Eric Worrall writes: The imminent climate summit in New York is rapidly turning into an utter embarrassment for President Obama and UN Secretary General Bank Ki-Moon, in addition to becoming a bit of a punishment round for national deputy leaders.
Aussie PM Tony Abbott today defended his decision not to hop on an earlier flight to America, so he could attend the UN climate conference in New York, because he has more important matters to attend to, such as running the country.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also indicated they likely won’t attend the summit.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has indicated he will not be attending.
Even Angela Merkel, President of über green Germany, will not be attending the UN climate summit.
A Missouri cop tased a teenager who was recording him during a traffic stop before yanking him out of the car, handcuffing him, then dropping him on his face on a sidewalk, sending the young man into bloody convulsions where he is now hospitalized in a coma.
Independence police officer Tim Runnels was upset that Bryce Masters, a son of a Kansas City cop, was sitting in the passenger seat of a car but had refused to roll down his window.
Masters told him the window was broken, but that, of course, angered the cop, who then ordered the teen out of the car.
That is when Masters began recording, according to a friend and witness who heard him ask, “what am I being arrested for?”.
Within seconds, the cop pulled him out of the car, tased, handcuffed and dropped him on his face where blood came out of his mouth. A friend and witness captured on video the tail end of the incident where he plopped a handcuffed Masters down, then placed his foot on top of his body.
It is reported that he stopped breathing for five minutes.
Several witnesses say the cop abused his power, but Independence police started up the Police PR Spin Machine and insisted that Masters was fighting them viciously, making them all fear for their lives, which is why they had to tase him.
The answer probably lies in Master’s camera, but what are the odds that the footage will even be protected?
Cops had pulled the car over for a minor traffic warrant. … Full article
By James F. Tracy | Global Research | September 15, 2014
Since mid-August 2014 major news organizations have conveyed videos allegedly found online by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Unsurprisingly the same media have failed to closely interrogate what the private company actually is and whether the material it promotes should be accepted as genuine. … continue
By Nicola Nasser | Al-Ahram | September 11, 2014
The campaign launched by Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah movement against Hamas amounts to a betrayal not only of Palestinian public opinion, but Palestinian national interests, writes Nicola Nasser … continue
Ma’an – 16/09/2014
The Palestinian Center for Human rights said Tuesday that its lawyers confirmed that at least four Palestinians who were arrested during Israel’s assault on Gaza were subjected to “torture” during their detention period.
PCHR lawyers visited four detainees in Ashkelon prison, and said they had undergone beatings or had been shackled between two chairs for long hours in a method known as “Shabeh,” a statement said.
It said Israeli forces detained dozens of Palestinian civilians during the seven-week Gaza offensive, 31 of whom were transferred to Israeli prisons.
Four of the imprisoned detainees were released while 26 remain in custody and are accused of being members of armed groups.
One of them was charged with being an “illegitimate combatant.”
According to international law, members of armed resistance groups are considered prisoners of war, and bills of indictment cannot be presented against them, the statement added.
The recently dissolved Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said in August that 200 Palestinians had been detained in Gaza while Israeli forces conducted a land invasion in Gaza, but that some of them had been released. … continue
Al-Akhbar | September 16, 2014
Only 10 percent of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would vote for current President Mahmoud Abbas if presidential elections were held today, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
The poll, conducted by the Gaza-based House of Wisdom Institute, indicates that 29.8 percent of Gazans would vote for senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh, while 28 percent would vote for jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.
Interestingly, 32.4 percent would choose a different candidate.
The majority of those surveyed thought the Israeli assault unified Palestinians, but expected Hamas-Fatah disputes to continue in the aftermath of the war.
Regarding the Israeli assault on Gaza, 73.6 percent were satisfied with the performance of the different resistance groups. … continue
On 26 August a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was agreed, bringing a fragile end to a war that killed 2150 Palestinians (mostly civilians) and 73 Israelis (mostly soldiers). Since then Hamas has not fired a single rocket, attacked an Israeli target, or done anything to break the terms of the ceasefire. Israel has done the following… continue
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) said yesterday that rebuilding war-torn Syria, Iraq and Gaza will cost around $750 billion.
