s… it’s… it’s loose rhetoric, that’s what it is.”

Got it, Ash. Loose rhetoric.

Does the secretary mind if we spend a few minutes in the forbidden kingdom known as historical reality?

Putin has not uttered a syllable of rhetoric—no need of it—since the Bush II White House floored him with its 2002 announcement that it would unilaterally abandon Nixon’s 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. “This, in fact, pushes us to a new round of the arms race, because it changes the global security system,” the Russian leader said subsequently. Whereupon Russia set about rebuilding its greatly reduced nuclear arsenal, of which the 40 new ICBMs are an exceedingly small addition.

There are no secrets here—only chronology and causality. In the context, I view the 40 new missiles as a very measured message—and of little consequence in themselves—in reply to the immodest lunge into frontline nations Carter disclosed in Estonia this week.

USA, always quick to criticise others over Human Rights gets very defensive over UN report

“Just Say Anything!” – The US Responds to the UN Review of its Human Rights Record

The US has a history of making inaccurate statements to international bodies in order to advance its global agenda. One need only look at the statements made on the international stage prior to the invasion of Iraq to realize that the intention to invade Iraq was not going to be hindered by a realistic assessment of its “weapons of mass destruction” program.

In recent UN convenings, we are now seeing false statements put on the record by high-ranking US officials concerning the US’s domestic agenda. As the UN has no dominion over the domestic issues within the United States, one can only view these coordinated efforts by the US officials as a studied effort at propaganda.

This past May, the UN reviewed the human rights record of the United States. Known as the UPR (Universal Periodic Review), this session in May marked the second such review, the first having taken place in 2010. Civil society was invited to submit reports and over ninety NGOs and grassroots organizations did so. In addition, over 110 UN member nations also voiced their concerns as to the US’s human rights record.

Criticisms and concerns were entered on many different issues. The failed campaign promise of President Obama to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay was mentioned repeatedly. So were the failures of the United States to ratify many human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Convention on the Rights of the Child, The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as well as other international treaties.

Racial profiling and police killings of US citizens, many if not most being African Americans, were raised as consistent concerns. In addition, recommendations were made that the US halt its application of the death penalty and also establish a national human rights agency.

The tone of the US response was quite a bit different from the tack taken in 2010. Gone were the promises, empty as they were. Instead, the US adopted a regimented and in some cases a somewhat belligerent defense of what might be considered indefensible activities. And where belligerence might have failed to impress, outright lies were employed.

Muted belligerence was clearly in evidence in the statements made by Brigadier General Richard Gross, legal counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who addressed concerns about Guantanamo Bay and the detainees. “The detainees are detained lawfully,” he declared. According to Gross, there were 242 detainees at the beginning of the Obama administration and 116 have been transferred out since then. He stated that 122 remain. As these figures omit four individuals, it is assumed that they have died.

Alarmingly, Gross made the following revelations: Of the remaining 122, he told us, 57 are designated for transfer. Out of the 65 others, 10 are currently facing charges or have been convicted. The remaining 55, he stated, will be reviewed by the periodic review board. In other words, 55 individuals have been detained for years without being charged. This is hardly in accordance with US law, which guarantees a speedy trial, among other legal considerations.

And it is US law which pertains to the detainees. Supreme Court decisions have granted the detainees protections under US law, including the right of habeas corpus. Over 200 writs of habeas corpus have been filed by Guantanamo Bay detainees. Not one has been granted.

Police abuse is of grave concern to many different sectors. The US attempted to assuage these concerns with outright lies. Indeed, the US continued on with its hooey about the non-existent “hundreds of federal prosecutions” for police abuse that it tried to front a few months back at the Convention Against Torture meeting in Geneva. As discussed in this article, he actual numbers of federal prosecutions for police abuse could be counted on the fingers of one hand. 

Rather than correct the previous misstatements, the US officials amplified the bogus figures, and cited a total of 400 such prosecutions. The Big Lie is always the best, and for those who gagged on the overblown figure of 330 such prosecutions stated at the CAT by Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower a few months back, the new figure of 400 such prosecutions provides an even bigger loogey to swallow.

For students of effective propaganda, it might be of interest to note that the US did not use David Bitkower, a white man, as the mouthpiece for this lie on the occasion of the UPR. As previously noted, most of the police killings involve a black victim, and accordingly, the US used one of its black DOJ officials, James Cadogan, to deliver this line of horse puckey. Cadogan is Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General.

