America Is Being Destroyed By Problems That Are Unaddressed – Paul Craig Roberts

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 31.12.2015 | 00:00

 

One hundred years ago European civilization, as it had been known, was ending its life in the Great War, later renamed World War I. Millions of soldiers ordered by mindless generals into the hostile arms of barbed wire and machine gun fire had left the armies stalemated in trenches. A reasonable peace could have been reached, but US President Woodrow Wilson kept the carnage going by sending fresh American soldiers to try to turn the tide against Germany in favor of the English and French.

The fresh Amerian machine gun and barbed wire fodder weakened the German position, and an armistance was agreed. The Germans were promised no territorial losses and no reparations if they laid down their arms, which they did only to be betrayed at Versailles. The injustice and stupidity of the Versailles Treaty produced the German hyperinflation, the collapse of the Weimar Republic, and the rise of Hitler.

Hitler’s demands that Germany be put back together from the pieces handed out to France, Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, comprising 13 percent of Germany’s European territory and one-tenth of her population, and a repeat of French and British stupidity that had sired the Great War finished off the remnants of European civilization in World War II.

The United States benefitted greatly from this death. The economy of the United States was left untouched by both world wars, but economies elsewhere were destroyed. This left Washington and the New York banks the arbiters of the world economy. The US dollar replaced British sterling as the world reserve currency and became the foundation of US domination in the second half of the 20th century, a domination limited in its reach only by the Soviet Union.

The Soviet collapse in 1991 removed this constraint from Washington. The result was a burst of American arrogance and hubris that wiped away in over-reach the leadership power that had been handed to the United States. Since the Clinton regime, Washington’s wars have eroded American leadership and replaced stability in the Middle East and North Africa with chaos.

Washington moved in the wrong direction both in the economic and political arenas. In place of diplomacy, Washington used threats and coercion. “Do as you are told or we will bomb you into the stone age,” as Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told President Musharraf of Pakistan. Not content to bully weak countries, Washington threatens poweful countries such as Russia, China, and Iran with economic sanctions and military actions. Consequently, much of the non-Western world is abandoning the US dollar as world currency, and a number of countries are organizing a payments system, World Bank, and IMF of their own. Some NATO members are rethinking their membership in an organization that Washington is herding into conflict with Russia.

China’s unexpectedly rapid rise to power owes much to the greed of American capitalism. Pushed by Wall Street and the lure of “performance bonuses,” US corporate executives brought a halt to rising US living standards by sending high productivity, high value-added jobs abroad where comparable work is paid less. With the jobs went the technology and business knowhow. American capability was given to China. Apple Computer, for example, has not only offshored the jobs but also outsourced its production. Apple does not own the Chinese factories that produce its products.

The savings in US labor costs became corporate profits, executive renumeration, and shareholder capital gains. One consequence was the worsening of the US income distribution and the concentration of income and wealth in few hands. A middle class democracy was transformed into an oligarchy. As former President Jimmy Carter recently said, the US is no longer a democracy; it is an oligarchy.

In exchange for short-term profits and in order to avoid Wall Street threats of takeovers, capitalists gave away the American economy. As manufacturing and tradeable professional skill jobs flowed out of America, real family incomes ceased to grow and declined. The US labor force participation rate fell even as economic recovery was proclaimed. Job gains were limited to lowly paid domestic services, such as retail clerks, waitresses, and bartenders, and part-time jobs replaced full-time jobs. Young people entering the work force find it increasingly difficult to establish an independent existance, with 50 percent of 25-year old Americans living at home with parents.

In an economy driven by consumer and investment spending, the absence of growth in real consumer income means an economy without economic growth. Led by Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve in the first years of the 21st century substituted a growth in consumer debt for the missing growth in consumer income in order to keep the economy moving. This could only be a short-term palliative, because the growth of consumer debt is limited by the growth of consumer income.

Another serious mistake was the repeal of financial regulation that had made capitalism functional. The New York Banks were behind this egregious error, and they used their bought-and-paid-for Texas US Senator, whom they rewarded with a 7-figure salary and bank vice chairmanship to open the floodgates to amazing debt leverage and financial fraud with the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall destroyed the separation of commercial from investment banking. One result was the concentration of banking. Five mega-banks now dominate the American financial scene. Another result was the power that the mega-banks gained over the government of the United States. Today the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve serve only the interests of the mega-banks.

In the United States savers have had no interest on their savings in eight years. Those who saved for their retirement in order to make paltry Social Security benefits liveable have had to draw down their capital, leaving less inheritance for hard-pressed sons, grandsons, daughters and granddaughters.

Washington’s financial policy is forcing families to gradually extinguish themselves. This is “freedom and democracy “ America today.

Among the capitalist themselves and their shills among the libertarian ideologues, who are correct about the abuse of government power but less concerned with the abuse of private power, the capitalist greed that is destroying families and the economy is regarded as the road to progress. By distrusting government regulators of private misbehavior, libertarians provided the cover for the repeal of the financial regulation that made American capitalism functional. Today dysfunctional capitalism rules, thanks to greed and libertarian ideology.

With the demise of the American middle class, which becomes more obvious each day as another ladder of upward mobility is dismantled, the United States becomes a bipolar country consisting of the rich and the poor. The most obvious conclusion is that the failure of American political ledership means instability, leading to a conflict between the haves—the one percent—and the dispossessed—the 99 percent.

The failure of leadership in the United States is not limited to the political arena but is across the board. The time horizon operating in American institutions is very short term. Just as US manufacturers have harmed US demand for their products by moving abroad American jobs and the consumer income associated with the jobs, university administrations are destroying universities. As much as 75 percent of university budgets is devoted to administration. There is a proliferation of provosts, assistant provosts, deans, assistant deans, and czars for every designated infraction of political correctness.

Tenure-track jobs, the bedrock of academic freedom, are disappearing as university administrators turn to adjuncts to teach courses for a few thousand dollars. The decline in tenure-track jobs heralds a decline in enrollments in Ph.D. programs. University enrollments overall are likely to decline. The university experience is eroding at the same time that the financial return to a university education is eroding. Increasingly students graduate into an employment environment that does not produce sufficient income to service their student loans or to form independent households.

Increasingly university research is funded by the Defense Department and by commercial interests and serves those interests. Universities are losing their role as sources of societal critics and reformers. Truth itself is becoming commercialized.

The banking system, which formerly financed business, is increasingly focused on converting as much of the economy as possible into leveraged debt instruments. Even consumer spending is reduced with high credit card interest rate charges. Indebtedness is rising faster than the real production in the economy.

Historically, capitalism was justified on the grounds that it guaranteed the efficient use of society’s resources. Profits were a sign that resources were being used to maximize social welfare, and losses were a sign of inefficient resource use, which was corrected by the firm going out of business. This is no longer the case when the economic policy of a counry serves to protect financial institutions that are “too big to fail” and when profits reflect the relocation abroad of US GDP as a result of jobs offshoring. Clearly, American capitalism no longer serves society, and the worsening distribution of income and wealth prove it.

None of these serious problems will be addressed by the presidential candidates, and no party’s platform will consist of a rescue plan for America. Unbridled greed, short-term in nature, will continue to drive America into the ground.

paulcraigroberts.org

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Saudi “Anti-Terror Coalition”: A Facade to Hide Yet More Terrorism

Global Research, December 30, 2015
stop_israel_us_saudi_arabia_turkey_qatar_supporting_isis_terrorists

A recently announced Saudi-led “anti-terror” coalition was met with great skepticism recently.

This is not because of doubts over Saudi Arabia’s sincerity alone, but because of the fact that much of the terrorism the “coalition” is allegedly to fight is an intentional creation of Saudi Arabian foreign policy to begin with.

Image: Saudi Arabia, indisputably the premier state-sponsor of terrorism on Earth, and supplying the ideological “source code” carried forth by Al Qaeda and the so-called “Islamic State,” claims it wants to lead an “anti-terror coalition.” The world is reasonable to call this disingenuous at best, a ploy to continue, or even expand terrorism at worst. 

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CNN’s article, “Muslim nations form coalition to fight terror, call Islamic extremism ‘disease’,” claims:

Calling Islamic extremism a disease, Saudi Arabia has announced the formation of a coalition of 34 largely Muslim nations to fight terrorism.

“This announcement comes from the Islamic world’s vigilance in fighting this disease so it can be a partner, as a group of countries, in the fight against this disease,” Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said.

Asked whether the new coalition could include ground forces, Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat told reporters in Paris on Tuesday that “nothing is off the table.”

In reality, decades of documented evidence reveal that the Saudis are the primary conduit through which Western cash, weapons, support, and directives flow into mercenary armies of extremists, indoctrinated by Saudi Wahhabism – a politically-motivated perversion of Islam – and sent to execute joint Western-Saudi  geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and beyond.

In fact, over the decades, one can see a direct relation to the increasing impotence of Western conventional forces and their ability to project power across the planet, and the rise of unconventional terrorist forces that reach into otherwise inaccessible regions in their stead.

Image: The seats were still warm in Riyadh where representatives from Al Qaeda affiliates fighting in Syria sat, discussing with their Saudi sponsors future collaboration as Saudi Arabia announced its “anti-terror coalition.” 

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This does more than the West’s feigned ignorance and surprise to explain why, after a year of allegedly battling the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) in Syria, the United States made little progress and only after Russia’s recent intervention, has the terrorist organization’s existence been put in jeopardy.