The war in Syria has caused the destruction of a great deal of residential, educational and industrial facilities. In Iraq, clashes with the Islamic State (ISIS) damaged hundreds of buildings in the north and east of the country.
Meanwhile, Israel destroyed more than 60,000 residential, educational and industrial facilities during 51 days of massive strikes on civilians in Gaza. … Full article
GOLAN HEIGHTS (AFP) — Hundreds of UN troops withdrew from the Syrian to the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan on Monday, an AFP correspondent said, two weeks after al-Qaeda-linked rebels kidnapped dozens of peacekeepers.
They crossed in a UN convoy in the afternoon into the Israeli-occupied sector, the correspondent said.
The peacekeepers in the Golan Heights withdrew to the Israeli side after Syrian fighters advanced near their positions, a UN spokesman said. … Full article
RT | September 16, 2014
Ukraine and the EU parliaments simultaneously ratified the economic and political parts of the Association Agreement that will strengthen ties between Kiev and Brussels. Economic integration is postponed until the end of 2015.
The document was approved at 1:00pm in Kiev and there was a synchronous signing session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Ukraine’s Rada voted 355 votes in favor out of 381 total, and the European Parliament supported the ratification with 535 ‘yes’ votes and 127 against, with 26 abstaining. … continue
Paris – The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) warned in its headquarters in Paris on Monday that this year”s economic growth in the eurozone countries will be lower than expected.
In its report, the organization noted that the least favorable results will be concentrate in France, Germany and Italy. [...]
The situation is more complex in Italy, which is in a stage of recession and will lose 0.4 percent of its GDP.
All 18 countries that use the euro in their GDP will barely grow 0.8 percent this year and 1.1 percent in 2015. – Full article
Representatives from over 100 Argentine companies will be involved in talks in Russia to increase the export of goods by the South American country to Russia on Monday and Tuesday.
The mission includes a total of 114 firms in sectors such as food and beverage, goods and services, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, bovine genetics, technology for cooling and freezing of meat and agricultural machinery. [...]
Talking about trade with Russia, Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said last month that, “A path has been opened, a window of opportunity for nearly $18 billion.” … Full article
Press TV – September 15, 2014
A US-led military maneuver has begun in western Ukraine, amid continued fighting between government troops and pro-Russian forces in the country’s east.
The military drill, dubbed “Rapid Trident 14,” started early Monday near Ukraine’s border with Poland and involves 1,300 troops from over a dozen countries.
According to the US army, the troops come from 12 NATO members, including Germany, the UK, Poland, Norway and Canada, as well as non-members Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova. … continue
Press TV – September 15, 2014
A senior European Union official has revealed that some EU member states have purchased oil from ISIL Takfiri militants despite their rhetoric against the group.
In a briefing to the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, EU Ambassador to Iraq Jana Hybas-kova said some European countries have purchased crude from the ISIL.
She, however, refused to disclose any names despite pressure by some Parliament members to do so.
The EU official also warned against any support by the West for separatist Kurdish groups who, she said, would destabilize the Middle East.
Earlier reports accused Turkey of buying and transporting oil from both the ISIL and Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. According to the reports, Western intelligence agencies could track ISIL oil shipments as they moved across Iraq and Turkey. … continue
US President Barack Obama has threatened to wipe out Syria’s air defense system and topple the Syrian government if President Bashar al-Assad ordered his forces to shoot American planes entering Syrian airspace.
He made the remarks during a meeting in the White House before his speech about Washington’s strategy about the ISIL terrorist group, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
Obama ordered the US military on Wednesday to expand its bombing campaign against ISIL terrorists and launch airstrikes in Syria.
“If he [Assad] dared to do that, Mr. Obama said he would order American forces to wipe out Syria’s air defense system, which he noted would be easier than striking ISIS (or ISIL) because its locations are better known,” the newspaper said. … Full article
Operation Dove | September 15, 2014
At Tuwani – On September 14th, two Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian shepherd and two international near the Israeli outpost of Mitzpe Yair, in the South Hebron Hills area. During the aggression, the settlers stole video cameras from the internationals and broke one of their phones. Israeli police detained the Palestinian shepherd and one of the internationals for six hours. There were no consequences for the settlers.