Well, using the facade of race to convince the naïve population that it was getting something other than more of the same worked in the 2008 election, did it not?

It looks like the US, seemingly on a roll of grandiose pronouncements as to its diligent protection of human rights, did not stop with this false figure. Other declarations were made at the UPR which were similarly suspect. For example, according to Kevin Washburn, with the Department of the Interior, the US has restored about a million acres to Indian tribes under this administration. Well, that sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? 

The problem arises in verifying Washburn’s “million acre” pronouncement. As it turns out, Washburn also testified before a Congressional subcommittee just a scant three days after he made the “million acre” declaration to the UN. In his testimony in front of the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, US House of Representatives on May 14, Washburn testified that the Obama administration had restored “approximately 300,000 acres to tribes.” 

That constitutes a rather serious difference in figures. In accordance with the Uncle Tomism seen in using African American Cadogan to speak on police abuse, Washburn, who is the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior, also claims to be a member of the Chickasaw Nation, an Oklahoma tribe.

At the 2010 UPR, the US promised to ratify the Convention On the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In fact, Congress voted against ratification in. 2012. In the US report to the UPR for the 2015 review, the US stated that “The United States has robust protections to prevent discrimination against persons with disabilities and has actively enforced these protections since our last report.” In fact, multiple ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) complaints have been filed with the Department of Justice, stating profound violations of rights affecting the elderly and disabled by state courts. According to recent statements made by an ADA employee to this reporter, not one of these complaints has been pursued by the DOJ.

Another red flag appeared in the US’s statements about the number of federal hate crimes prosecutions. The US claimed that over 200 individuals had been convicted under federal hate crime laws, including the Shepard/Byrd Act, in the past five years.

This reporter contacted the DOJ press office as well as the FBI and was refused details on hate crime convictions. A dedicated internet search, including DOJ and FBI websites as well as newspaper reports, turned up a total of 72 convictions for federal hate crimes since 2009. Sixteen of these convictions—for the infamous Amish beard cutting defendants– were subsequently reversed in 2014, leaving a grand total of 56.

Parenthetically, as the press office at the US DOJ refused to supply factual documentation (such as case numbers and names), this reporter filed a Freedom of Information Request for this information. It is possible that the fulfillment of this request will provide a different perspective. For the edification of the readers, the last FOIA request by this reporter was filed in 2009. I am still awaiting the response.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran an article on the lack of transparency in the Obama administration and cited multiple problems with FOIA. According to the article, “Most Administrations play games with FOIA, but the Obama White House has turned stonewalling into an art form.” 

The WSJ article goes on to discuss the following ploys being utilized to evade replies to FOIA requests– imposing sky high fees, failing to process requests within the legal time limit, destroying information and excessively redacting information.

Access to accurate information is a fundamental part of a democracy. If the citizenry is kept in the dark about the nature of its governance, it will not be able to make appropriate decisions. Those in power who play a shell game with the facts of their activities do so in accordance with the dedicated purpose of any liar–fear of exposure and avoidance of accountability.

Janet C. Phelan, investigative journalist and human rights defender that has traveled pretty extensively over the Asian region, an author of a tell-all book EXILE, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.
First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/06/29/just-say-anything-the-us-responds-to-the-un-review-of-its-human-rights-record/

US government covered up 14,000 photos documenting CIA secret prisons

US government covered up 14,000 photos documenting CIA secret prisons

By Thomas Gaist

The US government has concealed the existence of some 14,000 images documenting the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) network of secret “black site” torture and interrogation centers established after September 11, according to unnamed US officials who spoke to the Washington Post.

The existence of the photographs was known to the US military prosecutors involved in ongoing military commission cases against four alleged terrorists for at least several months prior to the publication of the media reports on Saturday, according to the Post.

The photos had never been brought forward during more than three years of hearings in the cases of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and three other alleged participants in the September 11 attacks.

After a brief attempt to conduct their trials in a New York federal court, the accused are again standing before military-run commissions established to deny basic democratic rights to “enemy combatants” captured by the US government as part of the so-called global war on terror.

Images from black sites in Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and possibly others are included in the photo cache, which the Obama administration still refuses to release.

The photos, now under review by US officials, include images of naked prisoners taken during transportation to the torture sites. There are also reportedly photos of a wooden board used for waterboarding detainees at a black site in Afghanistan as well as photos of the small confinement boxes which a number of detainees were forced into for hours on end.

The concealment of the photos has prompted calls for the suspension of the commissions, pending an official investigation into the images.