The rise of ISIS, turns out to be the premeditated machinations of the West and its regional partners. A Department of Intelligence Agency (DIA) report drafted in 2012 (.pdf) admitted:

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

To clarify just who these “supporting powers” were that sought the creation of a “Salafist” (Islamic) principality” (State), the DIA report explains:

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

The DIA report makes it clear that Saudi Arabia’s “coalition” is the source of all terrorism, not the solution, and that there already exists a coalition sincerely committed to exterminating the scourge of militant extremism in the MENA region – Russia, China, Iran, and of course Syria itself.

A Facade to Hide Continued Terrorism Behind 

Likely what Saudi Arabia is doing, is attempting to reboot a narrative that, as of late, is increasingly implicating it and many of the members of its “coalition” as the very source of global terrorism. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has become increasingly involved directly with military operations beyond its borders. Its forces are fighting in neighboring Yemen, and military forces from Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf neighbors have been fighting covertly and semi-covertly in operations stretching from Libya to Syria.

Creating a “coalition” to fight “terrorism,” would give the Saudis another rhetorical ploy to hide their increasingly direct role in supporting militarily the terrorist proxies they have deployed and who are now being defeated across the MENA region. Just as the US has done in Syria, using ISIS as a pretext to involve itself directly and militarily in the Syrian conflict without ever actually fighting ISIS, Saudi Arabia is seeking to create a plausible cover story to do the same.

For those interested in truly defeating terrorism globally – recognizing the state sponsors of terrorism and excluding them categorically from solving the problem until they are held responsible for creating it in the first place is essential. Saudi Arabia’s announcement was met with skepticism, even ridicule for this very reason. Second, to defeat terrorism globally, those truly interested in investing in such a battle, should do so with those demonstrating a sincere desire to eradicate this scourge.

Thanks to the US DIA, a list of nations leading the fight has already been provided.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

‘Turkey has a war trade with ISIS,’ making millions with oil – VA state Senator Richard Black


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Captured Daesh Fighter Reveals Turkey’s Connection To ISIS, Predicts New 9/11

isis-american-made-weapons

By Brandon Turbeville

It appears that the week of Christmas in 2015 is quite the low moment for Turkey’s public relations department. In addition to be revealed as one of the top purchasers of ISIS oil by many in the alternative media, the Russian government, and a number of other sources, Erdogan’s own son has been pointed out as one of the principal smugglers and the Turkish President’s own daughter as the Florence Nightingale of the caliphate. If that wasn’t bad enough, an independent report by aNorwegian oil consulting firm also confirmed that much of the ISIS oil was being shipped directly to Turkey. A Turkish party member even revealed that the terrorists who committed the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta most likely received their chemical weapons from Turkey and committed the atrocity with foreknowledge and assistance from Turkish intelligence.

Yet the hits to the Turkish government’s public relations just keep on coming, the latest of which involves statements coming from an ISIS member who was recently captured by Kurdish troops in Syria, who has revealed that not only is Turkey a primary buyer of ISIS oil but that ISIS fighters were being trained both in and by Turkey itself to be deployed into Syria. The captured fighter also revealed that the ISIS fighters on the ground do not take the American airstrikes seriously, viewing them as nothing more than show.

Mahmut Ghazi Tatar, the member of Daesh captured by the Syrian Kurds, gave an interview to Sputnik Turkiye about his experiences in joining the terrorist organization. Tatar, who is 24 years old, allegedly joined Daesh after being influenced by a friend who was already a member. Tatar joined Daesh along with 27 other Turks.

Tatar relates his path from Turkey to Syria by stating:

After crossing border we were moved to a training camp 5 km from the border. We received military training and attended religious classes. Before the start of training, each of us was asked whether we want to be martyrs. I refused. This question is asked of all new recruits. Those who agree, within 6 months receive special religious training. Since I refused, my education and training lasted 70 days. We learned by the Turkish books. During the training, a few people from Turkey came to check on us. They did not have beards and they were not members of Daesh.

After they received training, the 28 men were moved to Tal Abyad, where they were kept secret and allowed no contact with their families. Tatar states that his group received warning that the Kurds had learned of their whereabouts and had planned to storm the house in which they were staying. Thus, Tatar fled from Tal Abyad along with 12 other members. The men made it to a nearby village but were captured after Tatar attempted to make a run for it.

Speaking about the oil being sold by ISIS to supposedly “unknown” and shadowy entities in the Middle East, Tatar stated what many in the alternative media have known for some time – that the principal purchaser of ISIS oil was in fact Turkey, a NATO country.

Tatar states,

The oil tankers that were sent every day to Turkey had crude oil, fuel oil and gasoline. The main source of income for Daesh is oil trade and oil inventories will last them a long time.

Abu Talha [Daesh commander] also said that the group earns a lot of money in trade with Turkey. He also said that the oil is sold through the mediation of a number of businessmen and merchants, but did not give names. Daesh also receives many products from Turkey and other Arab countries.

Tatar stated that neither he nor his comrades attached “particular importance to the US bombings. They believed that it was done as a pretense.”

Tatar mentioned that, at one point, a member of his group asked their commander, Abu Talha, why Daesh did not attack Israel. Talha’s response was “First we need to break down a small wall and then destroy the large one.”

Tatar described most ISIS recruits as coming from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Yemen, Qatar, Lebanon, and Egypt and that they entered Syria from the Turkish border, a very easy thing to do. European and American fighters, according to Tatar, follow the same route.
Tatar also forebodingly stated that, “The commanders told us that they were going to commit a terrorist act that would exceed the scale of the September 11 attacks on the US.”

While Tatar revealed nothing that was not already widely known amongst geopolitical researchers, his information does confirm what many have been saying all along regarding the purchase of ISIS oil – that NATO and Turkey in particular is the largestconsumer of this oil and, thus, is contributing to the financial support of ISIS (among several other methods of funding). Tatar also confirms the nature of the American airstrikes against Daesh – the lack of actual bombing of terrorist targets – and the fact that Turkish assistance is essential to the funneling of terrorists into Syria.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

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Did John McCain Meet with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Alleged Head of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh)?

Global Research, December 28, 2015

John-McCain

The visit took place on May 27, 2013.

According to news reports:

Arizona Senator McCain crossed into Syria form Turkey with General Salem Idris, who leads the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, and stayed there for several hours before returning back.

The senator met with assembled leaders of Free Syrian Army units in both Turkey and Syria.

McCain with al-Baghdadi from TV report

Mugshot of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

According to AP, McCain crossed the border near Kilis, Turkey, and spent two hours meeting with ‘rebel leaders’ near Idlib, Syria. The article further states that McCain made the trip in order to demand “aggressive military action in the 2-year-old Syrian civil war, calling for the establishment of a no-fly zone and arming the rebels”.

Presidential Spokesman Jay Carney said “the White House was aware in advance of McCain’s plans to travel to Syria. Carney declined to say whether McCain was carrying any message from the administration, but he said White House officials looked forward to hearing about his trip”.

Here is an ABC News report on the visit, posted to YouTube: it speaks for itself.

McCain’s two-hour visit has garnered a lot of attention because some bloggers claim that two of the rebel leaders seen in the photos that McCain posted to his Twitter account look very much like leaders of the Islamic State: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Muahmmad Noor.

Al-Baghdadi profile

The New York Times, on Sept. 11, 2014 mentioned the blog Socioeconomic History in an article  that attempted to help McCain by simply claiming that the Internet “rumors” were “false”; however the Times didn’t provide any details: only a denial by McCain’s communications director and another denial by the executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a DC lobbying organization led by a Palestinian employee of AIPAC, which arranged the senator’s visit.

While information about Muahmmad Noor is hard to find, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the alleged leader of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh).

Other blogs have denied that the man seen talking to McCain is al-Baghdadi, pointing to decoy photographs provided afterwards by the US and the Iraqi government.

However, the photographs that McCain posted to his Twitter account and a video published by the IS on July 5, 2014, in which al Baghdadi is leading Friday prayers in Mosul, are eerily alike.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SZJMMdWC6o)

Al-Baghdadi in meeting with McCain

Closeup of al-Baghdadi speaking to McCain 

Not only that, the man in the first photograph of Al-Baghdadi released by the U.S. in 2011 looks identical to the man who met with McCain.

Mugshot of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Closeup of al-Baghdadi outside with McCain

The United States held al-Baghdadi in a military prison in Iraq named Camp Bucca from 2005 to 2009 (or 2010) and then released him, allegedly at the request of the Iraqi government. As he was being turned over to the custody of the Iraqi government, he reportedly told his US military captors, “I’ll see you in New York”. (quoted by Fox News)

Camp Bucca is worth more attention, as it may have been a recruiting and training center for fighters who would go on to lead the IS.

Right after al-Baghdadi was freed, the Islamic State emerged out of nowhere and rapidly took over important swaths of Iraq and Syria. The U.S. officially designated al-Baghdadi a terrorist on October 4, 2011, and offered the $10 million reward for his capture or killing. This was when the U.S. released its first photograph of its former prisoner.

Subsequently, the U.S. released another mug shot from Camp Bucca, which doesn’t look like the first, partly because the man has glasses and a heavy beard. A really bad photograph released by the Iraqi Interior Ministry, like the second US mug shot, also seems to be a decoy intended to cover up al-Baghdadi’s connections with the U.S. government. It doesn’t appear to be the same man.

The details about al-Baghdadi’s background are as blurry as the Iraqi Interior photograph. He is reported to have been born in Samarra, north of Baghdad, on July 28, 1971. According to an article in The Telegraph, he was a Salafi, who became al-Qaeda’s point man in Qaim in Iraq’s western desert. The article states:

“Abu Duaa was connected to the intimidation, torture and murder of local civilians in Qaim”, says a Pentagon document. “He would kidnap individuals or entire families, accuse them, pronounce sentence and then publicly execute them.”

