By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | July 31, 2014
The NY Times reports a blockbuster story about the anti-Iran lobby group, United Against a Nuclear Iran. It’s an especially perfidious group supporting regime change, though it couches its approach in terms of opposing Iran’ nuclear program. Curiously, this is precisely the same way Israel’s far-right government disguises its own support for the violent overthrow of the Iranian government. Knowing that such a plan is not supported by the west including the Obama administration, they believe that they can paint Iran as enough of a threat to the world through it’s alleged plans to create nuclear weapons, that this will get them half-way to regime change. … continue
RT | July 30, 2014
Nearly every criminal case the FBI and US Justice Department has reviewed during a major investigation that began in 2012 regarding an FBI lab unit has involved flawed forensic testimony, The Washington Post reported.
The review – originally spurred by a Post report in 2012 over flawed forensic testimony by Federal Bureau of Investigation lab technicians that may have led to convictions of hundreds of innocent people – was cut short last August when its findings “troubled the bureau,” according to the Post. The review was ordered by the Justice Department (DOJ) to resume this month, government officials said.
Most of the defendants in cases that involved possibly-botched testimony over microscopic hair matches were never told that their case was part of the review, which includes 2,600 convictions and 45 death-row cases from the 1980s and 1990s. In these cases, the FBI’s hair and fiber unit claimed it found a match to crime-scene samples prior to the age of DNA testing of hair. … continue
Here’s a surprise. An internal investigation by the CIA has determined — just as Senator Dianne Feinstein charged — that the CIA illegally hacked into the network of Senate Intelligence Committee staffers in order to spy on what they were doing with regards to a report on the CIA’s torture program. They did this despite an earlier instance of a similar problem after which the CIA promised it would not touch the Senate Intelligence Committee network any more.
Of course, as you may recall after Feinstein angrily denounced the CIA’s actions, and explained them in detail, CIA director John Brennan angrily denied it — though as we noted, his angry denial really confirmed nearly all of the pertinent details. Still, he specifically stated… continue
By Dr. Mona El-Farra | MECA | July 30, 2014
Gaza City – I’m still alive. I don’t know what this means, but I can say that most of the time I can still walk and do some work with people who need help. It all depends on my luck. And here, for people living in Gaza, luck means how close to you the bombs fall from Israel’s tanks, planes, or warships. Some hours it’s raining bombs. Americans say “It’s raining cats and dogs”. In the new Gaza idiom, we say “It’s raining bombs and shells.”
Today I started my day in the Red Crescent Society’s medical center. The electricity has stopped, but the X-ray still functions, so we received many patients. Let me share with you some of what I saw. … continue
By Roqayah Chamseddine | Al-Akhbar | July 31, 2014
The transformation of Zionism as a political ideology to Zionism as a religious ideology begins, in part, with Theodor Herzl’s “infatuation with British imperialism,” as noted by literary scholar and cultural historian Eitan Bar-Yosef in his book A Villa In The Jungle: Herzl, Zionist Culture, And The Great African Adventure. “Herzl’s phrase – a ‘miniature England in reverse’ – preserves the imperfect colonial mimicry that stood at the heart of Herzl’s Zionist project, and which was exposed so explicitly…in his decision to align himself with the British Empire.” Herzl would form the Zionist Organization (now The World Zionist Congress) in 1897 and promote the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, while continuing to identify with British colonialism and those who facilitated colonialism – the colonialists themselves. While Herzl, in his book The Jewish State, published in 1895, argued that the ‘Jewish question’ was not social or religious but political, the historical account of the rise of religious Zionism shows that it began to take hold not long before the passing of Herzl in 1904. … continue
By Jonathon Cook | The Blog from Nazareth | July 31, 2014
Two observations about Jon Snow’s interview last night with Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan, for which Snow has received a lot of criticism from those supportive of the Palestinian case.
First, we should notice how Snow chooses to frame the interview. This is his first question: “Israel has demonstrated that it is prepared to go on killing Gaza’s woman and children, civilians generally. Why are you encouraging them by continuing to fire your ineffective rockets?”
That is quite some opener. In using the phrase “prepared to go on”, Snow implies that Israel’s killing of civilians is to a degree deliberate. In fact, that becomes the essential frame of the whole interview – and is the source of his irritating, even puerile line of questioning. Why antagonise Israel, when it’s clear it’s going to vent its fury on women and children? Why not hand over your weapons and let Israel blow up your tunnels? Why not abandon resistance?
Snow’s framing does a great disservice to Hamas but it damages Israel even more. Hamas are stupid, according to this approach, but Israel is actually malevolent. We should not discount the significance of the assumption about Israel Snow is making on behalf of his viewers. This may be some sort of tiny victory for the Palestinians in the media war.
Second, Snow keeps telling Hamdan: “There’s no time to go into the history”. In other words, we must ignore the context. … continue
By Yves Engler | July 31, 2014
From a left-wing community once at the forefront of struggles against racism, unconditional support for Israel has turned a significant proportion of Toronto Jews into promoters of hatred against “Arabs” and into allies of right wing, bigoted, homophobic Christian Bible literalists.