In spite of ferocious efforts waged continuously by both the Bush and Obama administrations to suppress investigation of the torture programs, the basic facts are more or less known. More than 100 individuals are confirmed to have been “rendered” to secret prisons between 2002 and 2006. Individuals without any remote connection to Jihadist organizations were detained and tortured for years as a result of mistaken identity.

Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen, underwent prolonged torture and confinement in Afghanistan before being dumped by CIA officers in rural Albania after proving to his captors that his name was very similar to, but not the same as, that of the man they had intended to interrogate.

At least five of the detainees disappeared to black sites by the CIA have been confirmed to have been killed as a result of being subjected to the “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

The total number of victims may be much higher. The CIA organized more than 1,200 flights to and from locations on the European continent between 2002 and 2006, as part of its rendition and torture operations, according to a 2007 report approved by the European Union’s main legislature.

A slow trickle of detainees have been quietly released or transferred without explanation. Two Tunisians held at a CIA black site in Afghanistan for over a decade were flown back to Tunisia for release on June 15, traveling on board a US military plane. An unknown number of other detainees held by US forces at black sites were handed over to the Afghan government last December.

The refusal of the US government to release the photos, along with their secrecy in the first place, are serious crimes in themselves. As part of the cover up, the Obama administration continues to hold dozens of “enemy combatants” who have been cleared for release as early as 2009.

The collaboration of European governments in the operation of the secret torture network has also been covered up. Details of the European role in the torture network were subject to heavy redaction in the already heavily redacted Senate torture report.

Nonetheless, it is known that Poland, Lithuania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania all hosted secret prisons directly run by the CIA, while a broader circle of some 20 European states ran sites in close collaboration with the CIA.

Security personnel from the British government were directly involved in CIA torture sessions. Other collaborating governments received millions in US government money paid out by the CIA, including more than $1 million paid to Lithuania for the right to set up a single detention center.

At least three of the agency’s black sites, located in Poland, Romania and Morocco, were established from the CIA branch office in Frankfurt, Germany. The Frankfurt office, previously a “sleepy” logistics outpost for the agency, suddenly received millions of dollars’ worth of budget increases under orders from the White House, beginning in 2002.

Instead of being punished, the bureaucrats who oversaw the programs, including current CIA Director John Brennan, are now ensconced in powerful offices at the highest levels of government.

Documentation proving that the Obama administration has dismantled the vast array of resources, camps and personnel networks involved has not been forthcoming.

Afghanistan: UN official expresses deep concern after report reveals children bear brunt of conflict

Afghanistan: UN official expresses deep concern after report reveals children bear brunt of conflict
“These tragically high casualty numbers show that children are bearing the brunt of the conflict, and unfortunately this trend continues with the deterioration of the security environment into 2015”

Last year saw more children killed or maimed in Afghanistan since monitoring of those statistics began in 2007, reflecting that “children are bearing the brunt of the conflict,” according to United Nations UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on children and armed conflict in that strife-torn country.

“The killing and maiming of children from the indiscriminate use of IEDs [improvised explosive devices] in populated areas, and the use of children as suicide bombers, can only be condemned as flagrant violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Leila Zerrougui, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

The 18-page report, released Thursday, says 2,302 children were killed, and 5,047 injured throughout the reporting period from 1 September 2010 to 31 December 2014. Of that toll, 2,502 children were killed or injured in 2014 alone – making that year the worst for child casualties of any in Afghanistan since the monitoring began in July 2007.

“These tragically high casualty numbers show that children are bearing the brunt of the conflict, and unfortunately this trend continues with the deterioration of the security environment into 2015,” Ms. Zerrougui said in a press release on the report.

The 18-page report, released Thursday, says 2,302 children were killed, and 5,047 injured throughout the reporting period from 1 September 2010 to 31 December 2014. Of that toll, 2,502 children were killed or injured in 2014 alone – making that year the worst for child casualties of any in Afghanistan since the monitoring began in July 2007.

UN News Centre‎, Jun. 26, 2015

She also highlighted the report’s expression of serious concern for what it calls “widespread impunity for grave violations against children by Government security forces, including against children in detention for alleged association with armed groups.”

“These children are first and foremost victims, and they should be treated as such,” she said.

Despite the difficult security context, the report highlights the “commendable progress” the Afghan Government and its National Security Forces have made towards ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children – after the signing of an Action Plan and the establishment of a road map specifying steps for achieving that end.