Al-Baghjdadi would be only 43 when he was filmed leading prayers in Mosul in 2014, and 42 when he met with John McCain in 2013. The McCain photos and the Mosul videos show a man of about that age.

Al-Baghdadi in Mosul

Senator McCain has a long relationship with the CIA as the president of the State Department-funded International Republican Institute. The IRI organized the overthrow of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide in 2004, and has been involved in many other overthrow operations, including the coup in Ukraine.

According to journalist Thierry Meyssan, who is based in Damascus, McCain participated in every color revolution over the past 20 years. Also according to Meyssan, McCain chaired a meeting held in Cairo on February 4, 2011, which NATO had organized to launch the “Arab Spring” in Libya and Syria. The so-called uprising in Syria began shortly

afterward. http://www.voltairenet.org/article185085.html

Meyssan’s claim that McCain is intimately involved with CIA-organized overthrows makes lot more sense than the fiction that nobody knows who Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is or how this violent Iraqi al-Qaeda leader ended up meeting of ‘Syrian rebels’ with the senator inside of Syria. The inescapable conclusion is that all of the men at the meeting, including al-Baghdadi are CIA assets, and that IS is a CIA creation.

GR. Editor’s Note: The author of this article has requested that his name not appear due to the sensitive nature of this text.  While GR has verified the sources and evidence presented herewith, the usual disclaimer applies (see below). 


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Freed From Darkness: Victims of the ‘Moderate Rebels’ Tell Their Stories

Posted on December 30, 2015


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Interview with Seymour Hersch

Posted on December 30, 2015

 

 

Puppeteers Not Welcome: Assad ‘Foils US Attempt’ to Stage Coup in Syria

Damascenes greet personnel of the Syrian Arab Army that liberated the Kuwayres air base in the Aleppo Province

Sputnik/ Valeriy Melnikov

MIDDLE EAST

14:34 27.12.2015(updated 15:15 27.12.2015) 
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It is necessary to give kudos to Syrian President Bashar Assad who, in fact, stopped Washington from carrying out a coup in Syria, according to Russian political analyst Boris Dolgov.

In an interview with Sputnik, Russia’s Middle East expert Boris Dolgov heaped praise on the policies pursued by Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose actions prevented the White House from staging in coup in Syria.Washington has repeatedly tried to overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad, Dolgov said, referring to the White House’s permanent efforts to undermine Assad’s government from within.

“For example, when Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem visited Qatar, its authorities offered him millions of dollars to declare that he was switching sides and joining the opposition. So there were quite a few coup attempts, but they all failed,” Dolgov said.

In his opinion, one should give kudos to Syria’s authorities, not least President Assad himself.

“The majority of Syrians see Assad as a national leader. They know full well that a possible alternative to the Assad regime is chaos in their country, the enlargement of Daesh, the split-up of Syria and the end of its statehood,” Dolgov pointed out.

He referred to 85 percent of the Syrian population who currently live in areas controlled by the government troops. In other words, civilians flee the territories seized by Islamic militants because they realize that only the army and the Syrian government can guarantee a normal life.Earlier, The Wall Street Journal quoted current and former US and Arab officials and diplomats as saying that Washington maintained communications with senior officials in Syria for years, trying to find a way to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

A former senior administration official told The Wall Street Journal that the White House was “offering incentives for people to abandon Assad,” but by the summer of 2012 this strategy of orchestrating a regime change in Syria had failed.

Read more

 

 

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MemeCenter_1451561277376_955unless you enjoy the sensation of corporate government heels crushing your windpipe, taking your human rights away one by one, telling you to hate and fear.. and fear some more… unless you find the din of monotonous voices clouding your thoughts and leaving your voice unhearable remotely palatable.. unless you find the inanity and insanity of compulsive lies excreted from politicians, employers and every manner of “authority” somehow reassuring… unless you are resigned to sinking further and further into debt and watching your children begin their adult lives with debt they can never repay… unless you are immune to the endless succession of death and destruction from illegal wars and genocide and feel nothing when pictures of dismembered families flicker before your eyes…. and if you can bear to watch all manner of creatures, pets and wild alike, brutally mistreated, butchered, starved… don’t sit down… do not sit down.  stand up!  speak…

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Amid financial hardship, Erdogan looks to Qatar as ‘rich daddy’

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 30.12.2015 | 22:56

A series of controversial steps in the region has left Turkey increasingly isolated in its neighborhood. As a result, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has gone on a hunt for new “friends.” Normalizing ties with Israel is now back on the agenda. The second door the government has knocked on is Qatar’s.
Yet, even Qatar’s friendship could not stop the Arab League from adopting a joint statement last week condemning the Turkish troop deployment in Bashiqa, near Mosul, and urging Ankara to respect Iraq’s territorial integrity. The deployment “is an assault on Iraqi sovereignty and a threat to Arab national security,” the statement said, while Arab League deputy chief Ahmed Ben Heli added that the Turkish troops “increased tumult in the region.”
Meanwhile, the AKP government seems to have postponed its claim of “neo-Ottoman and regional leadership” by joining the Saudi-led Islamic coalition against terrorism, while moving even closer to Qatar, a country with which Erdogan has had warm ties for years.
Snubbed by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Paris climate summit in early December, Erdogan flew directly to Doha for talks with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The sides signed an agreement for Turkey’s import of Qatari natural gas. Commenting on the agreement, Erdogan said, “As you know, Qatar was planning to enter the liquefied natural gas [LNG] sector in Turkey. They were exploring whether they could invest in Turkey in the realm of LNG storage. Now a step forward has been taken on this issue.”
As energy cooperation with Qatar moves higher on Turkey’s agenda, Qatari investments in Turkey are also noteworthy. A series of investments by Qatari companies have cheered up the AKP government, alleviating the impact of foreign capital flight from Turkey.
Since the Nov. 1 early elections, foreign investors have withdrawn some $1.5 billion from the Turkish stock and bond markets. The Qatar National Bank (QNB), for its part, announced last week it was putting 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion) in Finansbank, Turkey’s fifth-largest private bank.
In 2013, the Commercial Bank of Qatar had bought the majority shares of another Turkish lender, ABank, for $460 million. Tuncay Ozilhan, the CEO of Turkey’s Anadolu Holding, which sold the shares, would later comment “good chemistry” had been found with the Qataris, adding, “We are now relaxed and comfy. A rich daddy makes one joyous and easy.”
The QNB’s acquisition of Finansbank is a move of economic and financial significance for Turkey, coming as a morale booster both for the government and the financial markets at a time when economic confidence indexes have badly plunged. QNB CEO Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari said in a statement that it was looking forward to contributing to Turkey’s economic future and boosting QNB’s international activities.
The Turkish media has been another sector drawing remarkable Qatari investments. Al Jazeera’s project to launch a Turkish-language TV channel has hit a dead end, but the network maintains a Turkish-language news portal.
The Qataris entered the Turkish media sector in 2008 when one of the country’s largest media groups, Sabah-ATV, in state receivership due to its owner’s unpaid bank debts, was acquired by a partnership between Turkey’s Calik Holding — in which Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, now energy minister, and his brother Serhat Albayrak served as senior executives — and Qatar’s Lusail International Media Company. The Qataris acquired 25% of the media group’s shares and put significant money in Calik Holding.
The Sabah-ATV group was later sold to businessmen close to Erdogan in a controversial transaction, which figured prominently in the corruption and bribery scandal that rocked the government in December 2013.
The boss of another pro-government media group, Star, has partnered with Qatar in the defense industry sector. In 2013, the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), which runs companies taken into state receivership, sold two newspapers, two TV channels and the BMC vehicle manufacturer — all seized from Cukurova Holding — to Ethem Sancak, a Turkish businessman famous for saying he was “in love with Erdogan.” After buying BMC, which manufactures armored vehicles for the Turkish army and police, Sancak sold half of the company’s shares to the Qatar Armed Forces Industry Committee.
Most recently, the Bein group, an Al Jazeera affiliate, acquired Turkey’s biggest satellite television provider, Digiturk, in what was the largest Qatari investment in the Turkish media sector so far. The TMSF sold Digiturk, also a former Cukurova asset, to the Qataris without asking for a tender and without disclosing the financial terms of the deal. Digiturk, which holds the broadcast rights of the Turkish soccer league, has 3.5 million subscribers and broadcasts 239 television channels. Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the CEO of the Qatari company and president of French football club Paris Saint-Germain, called Digiturk’s acquisition “a key milestone in our global expansion.”
Additionally, Mayhoola for Investments, a Qatari investment fund that owns Italian fashion house Valentino, acquired a stake earlier this year in Boyner, one of Turkey’s leading textile, ready-to-wear and retail companies for 885 million Turkish lira ($304 million).
The Qatari direct investments in Turkey, which now stand at $6 billion, could soon reach $10 billion, according to media reports. Qatari investors are reportedly in talks to buy a stake in another large Turkish bank, whose name has not been disclosed.
The economic ties have developed against the backdrop of close personal relations between Qatar’s rulers and Erdogan, his family and inner circle.
The Qatari and Saudi support for Erdogan and the AKP has been also the subject of speculation regarding the huge mysterious inflow of unidentified foreign currency to Turkey during the years of AKP rule. The sum has reached an unprecedented $36 billion in total, with the monthly inflows increasing especially during election time.
Qatar’s support for Turkey’s president and government in times of hardship does not go unanswered, of course. In March, Istanbul’s Metropolitan Municipality made a gesture in its own way, renaming one of the city’s major roads “Qatar Boulevard.”
Zülfikar Doğan,al-monitor.com

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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Syrian Army Advances in Sheikh Miskeen in Daraa, Terrorists Collapse

Local Editor

Syrian armyThe Syrian army attained a remarkable battlefield progress in central Sheikh Miskeen town in northern Daraa amid a large scale among the terrorists.