At about 9:00 a.m. four Palestinian shepherds from the South Hebron Hills village of Qawawis were grazing their flocks accompanied by two internationals, on Palestinian owned land nearby the Israeli outpost. Two settlers from Mitzpe Yair crossed a closed area (where the access is forbidden to everyone else) in order to attack one Palestinian shepherd, starting to chase away his flock. The two internationals present taped the scene.
Afterwards the settlers assaulted the internationals: at first they grabbed one by the neck and knocked him down, they snatched his camera and broke his phone; subsequently the settlers attacked the other one twisting her arm and also seizing her camera. The settlers ran back to the outpost holding the stolen cameras, and the Palestinian and the internationals went to Qawawis village. … continue
By Tarek Sarad | Falastin News | September 12, 2014
Palestinian ambassador to South Africa Abdul-Hafid Nofal said that Johannesburg university decided not to accept any student or deal with any academic or lecturer from Israel.
In a press release on Wednesday, Nofal said that the academic council of the university issued a decision prohibiting the admission of Israeli students to any of its collages and departments.
The decision also included a ban on hiring or hosting academics and lecturers who work for Israeli universities, according to the Palestinian ambassador. … continue
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Next Generation Identification System, a biometric database reliant on tens of millions of facial-recognition records, is now fully operational, the agency announced Monday.
The NGI system, after three years of development, is billed by the FBI as a new breakthrough for criminal identification and data-sharing between law enforcement agencies.
“This effort is a significant step forward for the criminal justice community in utilizing biometrics as an investigative enabler,” the FBI said in a statement.
The NGI database contains over 100 million individual records that link a person’s fingerprints, palm prints, iris scans and facial-recognition data with personal information like their home address, age, legal status and other potentially compromising details.
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the NGI is the facial-recognition information, which civil liberties advocates have said for years is among the most serious future threats to Americans’ privacy. The NGI database is expected to contain 52 million facial-recognition images alone by 2015. … Full article
RT | September 15, 2014
US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has voiced concerns that, without sufficient protections, the age of unmanned drones and ubiquitous surveillance will usher in an “Orwellian world.”
Sotomayor told faculty and students at Oklahoma City University last week that technological capabilities allow devices to monitor “your conversations from miles away and through your walls.”
“We are in that brave new world, and we are capable of being in that Orwellian world, too,” she added, in a nod to George Orwell’s seminal authoritarian-dystopia novel ‘1984.’
Sotomayor also discussed the rise of drone use in wider society.
“There are drones flying over the air randomly that are recording everything that’s happening on what we consider our private property,” Sotomayor said, according to the Wall Street Journal. … Full article
The Secrecy of the Legal Justifications for NSA Surveillance Violates International Human Rights Law
By Cindy Cohn | EFF | September 15, 2014
One of the many ways that the NSA’s mass surveillance violates the human rights of both Americans and others around the world is that it teeters on a huge pile of secret law.
Let’s be clear. Under international human rights law, secret “law” doesn’t even qualify as “law” at all.
The Human Rights Committee confirms that law is only law if people know it exists and can act based on that knowledge. Article 19 of the ICCPR, protecting the freedoms of opinion and expression, requires that “to be characterized as a “law,” [a law] must be formulated with sufficient precision to enable an individual to regulate his or her conduct accordingly and it must be made accessible to the public. . . . “1 This same conclusion applies to Article 17, the right to privacy. The European Court of Human Rights similarly notes in the context of surveillance… continue
By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | September 15, 2014
Via Amy Alkon, we learn of yet another bizarre moment in the world of security theater known as the TSA. It involves a young man from Orono, Minnesota, named Kahler Nygard, who for reasons no one will ever explain, happens to be on a “selectee” list for flying. It’s not quite the no fly list, but it’s the list where you get four S’s on your boarding pass (“SSSS”), and the TSA is then supposed to give you and your bags that extra level of privacy-destroying attention, including a full gropedown. Nygard claims he got the full groping in Minnesota, but the TSA (or potentially a Spirit airlines employee) apparently believed it was overlooked — though, they didn’t “realize” this until the flight was halfway to Denver. Frantic calls were made and the TSA was eagerly waiting for Nygard when he landed in Denver, leading him to be pulled off the plane first (that’s a self-recorded video where he cheerfully announces to those on board, “No, I have not committed a crime!”), at which point the TSA demands to grope him again… continue
Creative legal interpretations may now enable the government to sign off on things that will blow your mind
Congress may be preparing to reinforce two horrible FISA Court decisions and an abusive government search with no debate in the coming weeks: a decision to give national security orders unlimited breadth, one making it legal for the government to investigate Americans for activities protected under the First Amendment, and the FBI’s “back door” searches of Americans’ communication content collected under the FISA Amendment Act Section 702 authority.