The report noted that a Government decree criminalizing underage recruitment by the Afghan National Security Forces has been in force since February 2015, and “lies at the centre of all efforts to ensure accountability and prevent the recruitment and use of children by both the Government and armed group actors.”

“I look forward to working with the Government of Afghanistan even more intensively in the months ahead as we move towards fully implementing the country’s Action Plan for ending recruitment and use of children,” Ms. Zerrougui said.

The report calls for donor support, including sustainable funding for the “timely and effective” implementation of the Action Plan in line with the goal of the Children, Not Soldiers campaign to end recruitment and use of children in Government forces by 2016.

The 18-page report highlights the situation of children affected by armed conflict in Afghanistan, and presents information collected by the UN-led Afghanistan Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting. It covers monitoring of the six grave violations the UN Security Council has identified as affecting children caught in armed conflict.

 

Brazil Supports Setting Common BRICS Currency

Brazil Supports Setting Common BRICS Currency – Ambassador to Russia

Using a single currency for financial operations within BRICS would avert dependency on currency market fluctuations, the Brazilian ambassador to Russia said.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The idea of setting a single currency for the BRICS member states is positive but the technical side of the issue needs to be ironed out first, Brazilian Ambassador to Russia Jose Vallim Guerreiro said.

“This issue has been repeatedly raised and discussed. We believe the idea itself is very positive as it would allow for the use of a single currency without any dependence on the currency market fluctuations,” Guerreiro told RIA Novosti in an interview.

“But the issue is extremely complicated and it should first be studied from the technical point of view on the level of experts who could asses all benefits and drawbacks of establishing a single currency,” he added.

The ambassador noted that the main outcome of the upcoming summit in Ufa is the launch of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB).The BRICS economies signed an agreement to establish the NDB during a July 2014 summit in Fortaleza, Brazil. The countries agreed to establish a $100-billion reserve currency pool to ensure the bank’s financial stability.

Guerreiro said that the BRICS member states are currently working on the ratification of the signed agreements, adding that Brazil has already carried out all necessary procedures.

Cooperation with the NDB will “give an impetus to the development of all the projects that are our top investment priority,” the ambassador said.He added that Brazil has chosen its representative to the bank’s board of directors.

The 7th annual summit of BRICS member states will be held in the Russian city of Ufa on July 9-10.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/business/20150629/1023969680.html#ixzz3eWeQZKDu

israel once again commits an act of state piracy in the Mediterranean

Israel once again commits an act of state piracy in the Mediterranean

At 02:06AM today (Gaza time) the “Marianne” contacted Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) and informed us that three boats of the Israeli navy had surrounded her in international waters, while sailing approximately 100NM from Gaza coast. After that we lost contact with the “Marianne” and at 05:11AM (Gaza time) the IDF announced that they had “visited and searched” Marianne. They had captured the boat and detained all on board “in international waters” as they admitted themselves. The only positive content in the IDF announcement was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, despite Netanyahu’s government recent denial that one exists.
We have no reason to believe that Marianne’s capture was “uneventful”, because the last time the IDF said something like that, in 2012, the people on board the “Estelle” were badly tasered and beaten with clubs. Back in 2010, ten passengers of Mavi Marmara were murdered by the IDF during a similar operation in international waters.

It is disappointing that the Israeli government chose to continue the absolutely fruitless policy of “no tolerance”, meaning it will continue to enforce an inhumane and illegal collective punishment against 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. Israel’s repeated acts of state piracy in international waters are worrying signs that the occupation and blockade policy extends to the entire eastern Mediterranean. We demand that the Israeli government cease and desist the illegal detainment of peaceful civilians travelling in international waters in support of humanitarian aid.
We call on our governments to ensure that all passengers and crew from the “Marianne” are safe, and to strongly protest against the violation of international maritime law by the Israeli state. We call on all civil society organizations to condemn the actions of Israel. People all over the world will continue to respond and react to this injustice, as will we, until the port of Gaza is open and the siege and occupation is ended.
For more updates visit: ff3.freedomflotilla.org

 

UN report urges accountability for israel’s war crimes against Palestinian children

DCIP urges Israel to investigate ill treatment of children

UN report urges accountability for war crimes against Palestinian children

Mary McGowan Davis, Commissioner, UN Independent Commission on the 2014 Gaza Conflict
Mary McGowan Davis, chair of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, looks on prior to addressing a Human Rights Council session on March 23, 2015.

Ramallah, June 29, 2015—An independent United Nations commission presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, detailing international law violations during Israel’s military offensive on Gaza last summer.