The Syrian army had earlier repelled a militant attack on Sheikh Miskeen and prevented them from regaining control over any of the sites that they lost in the town which represents an international transportation intersection between Damascus and Jordan.

Sheikh Miskeen also occupies a strategic position that links the Syrian southern provinces and forms a defense line to protect Damascus.

Moreover, the Syrian army, aided by the Syrian air force, continued establishing control over new areas across the country after targeting the terrorist organizations’ positions and strongholds in many areas, inflicting heavy losses upon them in personnel and equipment.

Source: Al Manar TV

31-12-2015 – 14:43 Last updated 31-12-2015 – 14:4

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Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth Schizophrenic Positions On Zahran Alloush

Kenneth Roth’s Schizophrenic Positions On Zahran Alloush

Can someone explain the logic or thought behind these tweets of Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth?

(Actually I can, he’s a Zionist Jew whose main motive is the destruction of Syria in the interests of Israel)

 

Tweeted at 9:35 PM – 25 Dec 2015

Tweeted at 12:25 AM – 30 Dec 2015

 

Alloush was released from jail, which was then one of the demands of those peaceful protesters and Human Rights Watch, so he could “taint” the “uprising”. But he also was a valid “choice” for the Syrian people even as Roth’s own organization accused him of war crimes? How does that compute?

Interestingly the link in the first tweet goes to an NYT piece by Anne Barnard which the Angry Arab described as:

A moving tribute to moderately polygamous, moderately sectarian, and moderately murderous, and moderately Salafite Zahran Alloush

The link in the second tweet sent only five days later goes to a more realistic biography of Alloush written by Aron Lund for Syria Comment.

It seem that Roth’s opinions are more influenced by the latest piece he read than by case based analysis. Or does it depend on which sponsor is  more ready at this moment to shuffle big money into his pockets?

Turkey’s terror state: 150 civilians dead in one week as Erdogan promises to ‘annihilate’ more

Turkey’s terror state: 150 civilians dead in one week as Erdogan promises to ‘annihilate’ more

© AP Photo/ Cagdas Erdogan

The death toll among civilians has surged as Turkish security forces continue a large-scale operation against Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey, shattering the last hopes to conclude a truce between the opposing sides.

Government forces have killed over 150 civilians and at least 200 Kurdish insurgents within the last week, according to human rights groups and local officials, cited by the New York Times. Amid escalating fighting across southeastern Turkey, hundreds of thousands of residents have abandoned their homes for safer regions.

“What people here in the west [of Turkey] do not realize is that we are one step away from a civil war,” Engin Gur, a resident of the Turkish South East who moved to Istanbul, told the New York Times.

The frozen conflict between state authorities and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) reignited last July following the failure of a two-year ceasefire agreement.

Many experts observed that Turkish President Erdogan initially aimed to use the Kurdish conflict as a tool to strengthen the position of his Justice and Development Party (AKP), and consolidate the nation around its leader in the run up to parliamentary elections in November.

As soon as AKP won the elections by a large margin, the violence erupted.

Erdogan promised to eradicate the PKK, claiming that the group is the primary enemy of Turkey in spite of significant military achievements by the Kurds in Syria, including territorial gains that are aligned with the stated policies of Ankara.

Comment: It’s a proxy war where the Kurds are fighting an ISIS that Turkey is training, arming, and funding:Captured ISIS terrorist: ‘We are trained in Turkey, then weapons follow us into Syria’

“You will be annihilated in those houses, those buildings, those ditches which you have dug,” Erdogan pronounced, referring to trenches made by rebels in many southeastern cities. “Our security forces will continue this fight until it has been completely cleansed and a peaceful atmosphere established.”

Comment: It’s sounding more like Israel’s occupation of Palestine by the day. No doubt about it – an overt ethnic cleansing has been ramped up in Turkey.

At the same time Ankara officially claims it seeks a political settlement to the conflict. Once the military operation is finished, authorities state, talks with Kurds will be resumed.

It’s unknown who would take part in those negotiations on behalf of Kurds. Ankara has ruled out talking with the leader of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas following his calls for Kurdish self-rule in the southeast of the country.

According to the New York Times, the most probable candidate for the role of Kurdish diplomat is jailed rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

“They do not want to deal with the legitimate political actors, that is, the HDP or the PKK leadership directly,” Asli Aydintasbas, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said, commenting on the stance of Turkish officials in the Kurdish conflict.

Aydintasbas added that Ocalan will likely demand a “form of self-rule or autonomy” for the Kurdish population.

As a result of the recent conflict, many settlements in southeastern Turkey have no electricity and many citizens are trapped in their houses with no food, according to the New York Times. Scarce reports from those regions say that once densely populated areas now resemble war zones similar to those of Syria and Iraq.

“The tanks fire all day and we have nowhere left to hide,” Nurettin Kurtay, a resident of Turkey’s southeastern province of Sirnak told the New York Times by phone.

Comment: While Erdogan acts like a brutal, bloodthirsty dictator, the West remains almost completely silent. The Western media is quick to demonize officials who fight for their people, and they’re quick to lionize officials who kill their people.Also see:

Saudi Arabia is obliterating Yemen with the help of the USA

America is complicit in a new Middle Eastern tragedy: Saudi Arabia is obliterating Yemen 

Riyadh has ramped up its aerial assaults in recent months, and the U.S. government is supplying its weaponry

Global Post

SANABAN, Yemen — Ayman al-Sanabani beamed as he entered his family’s home on his wedding day. He was greeting his new bride, Gamila, who was in a bedroom surrounded by friends. Ayman sat beside her for several minutes, receiving warm words of congratulations.

It would be the young couple’s first and only encounter as husband and wife.

The terrifying power of a bomb is how it can alter life so dramatically, so completely, so instantaneously. How it can crush concrete, rip apart flesh, and snuff out life. The moments before the pilot pulls the trigger and sends the missile screeching down choreograph the final dance with fate: another step forward into a room, a turn around a corner, a walk outside to get some air — trivial actions that determine everything afterward.

This power is a fact of life in Yemen now. It is brought forth by a coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States. The airstrikes have been relentless since March, a period now of eight months. They are supposed to be targeting a local rebel group, but appear largely indiscriminate, regularly hitting civilian targets. Thousands of people have been killed. Human rights groups say some of these strikes amount to war crimes.

Twenty-six new graves outside the now-ruined home of the al-Sanabani family. All together 43 people died when an airstrike tore through a wedding party on Oct. 7. Sharif Abdel Kouddous/GlobalPost

The al-Sanabani home sits on the crest of a small hill overlooking this village some 90 miles south of the capital, where low-slung houses are clustered near plots of yellowed farmland that are dotted by small trees. In the near horizon, reddish-brown mountains loom over the landscape. On any given day, it’s a beautiful place.

It was Oct. 7. Ayman and two of his brothers were all getting married in a joint ceremony. Hundreds of relatives and neighbors had come to take part. Their three-story house was brightly decorated. Colored lights draped down from the roof toward two large tents, which were erected to accommodate the vast numbers of guests. Children scampered outside, shooting fireworks into the night sky.

Fighter jets roared overhead but the guests paid little attention to the menacing sounds. Sanaban had never been targeted before. It was considered a safe place.

Shortly before 9:30 p.m., the three grooms — 22-year-old Abdel Rahman, 24-year-old Ayman, and 25-year-old Moayad — greeted their brides, who had just arrived in a large convoy from a nearby village.

Ayman left the bedroom where his new wife was sitting with her friends. He was climbing up to the second floor landing with his older brother when the missile struck. It was a direct hit, demolishing half the house in an instant. Gas tanks ignited, sending fire blazing through the rest of it. The air quickly filled with black smoke, dust, and screams. The women trapped indoors jumped out of windows to escape.

Ayman was blown across the hallway and hurled down the stairwell. He pulled himself up amid the chaos and tried to help others evacuate.

He would eventually find out, one by one, that his 18-year-old wife, Gamila; his younger brother, Abdel Rahman; his younger sister, Iman; his father, Mohamed; and his mother, Faiza, were all killed. They were among his 16 family members who died that night, including aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces.

The toll was not confined to them. In all, at least 43 people were killed in the attack, including 16 children. Dozens more were wounded, many of them sliced open by flying shrapnel and debris, others severely burned.

Among those injured was 15-year-old Abdullah al-Sanabani, a child prodigy who in 2012 won an international competition and a free visit to NASA headquarters for inventing a solar-powered remote controlled car that could flip over and become a boat. He was evacuated for treatment and now lies in a hospital in Boston in critical condition. In addition to undergoing numerous skin grafts, his right arm was amputated above the elbow and the two toes on his left foot were removed.

Immediately after the strike, survivors fled the scene out of fear that a second missile would follow, a tactic known coldly as a “double tap.” After 30 minutes of quiet, they went back to start digging out the bodies. With no electricity, they used flashlights and headlamps to work in the darkness. It took until 6 a.m. the next day to pull all the corpses from the rubble. It took even longer to collect the shredded body parts, which they put into plastic bags. A piece of someone’s hand was only discovered three days later.