On Tuesday, the ACLU and the Department of Justice argued about the legality of the NSA’s phone dragnet program before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. Much of the discussion focused on the implications of the government’s theories that it can collect all phone records in the United States based on a claim they are “relevant” to standing terrorism investigations. “You can collect everything there is to know about everybody and have it all in one big government cloud,” said Judge Gerard Lynch, describing the implications of the government’s theories to Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery. … continue
Global Information Society Watch | September 2014
Years before Edward Snowden leaked his first document, human rights lawyers and activists have been concerned about a dramatic expansion in law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies’ efforts to spy on the digital world. It had become evident that legal protections had not kept pace with technological – that the state’s practical ability to spy on the world had developed in a way that permitted it to bypass the functional limits that have historically checked its ability to spy. These concerns culminated in the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, a set of principles intended to guide policymakers, activists and judges to better understand how new surveillance technologies have been eating away at our fundamental freedoms and how we might bring state spying back in line with human rights standards. … continue
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is asking a European court to rule on whether UK legislation properly protects journalists’ sources and communications from government scrutiny and mass surveillance.
The Bureau’s application was filed with the European Court of Human Rights on Friday. If the court rules in favour of the application it will force the UK government to review regulation around the mass collection of communications data. … continue
Memory in Latin America | September 15, 2014
The Economist’s Bello column this week has a column entitled “Memory is not history,” which argues that “there are dangers [in South America’s] intellectual fashion for “historical memory”.” It goes on to accuse “the left” of “rewriting history” – in fact, of imposing “memory” over an accurate “history”.
I would argue that the piece contains several important distortions, aside from trying to lump together a region from Colombia down to the Southern Cone.
The historical truth silenced by “memory” is that the cold war in Latin America was fought by two equally authoritarian sides.
But it was not. To take the example of Argentina, yes, there were Montoneros and there were incidences of left-wing violence before the 1976 coup. But to suggest that the small leftist group, which was largely destroyed before the military took power, was in any way equivalent to the forces of the State is very far off the mark.
The Economist points out that some human rights groups in Argentina tend to use the figure of 30,000 disappeared and it contrasts this with the nearly 9,000 victims recorded by the CONADEP commission. It is inaccurate and unfair to use the CONADEP list to undermine estimates of the disappeared, and I explained why in detail years ago. … continue
An airstrike by a US assassination drone has killed at least two people in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Kunar.
The attack by the United States took place close to the border with Pakistan on Sunday.
Afghan officials identified the dead as Pakistani nationals. Other reports put the death toll at seven. … Full article
Kufr Qaddum, Occupied Palestine – Kufr Qaddum has been without the electricity since 11pm on Thursday night. Six villagers who are dependent on oxygen machines have been evacuated to the nearby hospital in Nablus. The following morning, at the Friday village demonstration, a young man was hit in the head by a gas canister and was taken to the hospital as well.
The deliberate power cut added rage to the weekly Friday demonstration in Kufr Qaddum. A resident explained that the village electricity comes through the illegal Qedumim settlement and that “somebody decided to press the button and cut the supply to the whole village.”
Since 2011, villagers from Kufr Qaddum demonstrate each Friday against the Israeli military. The village of Kufr Qaddum has had much land stolen by the nearby illegal settlement of Qedumim and in 2003 the main road connecting Kufr Qaddum to city of Nablus was closed to Palestinians. “Protests would not stop until the main Kufr Qaddum road, currently usurped by the illegal Qedumim settlers, is returned to us,” the resident added. … Full article
The Palestinian Prisoners Society has reported, Sunday, that Israeli soldiers kidnapped 174 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in the second week of September 2014.