The report, presented by Mary McGowan Davis, commissioner of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, painstakingly details the degree to which Palestinian children were “savagely affected” by Israel’s military assault on Gaza.

The report highlights violations by Israeli forces, including indiscriminate attacks against civilians and unlawful airstrikes on residential buildings, as well as violations by Palestinian armed groups.

“We welcome the commission’s findings, but concrete action must be taken to challenge the status quo of systemic impunity for international law violations committed by Israeli forces,” said Khaled Quzmar, DCIP’s general director. “Without accountability, Palestinian children will continue to bear the brunt of Israeli military offensives and prolonged military occupation.”

Specific cases examined by the commission in the full report include, among others, the killing of four boys on a Gaza City beach by Israeli missiles and the use of a Palestinian teen as a human shield by Israeli forces. Zakariya Ahed Subhi Baker, 10, Ahed Atef Ahed Baker, 9, Ismail Mohammad Subhi Baker, 9, and Mohammad Ramez Ezzat Baker, 11, were cousins from fishermen families, and had been playing on a Gaza City beach when two missiles hit them just after 4 p.m. on July 16, 2014. Israeli soldiers repeatedly used Ahmad Abu Raida, 17, as a human shield for five days while he was detained during Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

The report also highlighted the unlawful killing of Hashem Khader Abu Maria, 45, coordinator of DCIP’s community mobilization unit. Israeli forces shot Hashem in the chest with live ammunition as he stood at a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza on July 25, 2014, in the West Bank town of Beit Ummar. The commission found that Hashem did not present any “direct or imminent threat” to Israeli forces or any other persons.

Following the report presentation, DCIP delivered an oral statement to the UN Human Rights Council, urging UN member states to demand that Israel ends its prolonged military occupation of Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its ongoing siege on the Gaza Strip. DCIP also called on all UN member states to actively support and ensure the full and immediate implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.

The UN Human Rights Council, composed of 47 UN member states, is responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights. The Council meets three times per year and regularly addresses the situation of Palestinian children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

In July 2014, the Human Rights Council passed a resolution establishing the independent commission to investigate alleged violations of international law during Israel’s July-August military assault on Gaza.

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USA still living out the “Wild West” where carrying a gun is considered normal

The ‘Unbridled Arms  Race’ Among U.S. Citizens

Mass murderer Dylann Roof Thursday: Is a U.S. foreign policy centered on violence without responsible for an arms race among U.S. citizens within? 

The ‘Unbridled Arms Race’ Among U.S. Citizens (La Jornada, Mexico)

 

“The superpower is a structurally violent state in which the use of force as a means of resolving differences serves as an example to every citizen. No country in history has been responsible for as many aggressions, direct or indirect, against other nations: military invasions, bombings, occupations, the sponsorship of terrorist acts, sabotage, blockades, destabilization, assassinations and extrajudicial kidnappings are just some of the methods the United States has used to impose its interests on dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, including several times, Mexico.”

 

EDITORIAL

 

Translated By Guillermo Gutierrez

 

June 20, 2015

 

Mexico – La Jornada – Original Article (Spanish)

In reaction to the massacre perpetrated Wednesday at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. President Barack Obama referred again to one of his administration’s pieces of unfinished business: the need to regulate the sale of firearms in his country, where more than 80 people die from gunfire every day. The president said he has had to deal with this problem too many times and regretted that innocent people have to die because someone with intent to do harm has easy access to a gun or rifle.

 

Although murders with firearms are lamentably common in the United States, the slaughter committed against the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church had the acute uniqueness of being an unequivocal hate crime perpetrated by a White against a religious congregation of African-Americans and the determined intent harm to members of their minority. In a year marked by massive protests against the killings of young black men by White police officers, the crime on Wednesday may be a sign of a hardening of ancient ideologies of hate which may now be subsumed beneath political correctness, but have never been eradicated from the minds of many in the White majority of our neighboring country.

 

‘Thank Allah the Virginia Killer Wasn’t Muslim’ (Kitabat, Iraq)

[Click Here to Read]

 

The fact is that these massacres, triggered by distinct motivations, have periodically occurred in kindergartens, churches, shopping centers, universities and even U.S. military installations. Given this reality, Obama urged his fellow citizens to reflect on why such monstrous violence doesn’t occur with the same alarming frequency in other developed countries. This question evokes and retrofits one expressed by his predecessor George W. Bush following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks: “Why does the world hate the United States so much?”, whereas the question posed by his Democratic counterpart boils down to: “Why do United States people hate each other so much.”