Many of the bodies were either too charred or disfigured for family members to identify, known only by what they were wearing, a distinctive ring or watch. Others were identified through a grim process of elimination, by calculating who was missing.

“What can I say? My life has been made into nothing,” Ayman says three weeks later, standing in the wreckage of his family home. His large green eyes appear permanently bloodshot. He speaks softly, with a mid-distance stare that never seems to focus on anything. Relatives and neighbors — some of them on crutches, others bandaged — whisper that he is not all there anymore, his mind still trying to fathom an unfathomable loss. “If I had burned like them it would have been better,” he says.

Down the hill from the wreckage is an open plot of land with 26 fresh graves lined in neat rows. The white and gold headstones label the dead as martyrs.

“Why did a wedding become a target?” asks Alaa Ali al-Sanabani, a relative of the victims who was at the house the night of the attack. “We are asking for an independent investigation from an international body.”

Saudi Arabia has denied responsibility. “We did not have any operations there at that time,” Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri, the spokesperson for the coalition, told GlobalPost, adding somewhat impossibly that the strike instead came from the local rebel group the Saudis are fighting.

There is little rebel presence in Sanaban — no military posts visible in the village, no traces of any ground clashes. Meanwhile, multiple survivors interviewed separately said they heard fighter jets overhead minutes before the attack. Aside from US drones operating sporadically in some parts of the country, the Saudi coalition is the only air power flying above Yemen.

“The Saudis act with impunity, so it doesn’t matter,” said Hisham al-Omeisy, a political analyst based in Sanaa. “It’s not a big deal that they hit a wedding. Since the beginning of the war they have denied pretty much everything.”

THE BACKGROUND

Saudi Arabia launched its war in Yemen on March 26 to drive back a rebel group known as the Houthis. The Houthis arose in the late 1980s as a religious and cultural revivalist movement of Zaidism, a heterodox Shiite sect found almost exclusively in northern Yemen. The Houthis became more politically active in 2003, vocally opposing President Ali Abdullah Saleh for his backing of the US invasion of Iraq.

Saleh was an ally of the United States and Saudi Arabia. He was also an authoritarian ruler known for extravagant corruption. A UN study estimated the leader amassed up to $60 billion during his 33 years in power. Saleh managed to navigate his way through Yemen’s complex web of tribal, regional and geopolitical divides. It was a feat so delicate and dangerous he famously described it as “dancing on the heads of snakes.”

The Yemeni leader successfully positioned himself as an ally of the United States in the ongoing “war on terror” by allowing US forces to operate inside Yemen, and their Predator drones to target Al Qaeda militants based in the country.

Saleh used his Special Operations Forces, trained and equipped by the United States, in his own battles with the northern Houthis, against whom he fought six brutal wars between 2004 and 2010.

While Saleh’s guile allowed him to remain in power, it did little to benefit the Yemeni people. They became some of the hungriest and most severely malnourished on the planet. So when Yemenis watched Egyptians and Tunisians take down their own corrupt leaders in the Arab Spring uprisings, they were quick to follow. The Houthis joined them. After securing promises of immunity for his crimes, Saleh finally agreed to step down in November 2011.

His vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, assumed office as interim president in a transition brokered by members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia. It was backed by the United States.

Sidelined in the agreement, the Houthis positioned themselves as an opposition group, gaining support beyond their northern base for their criticisms of the transition, which was flawed and riddled with corruption. Saleh loyalists, incredibly, began forming alliances of convenience with the Houthis.

Last year the well-armed Houthis swept down from the north and took over large parts of the country, including Sanaa. In January 2015, they effectively ousted Hadi and his cabinet members, who fled to Saudi Arabia on March 25.

The next day, Saudi Arabia put together a coalition and began its military campaign with support from the United States. The Saudis and the Americans hoped to restore the friendly Yemeni government they knew. Saudi Arabia also hoped to counter what it perceives as a growing regional threat posed by Iran. Saudi Arabia believes Iran is backing the Houthis, although the level of that support is disputed.

More than 5,700 people, including at least 2,577 civilians — 637 of them children — have been killed in the eight months Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen,according to the United Nations. The UN expects the actual toll to be even higher because many of the dead or injured never reach medical facilities and so go unrecorded.

The Houthis and their allies have been implicated in the deaths of hundreds of civilians, often by indiscriminate shelling and the planting of landmines. But the UN says the majority of civilian deaths have come from the coalition’s aerial bombing campaign, which has been relentless.

A joint report by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UK-based charity Action on Armed Violence in September concluded that 60 percent of civilian deaths and injuries were caused by airstrikes. Meanwhile, a report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights found that “almost two-thirds of reported civilian deaths had allegedly been caused by coalition airstrikes, which were also responsible for almost two-thirds of damaged or destroyed civilian public buildings,” the OHCHR spokesman, Rupert Colville, said in a news briefing in September.

Al-Asiri, the coalition spokesman, dismissed the UN’s claims. “I think this is not a very accurate report that they are publishing,” he said. “If we want to discuss this statement let’s first make sure that there are civilian casualties caused by airstrikes. Where is the evidence for that?”

In Yemen the evidence is everywhere.

THE CAPITAL

An airstrike destroyed the home of Hafzallah al-Ayani, a vegetable merchant, in the UNESCO world heritage site of the Old City of Sanaa. An estimated 130 houses surrounding the area were damaged. The entire al-Anyi family was killed as they sat down to dinner. Rawan Shaif/GlobalPost

In Sanaa’s historic old city, which has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years, an airstrike smashed into the house of Hafzallah al-Ayani at about 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 19, burying him, his wife and their eight children beneath the rubble of their home. They were sitting together having dinner, the children aged between 4 years old and 17. Three neighbors sitting outside the house next door were also killed. The father of one of those victims, Mohamed Assaba, has kept three foot-long missile fragments as evidence. They are incredibly dense and heavy, with the terrifying jagged edges of bomb shrapnel.

All of the surrounding ancient buildings in the al-Felahi neighborhood have been badly damaged, and many of the residents have been forced to leave.

The ancient quarter of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, which is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.Rawan Shaif/GlobalPost

Saoud al-Alafi, 42, lived next door to the al-Ayani family, not more than 15 yards away. “If we had any Houthi leaders here at all I could maybe understand why they targeted it, but there are only civilians here,” al-Alafi said. “Their aim is to terrorize us.”

He describes what happened Sept. 19: An initial airstrike in the distance prompted him to step outside his front door to search the sky for clues. It was then that he heard the warplane overhead, followed by the deafening screech of a missile. He says he didn’t hear the blast, only that he was thrown to the ground. When he stood up the air was filled with dust and smoke. It took him and other residents until 8:30 a.m. the following morning to dig out the bodies. Two of the children still had food in their mouths.

“One of the first steps to solve a problem is to recognize there is a problem,” said Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemen analyst at the Carnegie Middle East Center. “If the Saudis don’t see that there have been hundreds and thousands of Yemenis killed in the last few months by airstrikes I think the problem is much, much worse than everyone thinks.”

Traveling through Yemen’s northern Houthi-controlled cities and towns offers a panorama of the vicious aerial assault. Homes, schools, mosques, retail stores, restaurants, marketplaces, government offices, gas stations, power plants, telecommunications facilities, factories, bridges, roads, and UNESCO World Heritage sites have all been hit.

Some of the airstrikes display a high degree of precision. On the road north toward Saada, all four bridges — none of them spanning more than 20 yards in length — were struck directly in the center, causing them to buckle and rendering them impassable. The lack of any visible missile craters nearby indicates they were hit with pinpoint accuracy in a single strike.

Asiri, the coalition spokesman, brushed off criticism that the coalition has targeted civilian infrastructure. “Please don’t be too naive, we are in a war,” he said. “We are talking about military operations, we are not talking about a soccer game.”

HAYDAN

A hospital guard sweeps away debris from an airstrike. The roof of the hospital had been painted with the logo of Doctors Without Borders so that jets conducting airstrikes would know this facility was being run by the international aid organization. Rawan Shaif/GlobalPost

But even in war there are rules. Medical facilities, for example, are afforded a special protected status under international humanitarian law, and are supposed to be off-limits from attacks of any kind.

On the night of Oct. 26, doctors at the only hospital in Haydan had just finished another arduous day of work. Haydan is a village in the north, less than 20 miles east of the Saudi Arabian border. A man had been brought in that day with severe wounds to his head, shoulder and abdomen. Akram Ghoutheya, an assistant doctor who had been at the hospital for three years, worked frantically for one and a half hours with other members of the medical team to stabilize the patient before sending him to a better-equipped hospital in Saada City, the provincial capital, about 40 miles away.

Huddled in Yemen’s northern highlands, Haydan is stunningly picturesque. The mountainous terrain is decorated with terraced farming and is lush with verdant qat trees. Stone houses on hilltops overlook the valley below. The natural beauty, however, is now marred by the bombardments.

On the main market street, no building has been left untouched. The airstrikes have damaged every single store. Rooftops have collapsed, facades have been ripped off. Rubble lines the unpaved roads. The town’s school, electrical plant and water infrastructure were all bombed. Most of the residents have fled, leaving the streets desolate. Those who remain stay indoors after sunset. They say not a day goes by without one or two air raids. On some days, dozens of missiles rain down.

Located on the edge of town, residents considered the hospital Haydan’s only safe zone. The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) supported the hospital and regularly shared its GPS coordinates with the Saudi-led coalition. The roof of the facility was clearly identified with the MSF logo.