The PPS added that most of the kidnappings were focused in the northern West Bank district of Jenin with 69 arrests in different parts of the district.
It added that the soldiers also kidnapped 40 Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, 12 in Bethlehem, 17 in Ramallah, and 10 in occupied Jerusalem.
Four more Palestinians have been kidnapped in the Nablus district, four in Qalqilia, five in Tulkarem, while 13 Palestinians have been kidnapped in Tubas and Salfit, in Central West Bank.
There are approximately 7000 Palestinians who are currently held by Israel in 17 prisons and detention camps. … Full article
Two Palestinian children have been moved, on Saturday evening, to the Hebron governmental hospital, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, after a number of extremist Israeli settlers sprayed their faces with pepper spray.
Raed Abu Rmeila, a local human rights activist, said he moved the two children to hospital, after the settlers attacked them in Bani Dar neighborhood, in Hebron’s Old City.
The two have been identified as Mohammad Makram Nawaj’a, 10, and ‘Odai Nasser Edrees, 12. … Full article
NABLUS – Israeli authorities on Sunday morning denied Palestinian Minister of Education Khawla al-Shakhshir entry to the Gaza Strip, where she was expected to take part in the official inauguration of the new school year.
Al-Shakhshir told Ma’an that she submitted an application last week to visit Gaza but on Sunday Israeli authorities rejected her application. … Full article
RT | September 14, 2014
NATO member states have started supplying weapons to Ukraine, the country’s Defense Minister said on TV. His comments came a few days after a similar statement by a Ukrainian presidential aide sparked a diplomatic scandal and a rash of denials.
In an interview with Channel 5, Ukrainian Defense Minister Valery Geletey said that he had held verbal consultations with the defense ministers of the “leading countries of the world, those that can help us, and they heard us. We have the supply of arms under way.”
“This process has begun, and I feel that this is exactly the way we need to go,” the minister said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who attended the Sept. 4-5 NATO summit in Wales, announced that he had negotiated direct modern weapons supplies with a number of NATO member states.
Poroshenko claimed that some of the NATO member states said during bilateral consultations they are ready to supply Ukraine with lethal and non-lethal arms, including “high precision weapons,” as well as with medical equipment. … continue
MEMO | September 14, 2014
The six parties, which formed what is known as the “Nationalist and Leftist Parties Coalition”, said in a statement that the Jordanian government needed to fight radical thinking by cultural, economic and social means.
Six Jordanian political parties on Saturday warned the government of their country against joining an international coalition being formed by the United States against the militant Islamic State (IS) organization.
They said they opposed any foreign military intervention in the region, calling on Arab resistance movements to fight against what they described in their statement as “colonial plans.” … continue
Australia is set to deploy hundreds of troops against Islamic State militants in Iraq. The task force, which will include Special Forces military advisors and assault jets, will be stationed in UAE as part of a “humanitarian operation.”
Five years after the complete withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq in July 2009, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that the country’s military would be returning to the Middle East, this time to help defeat militants from the Islamic State…
It was the beheading of British aid worker David Haines by an Islamic State militant that has finally compelled the Australian authorities to make the decision, said Australia’s PM. He added that this act of terror “should make all of us more resolved than ever to do whatever we reasonably can to disrupt, degrade and if possible destroy this movement.”
Most of the personnel to be deployed to the United Arab Emirates will be servicemen of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The Australian task force to be deployed against the Islamic State will consist of eight F/A18 Super Hornet jets, one E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, one KC-30A multi-role aerial tanker and transport aircraft, 400 Air Force personnel to support air deployment and 200 military officers, including a Special Forces team to operate as “military advisers” to Kurdish Peshmerga self-defense fighters and other forces fighting the jihadists.
The RAAF already has C-17 Globemaster and C130 Hercules transport aircraft deployed at al-Minhad Air Base south of Dubai, UAE, which have joined a multinational force providing airlift assistance with transportation of military equipment, arms and munitions to Iraqi forces, Abbott announced two weeks ago. The new force coming to the UAE is expected to be deployed at the same airfield. [...]
The force being formed against the Islamic State is “not simply something that is an American-Australian operation,” Abbott said, stressing that the Australian military would be acting as part of an international coalition comprising “the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Australia.” … Full article
September – 2014
August – 2014