 

There is an answer that both Obama and Bush that the political and business classes and huge sectors of U.S. society refuse to acknowledge: the superpower is a structurally violent state in which the use of force as a means of resolving differences serves as an example to every citizen. No country in history has been responsible for as many aggressions, direct or indirect, against other nations: military invasions, bombings, occupations, the sponsorship of terrorist acts, sabotage, blockades, destabilization, assassinations and extrajudicial kidnappings are just some of the methods the United States has used to impose its interests on dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, including several times, Mexico.

 

This warring barbarism directed at the outside world has a domestic counterpart in the excessive, abusive violent impunity practiced by the state against its own citizens and communities. Whereas in a democratic nation, the legitimate use of violence must be understood as an exercise of government in exceptional cases only, events ranging from an epidemic of police killings to the oft-mentioned criminalization of entire sectors of the population have become common, everyday affairs for federal, state and local authorities in our neighbor country. This is amply demonstrated by the disproportionate percentage of Blacks and Latinos imputed and behind bars.

Posted By Worldmeets.US

 

 

In this context, it’s no coincidence that there is an unbridled and even paranoid citizen arms race: the phenomenon reflects the belief in the alleged legitimacy of violent methods on the part of a large section of the population. This explains why registration applications for the purchase of firearms amount on average to more than 16 million per year. Paradoxically, state institutions are far more concerned with combating terrorism outside the country than curbing the insatiable acquisition of instruments of death on its own territory. This although the chances of a U.S. citizen being killed in a terrorist attack are one in 3.5 million, whereas the odds of being killed by a person with a gun is one in 22,000.

 

In the most recent tragedy, Obama addressed the issue of guns in a routine and formalistic manner. Although his remarks were essentially correct, they lack credibility because he is expressing them at the end of his presidency with an opposition Congress, a diminished capacity to act and declining influence.

 

 