The entryway to the Doctors Without Borders hospital in the northern district of Haydan, Sadaa. The town of Haydan had been repeatedly bombed the week leading up to the attack on the hospital. Nothing remains of the clinic but fragments of rubble and glass. Rawan Shaif/GlobalPost

It was around 10:30 p.m. when Akram finally sat down for dinner with about a dozen other staff members in the hospital’s living quarters, located in the back of the building. Minutes later, a missile smashed into the emergency room, not more than 20 yards away.

Akram was hit on the head by flying glass and debris but was only lightly injured. Terrified, he helped evacuate the only two patients at the hospital — a father and his infant son — and fled out the back, taking cover in a plot of qat trees as the rest of the staff scattered in all directions.

Five minutes later a second strike hit. Several more followed. In total, between three and six missiles targeted the hospital, completely demolishing the emergency room, outpatient and inpatient departments, the lab and the maternity ward.

“It felt like Armegeddon. People were screaming like never before because they felt that now nowhere was safe,” Akram says. “This was the one place of sanctuary.”

Most of the facility now lies in ruins, reduced to chunks of rubble and twisted rebar. A pack of stray dogs has made it home. They pick their way through the shredded concrete, avoiding the flocks of crows that perch on bent metal gurneys.

“It was a shock to see Haydan targeted,” says Mike Seawright, the MSF emergency coordinator in Saada. “It’s not just MSF, when the health care structure is treated as part of the conflict, this is against international law. The premise of a hospital is sacrosanct.”

A family living next door to the MSF hospital that was destroyed in Haydan. Their home was also bombed and is now in ruins. “We have nowhere else to go,” the mother said. Rawan Shaif/GlobalPost

The Saudis have offered contradictory accounts of what happened. Immediately after the attack, coalition spokesman Asiri denied that the coalition was conducting airstrikes in the vicinity of the hospital at the time. Hours later, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN told VICE News that the hospital was hit by mistake because MSF had provided incorrect coordinates. The next day the ambassador reversed his account and denied the coalition was operating near the hospital. When asked by GlobalPost, Asiri would not comment, saying only that the incident was still being investigated.

International rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have said the attack may amount to a war crime.

While no one was killed in the bombing, the destruction of the hospital will no doubt have fatal consequences. As the only functioning medical facility for miles, it was a lifeline for the surrounding towns and villages and provided medical care for about 200,000 people. At times, the hospital would receive as many as 50 cases or more a day, according to doctors who worked there. The closest medical facility is now the Gomhouri hospital in Saada City, which is about 40 miles eastward on a road that winds slowly through the mountains.

“The effect of the hospital bombing will be huge on everyone in the area,” said Walid Abkar, a doctor who works at the hospital and was inside at the time of the attack. “People will die in large numbers, from wounds and from illness, especially children.”

Aside from war injuries, the hospital received patients suffering from a variety of ailments, including malnutrition, dehydration, malaria and pneumonia. “We don’t know what to do now,” Walid said. “We have nothing here, if we build another [hospital] they will just bomb it again. You need a safe space for treatment.”

The MSF hospital in Haydan is just one of dozens of similar facilities that have been hit. Nearly 70 health institutions have been damaged or destroyed during the conflict, according to the UN.

“The world has no safe places anymore,” Akram said. “No world body can stop this. Not the [UN] Security Council, nothing. Saudi Arabia has bought them all.”

US COMPLICITY

It’s easy to see why Akram would think that.

In September, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein released a report that detailed the heavy civilian toll in Yemen. He recommended establishing an independent international inquiry into human rights abuses and violations of international law in the conflict.

The Netherlands responded with a draft resolution that would have mandated a UN mission to document violations by all sides over the previous year. But in the face of stiff resistance from Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners, and little support from Western governments — including the United States — the Dutch withdrew the proposal.

Instead, the UN Human Rights Council passed by consensus a new resolution drafted by Saudi Arabia that made no reference to any independent international inquiry. The text only calls for the UN to provide “technical assistance” for a national commission of inquiry set up by the Yemeni government of President Hadi, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and a party to the war.

“By failing to set up a serious UN inquiry on war-torn Yemen, the Human Rights Council squandered an important chance to deter further abuses,” Philippe Dam, the deputy director at Human Rights Watch in Geneva, said in a statement. “The US, UK, and France appear to have capitulated to Saudi Arabia with little or no fight, astoundingly allowing the very country responsible for serious violations in Yemen to write the resolution and protect itself from scrutiny.”

The United States has backed the Saudi-led coalition with arms sales as well as direct military support and coordination, raising questions about the level of American complicity in the airstrikes.

Since the escalation of the conflict in March, the United States has provided the coalition with vital intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and logistics information, according to US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees all military operations in the Middle East.

Eight days after the bombing campaign began, the US began providing crucial aerial refueling to Saudi Arabia and its partners. As of Nov. 20, US tankers had flown 489 refueling sorties to top off the tanks of coalition warplanes 2,554 times, according to numbers provided to GlobalPost by the Defense Department.

The US military is also advising the coalition through what is known as the “Joint Combined Planning Cell,” which was authorized by US President Barack Obama, according to Capt. P. Bryant Davis, a CENTCOM media operations officer. The joint cell is based in Riyadh, where US military personnel regularly meet with senior Saudi military leadership.

In addition to logistical support and intelligence sharing, the joint cell provides “targeting assistance” to the Saudi coalition, though CENTCOM stressed that the “selection and final vetting of targets” is done by coalition members, not the United States.

“There’s actually a small number of US military personnel sitting in Riyadh in a military capacity helping to coordinate airstrikes. That’s a game changer,” says Belkis Wille, the Yemen researcher for Human Rights Watch. “It goes beyond the US just being a supporter of the coalition … they are actually a part of this armed conflict.”

When asked what steps the US military takes to prevent civilian casualties in Yemen, CENTCOM said the joint cell recommends that the Saudi military “investigate all incidents of civilian casualties allegedly caused by airstrikes and has asked that the coalition reveal the results of these investigations publicly.”

Since the beginning of the war, Human Rights Watch has documented more than two dozen airstrikes that the group said “appeared to be in violation of the laws of war.” The rights group said it has not been able to ascertain that Saudi Arabia or other coalition members are investigating a single airstrike.

Officials at CENTCOM declined to answer whether the US military in any way reviews the toll on civilians afflicted by coalition airstrikes.

Meanwhile, the US continues to send billions of dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies.

In November, the State Department approved a $1.29 billion deal to replenish Saudi Arabia’s air force arsenal, depleted by its bombing campaign in Yemen. The sale includes thousands of air-to-ground munitions such as laser-guided bombs, bunker buster bombs and “general purpose” bombs with guidance systems.

Saudi Arabia has been one of the US arms industry’s most avid customers. Between October 2010 and October 2014, the US signed off on more than $90 billion in weapons deals with the Saudi government, according to the Congressional Research Service. US arms manufacturers have also sold billions of dollars’ worth of material to the other Gulf states that are participating in the bombing of Yemen, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the latest acquisition will “enable Saudi Arabia to meet regional threats and safeguard the world’s largest oil reserves.”

The US continues to send billions of dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies.

Congress has 30 days to block the sale. In October, Democratic members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee managed to delay a separate planned transfer of weapons, including thousands of precision-guided munitions, to Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, thirteen members of Congress sent a letter to Obama urging greater efforts to avoid civilian casualties in Yemen, “in order to protect innocent lives and reduce the potential for backlash against US interests.”

State Department officials told GlobalPost that when deciding whether or not to approve weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, it weighs both political and economic interests, as well as human rights considerations. “We have to take all these factors into account and clearly human rights is definitely a concern … we have asked the Saudi government to investigate all credible reports [of civilian casualties].”

Human rights advocates, however, say the United States should be conducting its own reviews.

“If an airstrike takes place, and there’s reason to believe that it was a US bomb that killed dozens of civilians, the US actually has an obligation to investigate that specific strike and we have so far not seen any announcement that the US is carrying out that type of investigative function in any airstrike,” said HRW’s Wille.

CLUSTER BOMBS

Hasna Al-Hanash, 3, and her Father. Hasna was injured alongside her grandmother when unexploded cluster munitions fell all around them. GlobalPost/Rawan Shaif

The US and other countries have also sold internationally banned cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners. And those cluster bombs are being used in Yemen.

Neither the United States, nor Saudi Arabia — nor any other member of the coalition bombing Yemen — is party to the 2008 international treaty banning cluster munitions. The treaty has been signed by more than 100 governments because of the devastating effects cluster bombs can have on civilian communities.

The village of al-Mifaa is essentially a group of mud brick houses nestled in farmland some 10 miles northwest of Saada City. It was there that Hasna Gomaa sat by her 3 year-old granddaughter, watching her play on a swing made of rubber piping and cloth. It was 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 27.

She heard a soft boom overhead, though it wasn’t nearly loud enough to be a missile strike. She paid it little mind. What she didn’t know was that dozens of cluster bombs were raining down toward her and her grandchild.

Cluster bombs contain dozens of submunitions that are released in mid-air and scatter indiscriminately over a wide area.

The bomblets fell all around Gomaa and her granddaughter. One hit the tree branches above them while several others exploded next to them. Three-year-old Hasna, named after her grandmother, was thrown off the swing as shrapnel flew into her leg. The elder Hasna was also hit, with shrapnel slicing through her right thigh and left ankle.

One of the tubes used to carry sub-munitions in cluster bombs, found in Saada. Rawan Shaif/GlobalPost

“So many fell on us,” the grandmother, who is in her 50s, later said. “If you saw it you would have wondered how we are still alive.”

They were both bleeding profusely. The girl’s father, Mohamed Ahsan, rushed outside and carried his daughter and mother into a nearby hole the family had dug to escape airstrikes. They wrapped little Hasna’s leg in a scarf to try to stem the bleeding. The family stayed crouched in the makeshift bomb shelter for several harrowing minutes, unsure if another attack would come. When Hasna fell unconscious they climbed out to rush her to a nearby hospital.

Three days later, Mohamed is holding little Hasna outside their house. Her left leg is wrapped in thick bandages and she cries out in pain when he shifts her in his arms. Her grandmother and namesake limps beside them. “If I had died it would have been OK, but not her,” she says.

Abdel Aziz al-Nahari was not as fortunate. The same cluster bombs sent shrapnel into his chest and abdomen and he began to bleed internally. He now lies on a cot in Saada’s Gomhouri hospital. The right side of his body is bandaged from armpit to thigh. He is too frail to talk. A tube protrudes from his chest, draining blood. He has undergone three operations and needs additional surgery to remove the shrapnel still stuck inside him.

Faisal al-Hanash saw the bombs exploding in the sky. He says metal pipes filled with bomblets that came out of two separate rockets were spinning as they fell through the air, spreading their deadly cargo over at least a square mile. He holds up one of the meter-long pipes as proof. “This is an illegal weapon, why are they using it on us?” he asks.

The cluster bombs landed all over the farmland where the family grows cucumbers, tomatoes and pomegranates. Many ripped holes through the thin plastic sheets that cover crops before exploding on the ground, destroying some of the plants. Damage from shrapnel like this is evident in several parts of the village.

A cluster munition believed to be made in Brazil lies half buried in a cucumber field in Sadaa, Yemen. Rawan Shaif/GlobalPost

Cluster bomblets have a high “dud” rate — meaning a high percentage of them fail to explode on impact and become de-facto mines.

Residents of the village of al-Haneya, which is close to al-Mifaa, say dozens of cluster bombs landed on their farmland days before on Oct. 21. They had no choice but to try to remove them if they wanted to farm their crops. Nineteen year-old Ahmed Gomaa was trying to push an unexploded bomblet away using a long stick when it exploded. He was hit with shrapnel in the forearm and leg and now walks with a crutch.

“I was afraid but I had to do it to be able to work,” he says, lying down in his family house. “People continued trying to remove them even after I was injured.” His father, Abdullah Gomaa, sits beside him.

“I am afraid to walk in the fields now,” his father says. “This is a crime, we can’t farm our land because of this.”

While human rights groups and the UN have repeatedly warned of atrocities in Yemen, the conflict shows no signs of relenting. The exiled president has lost credibility across the political spectrum and Saudi Arabia’s stated goal of returning his government to rule is unrealistic at best.

The coalition has forced the Houthis to retreat from some southern areas, including the port city of Aden. But fierce ground fighting is ongoing in cities like Taiz and elsewhere. Neither the Houthis nor the Saudis appear capable of securing a clear military victory over the whole country. In the mean time, groups like Al Qaeda and the nascent Islamic State are taking advantage of the power vacuum. Al Qaeda now controls Yemen’s fifth-largest city.

With no obvious exit strategy, the coalition continues its heavy bombing. Yemenis feel the international community has forsaken them. They say the world’s media has largely ignored them.

AQBAN

Hudeidah, the country’s fourth-largest city, and home to 400,000 people, is world-renowned for its fishing industry. But its fishermen are now the targets of airstrikes. Rawan Shaif/GlobalPost

One of the deadliest attacks by the Saudis in recent weeks received hardly any coverage in the foreign press. It took place not on Yemen’s mainland but at sea.

The small Red Sea island of Aqban, some 25 miles west of mainland Yemen’s coast, is shaped like a diving whale. Protected from the open sea by a coral reef, its crystal blue waters provide the ideal sanctuary for Yemeni fishermen to anchor and rest when heavy winds come in.

This is where Abdo al-Baghawi’s boat was headed on the morning of Oct. 22. Al-Baghawi is 52. He has a wiry frame and a bushy beard. He’s been fishing these waters for 30 years. It had been an unremarkable night’s work. The crew of a dozen or so men had set out on a zawraq — a traditional, wooden Yemeni boat — just before sunset the day before and fished all night, as is their routine.

On the boat with Abdo was his cousin’s son, Ali, whose hazel eyes and boyish looks made him appear far younger than his 39 years. Mohamed Suleiman, a compact 26-year old who lived in a neighboring village, was also with them. Other zawraqs were working not far away. Most of the men aboard were from a cluster of villages near Beit Faqih, about 40 miles southwest of the port city of Hudeidah. They had all fished alongside each other for many years.

“Only God knows why they attacked us. Can’t they see us with all this surveillance technology?”ALI, A YEMENI FISHERMAN

After daybreak they hauled in their nets and set course for the island, where they would sleep through the morning and afternoon before fishing again the following night.

They reached Aqban at about 10 a.m. There were at least seven other zawraqs and a couple dozen smaller wooden skiffs accompanying them. The small flotilla dropped anchor in the calm waters a few hundred meters from shore. Abdo lay down to rest with the others. The fishermen were fast asleep when the first missile struck, violently yanking them out of their dreams and into a living nightmare.

The first airstrike hit the boat adjacent to Abdo’s at about 11:30 a.m., shattering the hull into small fragments of broken wood. “Like a deck of cards being thrown in the air,” is how Mohamed later described it.

Jolted awake, Abdo looked around in horror and confusion. There was nothing left of the boat next to him but the fishing net. Seventeen of the 20 men on board had been killed. He heard two men screaming but he couldn’t see any bodies in the water.

Mohamed Suleiman lies convalescing in a hut in his home village near Beit al-Faqih in Hudeidah province. His spine was partially broken when coalition warplanes targeted the fishing boat he was sleeping in on Oct. 22. At least 42 were killed in the attack. Rawan Shaif/GlobalPost

He didn’t know whether to jump in the sea or try to sail away. Amid the panic, a crewman shouted, “the next strike will be for us.” They all said the shehada — the Muslim affirmation of faith that is recited when one expects to die. Moments later the second missile slammed into them.

Abdo found himself under water. He didn’t know what was happening. His foot had been fractured but the pain didn’t register. He said another prayer and surfaced. The bow was all that remained of the zawraq. He swam toward the wreckage trying to find other survivors, screaming names but no one answered. Eight of the thirteen men on board were dead.

He decided to swim for Aqban. Then he saw Ali and a few others not far away also struggling to make it to the beach. With two boats destroyed, the fishermen on the remaining vessels were scrambling off of theirs, diving into the water in a panic before the next strike.

Mohamed was also blown into the water by the force of the blast. Something was wrong with his back and he couldn’t move properly. Struggling to stay afloat he grabbed onto a piece of wood and looked around. There were corpses floating next to him. One man was decapitated. Another man had his arm torn off. His spine partially broken, Mohamed clung helplessly to the floating debris until a skiff finally picked him up and took him to shore.

The men all collapsed on the beach. The pain from their injuries now made itself known. Some were burned and screaming in agony. Many of them couldn’t walk and were crawling on the sand. Ali, whose right knee was broken and left thigh split open, passed out.

The air assault did not stop. For the next hour and a half, missiles rained down every 10 minutes, destroying the remaining boats and pounding the island itself. After about five strikes, Abdo said he saw an Apache helicopter swoop in and strafe the shallow waters 30 meters from shore, killing at least one of his colleagues, Mohamed Abdullah Hadi.

At about 1 p.m. the assault finally ended. Other fishing boats eventually arrived to evacuate those left alive.

At least 42 fishermen died in the attack. The Ministry of Justice in Houthi-controlled Hudeidah listed their names in a report. The report, obtained by GlobalPost, documented the casualties from four of the boats. The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed the toll. Many of the bodies were only found days later, floating off the islands. Photographs of their corpses show them grotesquely bloated and disfigured.

Survivors say many bodies are still missing. They believe the toll is well over 100. Tamim al-Shami, the Houthi spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Sanaa, said 140 fishermen were killed, but those figures could not be independently confirmed. The International Committee of the Red Cross says the likelihood of those presumed missing being found are “very slim.”

Ali al-Baghawi worked as a fisherman for 21 years. He was injured in an aerial attack at sea that killed dozens of his friends and colleagues. Though fishing was his livelihood he now says he will never return to the water. Rawan Shaif/GlobalPost

“Only God knows why they attacked us,” Ali says. “Can’t they see us with all this surveillance technology?” His arm is scarred by shrapnel and his right leg is wrapped from thigh to ankle, the bone held together by clamps attached to a protruding metal rod. A fisherman for 21 years, he now says he feels nauseous when he thinks of the sea and will never go back.

Saudi Arabia claimed the seven boats were smuggling weapons and military equipment. It released aerial footage showing the boats in the water and one of them being destroyed in a massive airstrike. “We are sure 100 percent that they were smuggling weapons from the big ships to small boats,” Asiri, the coalition’s spokesman, told GlobalPost.

Survivors interviewed separately say they never saw any weapons on Aqban and that there were no boats among them other than fishing vessels. They say the small skiffs routinely accompany zarwaqs when going out to fish. In Hudeiah’s harbor, scores of skiffs can be seen anchored near the larger boats.

“I never felt scared in Aqban, it was always safe,” Mohamed says. He lies convalescing on a mattress in a small hut in his home village. His back is wrapped in a brace and he is unable to move. “I never saw any weapons, it was just us fishermen.”