SEE ALSO ON THIS: La Jornada: Mexico Should Issue Travel Warnings for Ferguson and Baltimore Le Monde, France: Indispensable ‘Soul Searching’ in Prison-Mad America Huanqiu, China: How Does U.S. Remain Calm in the Face of Ferguson Riots? L’Orient Le Jour, Lebanon: Obama’s Broken Dreams: Ferguson, Palestine and Daesh Liberation, France: Ferguson ‘Tarnishes Image of an Entire Nation’ Liberation, France: France has its Own ‘Ferguson’ Problem L’Expressions, Algeria: Old Racial Demons Emerge Again in Land of Uncle Sam Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany: U.S. Police Now ‘Auxiliary War on Terror Troops’ Xinhua, China: Ferguson Riots Expose American ‘Human Rights Flaws’ La Presse, Canada: Time and Demographics will Prevent Future Fergusons Die Tageszeitung, Germany: Zimmerman Verdict Shows Neglect of Social Harmony Izvestia, Russia: Zimmerman Trial a Global Lesson in Justice Served Media Part, France: A New Weapon is Born in America: The ‘Hoody’ Novosti, Russia: Russia, Self-Defense and Death of Trayvon Martin Independent, U.K.: Race is a Constant in U.S. Life – as it is in Many Places Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany: U.S. Vigilante Justice: When Amateurs Play Sheriff Guardian, U.K.: ‘Open Season on Black Boys’ After Zimmerman Verdict L’Express, France: Guns in America: A ‘Political Fiasco’ El Universal, Mexico: Obama and Guns: ‘Yes, You Must’ FAZ, Germany: Global Arms Pact is Little Threat to Industry of Death Excelsior, Mexico: U.S. Weapons Culture: A ‘Stupid Fascination’ Folha, Brazil: Why Does Half the World Imitate ‘Peaceful’ Newtown and Aurora? Rodong Sinmun, North Korea: Gun-Toting America: ‘Hell on Earth’ Guardian, U.K.: Piers Morgan is Right: America’s Gun Laws Need Radical Overhaul O Globo, Brazil: U.S. School Shootings and the ‘Externalization of Evil’ Elsevier, The Netherlands: In or Out of America, Gun Laws Cannot Control Sick Minds News, The Netherlands: Arms Industry Profits or Innocent Life: Americans Have to Choose 022 China, China: From Chenping to Newtown: ‘Don’t Let Children Go to School in Fear’ Prensa Libre, Guatemala: Cowboys and U.S. Gun Culture: Reaffirming Heroism and War Estadao, Brazil: Obama Must Follow Victoria Soto: Only Action, Not Tears, Saves Lives Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden: In Wake of Newtown, Swedes Must Rethink School Openness La Repubblica, Italy: The Whole World is Newtown Rzeczpospolita, Poland: No One Dares Deny Americans their Guns Liberation, France: To ‘Prove’ Himself, Obama Must Go Beyond Assault Weapons El Universal, Mexico: Newtown: A Tragedy Foretold Die Welt, Germany: Turn Kindergarten into Fort Knox? Go Ahead! Fokgames, The Netherlands: Newtown and Video Games: There in NO Connection! La Jornada, Mexico: Newtown: Gun ‘Barbarism’ that Cannot be Removed by Legislation RDS, Canada: After Newtown Killings, Sport Must Takes a Back Seat to Healing The Tribune, India: U.S. Must Better Protect Sikhs, Other Religious ‘Soft Targets’ IBN Live Video: Indian Sikhs React to Temple Slaughter in Wisconsin Guardian, U.K.: Sikhs Say Attacks on Community are ‘Collateral Damage’ of 9/11 The Hindu, India: India seeks more security for religious places in U.S. Elsevier, The Netherlands: How in the West and East, Mass Murderers are Bred Liberation, France:America and Firearms: ‘How Many People Have to Die?’ Die Tageszeitung, Germany: The NRA: America’s ‘Deadliest’ Lobby Izvestia, Russia: Batman Shootings Elicit No Fear from Russia Film Execs Khaleej Times, UAE: Colorado: ‘Big Brother’ U.S. Had Best Tend to its Own House Saarbruecker Zeitung, Germany: Bloody Acts Like these ‘Cannot Be Prevented’ La Jornada, Mexico: ‘Violence and Barbarism’ in Retrograde United States Berliner Morgenpost, Germany: Anders Breivik: Europe’s Own Osama bin Laden Le Quotidien d’Oran, Algeria: The Troubling Profile of a ‘Bushian Terrorist’ DNA, France: Terrorism in Toulouse and the ‘Currency of Hate’ Sydsvenskan, Sweden: After September 11, We ‘Lost What We Wanted to Defend’ Polityka, Poland: America in Anger’s Clutches Beijing Youth Daily, China: Making Sense of America’s Right to Bear Arms Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany: Virginia Tech One Year On: The ‘Silent Scandal’ New Straits Times, Malaysia: Don’t Just Blame Virginia Tech … Kitabat, Iraq: ‘Thank Allah the Virginia Killer Wasn’t Muslim’ La Jornada, Mexico: Virginaa Tech: An American Tragedy NRC Handlesblad, Netherlands: Americans Distrust State Monopoly on Violence JoongAng Daily, South Korea: The Legacy of Cho Seung-hui: A Lesson to Koreans The Korea Herald, South Korea: Koreans Feel Collective Guilt Over the Massacre La Jornada, Mexico: Rejecting U.S. Drug War is Essential for Mexico’s Survival Xinjingbao, China: Information Society Triggered Massacre China Daily, China: A Nation Cannot Be Tarred by a Single Killer La Jornada, Mexico: The ‘Paths of Death’ Lead to Washington La Jornada, Mexico: A Culture of Violence … O Povo, Brazil: Virginia Tech: Sign of Our Wounded Civilization Khaleej Times, UAE: Shooting Shows Something Ails America ‘At its Core’

Al Watan Voice, Palestinian Territories: Fort Hood: ‘Muslims Can’t Be Trusted’

Dar Al Khaleej, UAE: America’s ‘Black Knights’ and the Fort Hood Tragedy

Le Temps, Switzerland: ‘Double Lesson’ at Fort Hood

Khaleej Times, U.A.E. Fort Hood Shooting: ‘Don’t Pin It on Faith’

Hurriet, Turkey: Shooting at Fort Hood and the Role of Muslim Clerics

The Telegraph, U.K.: British Muslims Debate the Fort Hood Killer

 

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USA, the Gulag State, certainly not the “Land of the Free”, needs a colour revolution

Jailhouse nation

WITH less than 5% of the world’s population, the United States holds roughly a quarter of its prisoners: more than 2.3m people, including 1.6m in state and federal prisons and over 700,000 in local jails and immigration pens. Per head, the incarceration rate in the land of the free has risen seven-fold since the 1970s, and is now five times Britain’s, nine times Germany’s and 14 times Japan’s. At any one time, one American adult in 35 is in prison, on parole or on probation. A third of African-American men can expect to be locked up at some point, and one in nine black children has a parent behind bars.