Two days before the attack, an Apache helicopter had passed overhead as the fishermen were out at sea, but Abdo thought nothing of it. Coalition warships had been patrolling the waters for months and they had never had any trouble before. “I wasn’t scared,” Abdo says. “I didn’t think they would hunt us the way we hunt the fish.”

Sharif Abdel Kouddous is a fellow at The Nation Institute. Additional reporting for this piece was provided by Amal al-Yarisi.

Is the USA the source of ISIS’s chemical weapons?

How & from Who ISIS Got Chemical Weapons

Following the ISIS attack in Paris, France, the US and its allies are making further and more dramatic claims concerning ISIS’s capability to strike with deadly force.  According to France, the US and others, ISIS is developing chemical weapons.

Unnamed US official sources were quoted extensively in a recent AP article, stating that ISIS was known to be developing chemical weapons.

And on November 19, the Prime Minister of France issued this warning. ““We must not rule anything out,” said Prime Minister Manuel Valls. “I say it with all the precautions needed. But we know and bear in mind that there is also a risk of chemical or bacteriological weapons.”

These claims must be looked at very carefully. The US has previously made a number of claims that countries on its target list have BW or CW capabilities. Such claims, now discredited as false, were launched by President George W. Bush in order to gain support for the invasion of Iraq. Similar claims were made in August of 2013 against Syria’s President Assad, claims which were used by President Obama as justification to authorize a military strike against Syria. President Putin’s diplomatic solution to this crisis—bringing Syria in to join the international treaty organization, the Chemical Weapons Convention—derailed this stated intent by Obama to make war on Syria and effectively stalled the US’s intended invasion of Syria.

As it turned out, many questions have been posed about the alleged gas attack in Damascus in August of 2013.  A report by a former UN weapons inspector, Richard Lloyd, and an MIT professor, Ted Postol, raises questions about the conclusions that the gas attack was launched by Syrian forces. According to their report, the munitions had a range of about two kilometers and therefore “could not possibly have been fired at East Ghouta from the “Heart,” or from the Eastern edge, of the Syrian government controlled area shown in the intelligence map published by the White House on August 30. 2013.” 

Following the release of hacked emails from members of the US military, further questions arose as to whether the gas attack was in fact staged by US forces.

Hakim al-Zamili, the head of Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee, was quoted in the AP article as stating that ISIS’ chemical labs were recently moved from Iraq to “secured locations” inside Syria.  According to the Guardian, ISIS is thought to have deployed mustard gas in Aleppo and elsewhere.

Firstly, the US’s allegations that the Islamic State is preparing to use chemical weapons must be looked at in light of the US’s incredibly limp-handed offensive against ISIS. Not only have the US’s so- called bombing attacks on the Islamic State been shockingly ineffective, but now that Russia has begun her own bombing of ISIS, the US has gotten hopping mad.

As revealed here,  the US has been behind ISIS for some time now. So if ISIS is now deploying chemical weapons, one must ask if the US is also behind this development.

The US’s repeated claims that other countries are using BW and CW must be viewed in the perspective of its own activities. When the US changed its domestic legislation to give itself immunity from violating its own biological weapons laws,  it was done so apparently to grant itself leeway to deploy a country-wide bio/chem attack, via this delivery system.

The US has now been caught red- handed in another covert program, facilitated by a secret handshake with selected pharmaceutical companies, to supply pre-determined targets with “imposter pharmaceuticals.” These imposter pharmaceuticals, which come in the same packaging as ordinary pills, will cause heart attacks/strokes in those who unwittingly consume them.

 

Recently, this reporter contacted the Chemical Weapons Convention at The Hague. The communication, sent to the media contact at the CWC, is herein duplicated in full:

 

Greetings,

I am contacting you with information that will best go to the leadership at the Chemical Weapons Convention.

I have in my possess a covert chemical weapon, which has been placed into what appears to be a normal pharmaceutical, an antibiotic manufactured by a subsidiary of a US pharmaceutical company. Upon ingestion, an individual would likely experience a heart attack or stroke. Not the usual effect of an antibiotic…

As a reporter, I have covered extensively issues related to violations by the United States of the Biological Weapons Convention. I also participated in the BWC Review Conference which took place in Geneva in 2011. What I have in my possession points to a violation by the US of the CWC. It is my understanding that such imposter pharmaceuticals have been used to terminate the lives of a number of vulnerable individuals in nursing homes and that these pills are also occasionally deployed in a covert program to eliminate political targets.

I currently write for New Eastern Outlook and am based in Latin America. I am desirous of getting to you the sealed container of these pills, as proof of my allegations.

I will look forward to your prompt reply.

Janet Phelan

 

Of late, the UN’s response to allegations that the US is involved in treaty violations has been tepid, to say the least. Given all the finger-pointing on BW and CW issues, one can hope that the folks at the Chemical Weapons Convention will respond to this communication with appropriate alacrity. After all, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon has called for the end of all chemical warfare, stating: “As I have said many times, the use of chemical weapons by any side under any circumstances would constitute an outrageous crime with dire consequences, and a crime against humanity.” US Secretary of State John Kerry called the use of chemical weapons “a moral obscenity.”

 

 

 

Source: journal-neo.org

israel destroyed 478 Palestinian facilities in 2015

Israel destroyed 478 Palestinian facilities in 2015

houses and buildings being destroyed by IsraelFile photo of houses and buildings being destroyed by Israel

A research centre affiliated to the PLO has revealed that the Israeli occupation authorities destroyed 478 Palestinian buildings and other facilities during 2015. The demolitions occurred across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Quds Press reported on Tuesday.

Abdullah Al-Horani Centre for Research and Documentation said that there were 247 houses among the facilities destroyed by Israel.

“The Israeli authorities destroy the houses under different pretexts,” explained international lawyer Hanna Issa. “These include security reasons, a lack of building licences, being built near the settlements or across the settlement roads, being built on state lands or being built on green areas.”

According to the report, Israel’s policy of destroying houses as well as commercial, agricultural and industrial facilities, uprooting citizens from their homes and destroying farms is regarded as the “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians from their land in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The policy is being used as collective punishment during the current popular uprising.

“Destroying homes is an old/new Israeli policy that is used to empty Palestinian lands of Palestinians and replace them with [illegal Jewish] settlers,” the report noted. The most affected areas are places of strategic importance, such as occupied Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.

 

 

USA which killed a million+ in Iraq very concerned over fake reports of Russia caused civilian deaths in Syria

Russian airstrikes kill over 2,300 in Syria, says human rights group

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is operated by one man sitting in Coventry UK and relies on the testimony from terrorists

Russia denies ‘absurd’ claims that air strikes in Syria are killing hundreds of civilians

Russia has labelled as “absurd” accusations by the United States that Russian air strikes in Syria are killing hundreds of civilians.

Russia has come under growing criticism from the West, as well as human rights groups and Syrian rebels, for inflicting civilian casualties in its two-month bombing campaign in the war-torn country.

The US State Department earlier said the Russian strikes had killed “hundreds of civilians” and hit “medical facilities, schools and markets”.

“All of these anonymous and unsubstantiated statements about the alleged use of Russian aircraft on civilian targets in Syria is increasingly reminiscent of hypnotists’ acts in travelling circuses,” Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement, calling the claims “absurd”.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday that Moscow’s strikes had killed 2,371 people since they were launched on September 30.

It said the toll includes 792 civilians, among them 180 children.

Russia’s defence ministry said raids by the US, which is leading a coalition conducting its own bombing campaign against Islamic State jihadists, had caused “mass casualties”.

Amnesty International last week issued a damning report claiming that the Russian raids had killed hundreds of civilians, many in targeted strikes that could constitute war crimes.

Russia’s defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov had dismissed the report, saying it was made up of “cliches and fakes”.

In the past two days, Russia’s air force conducted 121 combat sorties and struck 424 targets in many parts of Syria.

Sixty minutes with Nasser Kandil 2812 2015


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US Military Outraged as Iran Test-fires Missile near USS Truman

Local Editor

The US military was fuming as Iranian ships fired rockets in the Strait of Hormuz when the USS aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, was reportedly passing 1,500 yards away.

US Military Outraged as Iran Test-fires Missile near USS Truman


The incident, which was originally reported on Tuesday via two unnamed US military officials, allegedly took place on Saturday. Relatively, the US Central Command called it “provocative, unsafe, and unprofessional.”

In the context, one of the officials claimed that the US ships were in an “internationally recognized maritime traffic lane” and not in any country’s territorial waters during the time of Iran’s naval exercises.

However, Iran issued a warning over maritime radio shortly before conducting the missile test asking vessels to remain clear. Meanwhile, Truman was about 1371 meters away from the launch location.

Yet, while Iranians were “clearly not” trying to target the US ship, the officials called the drill “unnecessarily provocative and unsafe.”

A spokesman for US Central Command, Navy Commander Kyle Raines, confirmed that a number of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard vessels launched rockets “in close proximity” to the warships and other merchant traffic “after providing only 23 minutes of advance notification.”

It is worth mentioning that Truman was in the area along with two warships taking part in the US-led coalition against “ISIS”. The USS Buckley, a destroyer, and a French frigate were entering the Persian Gulf through the Hormuz Strait at the time of the incident.

In a similar context, commander of Carrier Strike Group 8, Navy Rear Admiral Bret Batchelder stated that: “Warfighting is the priority; that’s why we are here.”

Source: New Agencies, Edited by website team

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