Bars and stripes

Advocates of tough justice point out that America’s crime rate has fallen as the incarceration rate has risen. Criminals who are locked up cannot mug law-abiding citizens, and the prospect of going to prison must surely deter some from breaking the law in the first place. All this is true, but only up to a point. In the 1980s expanding prisons probably did help slow the rise of crime by taking thugs off the streets. But mass incarceration has long since become counter-productive (see article). A recent study by the Brennan Centre for Justice, a think-tank, concluded that at most only 12% of the reduction in America’s property crime rates since the 1990s can be attributed to higher rates of imprisonment—and that there might be no effect at all. States with larger prison populations have no less crime than states with smaller ones.

Crime is largely a young man’s game, but many prisoners now are old: the number over the age of 50 has more than tripled since 1994. Many of these people are no longer dangerous, but locking up the elderly—and treating their ailments—costs taxpayers a fortune, typically $68,000 per inmate each year. The longer prisoners are inside, the harder it is for them to reintegrate into society. And mass incarceration has contributed to the breakdown of working-class families, especially black ones. Among African-Americans aged 25-54, there are only 83 free men for every 100 women, which is one reason why so many black mothers raise children alone. Men behind bars cannot support their offspring, and when they are released, many states make it preposterously hard for them to find jobs.

More and more Americans accept that the harm caused by mass imprisonment now exceeds its benefits. Hillary Clinton, whose husband’s 1994 crime bill filled many a cell, has now changed her mind. On the right, fiscal conservatives decry the burden on taxpayers, while Christians talk of mercy. Rick Perry, a former governor of Texas and a Republican presidential candidate, boasts of his record of closing three prisons in his state. Nationwide, the incarcerated population appears to have plateaued; it should be sharply reduced.

A good start would be to end the war on drugs, which would do less harm if they were taxed, regulated and sold in shops, not alleys, as marijuana is in Colorado and Washington state. In fact, the drug war is already ebbing: in 1997 drug offenders were 27% of all prisoners; now they are around 20%. That could be cut to zero if drugs were legalised.

The next step would be to amend or repeal rules that prevent judges from judging each case on its merits, such as state and federal “mandatory minimum” sentences and “three strikes” rules that compel courts to lock up even relatively minor repeat offenders for most of their lives. New York has dramatically reduced its state-prison population this way. Prosecutors there have in effect been told to limit the number of people they imprison, giving them an incentive to lock up only the most dangerous. Prosecutors have long had huge discretion in which charges they bring; those in New York now use police intelligence to help them decide. If the man in the dock seems relatively harmless, they go easy on him; if they know him to be a career criminal who has remained free because he intimidates witnesses, they throw the book at him. Crime has fallen in New York. There has been no backlash among voters.

Reducing the prison population to European levels is probably impossible, for America is still a much more violent place, even if most districts are reasonably safe. There are roughly 165,000 murderers in American state prisons and 160,000 rapists. If America were to release every single prisoner who has not been convicted of killing or raping someone, its incarceration rate would still be higher than Germany’s.

But still, America does not need to lock up every violent criminal for as long as it does—which is longer than any other rich country. Some 49,000 Americans are serving life without the possibility of ever being released. (In England and Wales the number is just 55.) Such harshness is unnecessary. A 50-year sentence does not deter five times as much as a ten-year sentence (though it does cost over five times as much). Money wasted on long sentences cannot be spent on catching criminals in the first place, which is a more effective deterrent.

Reform is hard. Prosecutors and judges are often elected in America; many woo votes by promising to be tougher than their predecessors. Politicians who are seen to be soft on crime run a risk. One reason Michael Dukakis was never president was that a murderer called Willie Horton, who was released on furlough while Mr Dukakis was governor of Massachusetts, took the opportunity to rape someone.

Swift and sure justice, but less harsh

Nonetheless, the big fall in crime in the past two decades means that Americans are now less afraid than they were, and more open to reform. Californians voted last year in a referendum to downgrade several non-violent felonies to mis-demeanours. Other states are experimenting with better education in prisons (so that ex-convicts have a better chance of finding work), and drug treatment or GPS-enabled ankle bracelets as alternatives to incarceration. Some are also trying to improve prison conditions, not least by curbing assaults and rapes behind bars. The aim of penal policy should be harm reduction, not revenge. Tighter gun laws might help, because guns can turn drunken quarrels into murders; alas, that is politically improbable for now. There is no single fix for America’s prisons, but there are 2.3m reasons to try.

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