During 15 years of activism in Montréal, Ottawa and Vancouver I haven’t seen anything equivalent to the racist, militarist pro-Israel movement experienced recently in Toronto. And sadly the quasi-fascistic organization driving the charge seems increasingly enmeshed within a community that once led the fight against racism and fascism in the city.
On Saturday at Queen’s Park (the grounds of the Ontario legislature) I was shoved, spat on, had my bike damaged and lock stolen by members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a hate group that is banned in the U.S. and Israel. My offence was to chant “kill more Palestinian children” as hundreds of JDL and B’nai B’rith supporters rallied to applaud the onslaught on Gaza in a counter demonstration to those opposed to Israel’s massacres.
The following day, also at Queen’s Park, a JDL member knocked a pro-Palestinian counter demonstrator to the ground and kicked him in the face. Half an hour after this happened, a JDL member walked some 50 metres around a barricade to where I was standing alone chanting at the pro-war rally and spat on me three times. Both incidents were caught on tape by major media outlets. … continue
MEMO | July 31, 2014
Since the beginning of the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip, Israel has killed seven Palestinian journalists and media workers.
According to Pls48.net news website, Palestinian medical sources announced on Wednesday afternoon the death of photojournalist Rami Rayan, who was killed while working in the Souq Al-Bastat, east of Gaza City, when Israeli forces committed a massacre against civilians. Earlier in the day, journalist Ahed Zaqqout, who worked in sports journalism for several agencies, was announced dead.
Israel’s assault on Gaza also led to the killing of photojournalist Khaled Hamad, as well as journalists Najla Mahmoud Haj, Abdul Rahman Ziad Abu Hin, Ezzat Duheir and Bahauddin Ghareeb. … continue
An Instagram post by an Israel Defense Forces sniper boasts of murdering 13 Gazan children in one day. An IDF Combat Engineering Corps Soldier, specifically, David D. Ovadia posed with a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle.
Ovadia posted his comments on the Instagram account of Palestinian Sherrii ElKaderi.
Al-Manar | July 31, 2014
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay lashed out at the Zionist entity on Thursday, over its attacks in Gaza, saying that such attacks are considered as Israel’s “deliberate defiance” of international law.
Pillay slammed the country’s attacks on homes, schools, hospitals and United Nations facilities which are sheltering 250,000 civilians in Gaza.
“There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel,” the South African told reporters.
Pillay said that repeated calls to respect the laws of war had gone unheeded during the latest crisis and previous spikes in the Israeli offensive.
“The same pattern of attacks is occurring now on homes, schools, hospitals, UN premises. None of this appears to me to be accidental,” she said. … continue
Once again, the United States proves that it is a partner in the crimes committed against humanity by the Israeli occupation forces in Gaza.
A US defense official said on Thursday that Washington has allowed the Zionist entity to tap a local US arms stockpile in the past week to resupply it with grenades and mortar rounds.
The munitions were located inside the Zionist entity as part of a program managed by the US military and called War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), which stores munitions locally for US use that Israel can also access in emergency situations.
However, Tel Aviv did not cite an emergency when it made its latest request about 10 days ago, the defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The United States allowed Israel to access the strategic stockpile anyway to resupply itself with 40mm grenades and 120mm mortar rounds to deplete older stocks that would eventually need to be refreshed.
“They didn’t ask for it from there but we gave it to them so we could rotate our stocks,” the official said.
Additional Israeli requests for U.S.-manufactured ammunition were also being processed in the United States, the official said, without offering further details on quantities or costs of ammunition already supplied or requested.
The Israeli embassy in Washington declined comment about the resupply request, including whether it asked for the ammunition because of its offensive in Gaza.
Hamas yesterday denounced the US’ decision to provide Israel with emergency supplies of ammunitions and mortars.
In a brief statement posted on Facebook yesterday, Hamas spokesperson Izzat Rishaq said the US decision meant it was “directly involved in the killing of our children”.
The Pentagon confirmed reports that it had allowed Israel access to its emergency weapons stores which it keeps in the country, the munitions include mortars and bombs.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement: “The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defence capability.
“This defence sale is consistent with those objectives.”
RT | July 30, 2014
The US has accused Moscow of violating a 1987 INF Treaty banning short and medium range ballistic and cruise missiles. Experts speculate whether Washington is nudging Moscow to pull out of a treaty to create a new ‘nuke bogey’ and offer aegis to the EU.
Washington says Russia has tested a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile thus breaching the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by the US and the Soviet Union nearly 30 years ago, banning all ground-based nuclear-capable missiles with range from 500 to 5,500 kilometers, the New York Times cited. … continue
Systemic Disorder | July 30, 2014
There has been much cheering across the corporate media about the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ordering the Russian government to pay more than US$51 billion as compensation for confiscating the assets of Yukos, yet silence concerning the original theft of the company by Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
The basis of the decision by the arbitration court was that the assets of Yukos, seized for alleged non-payment of taxes, were sold for US$9 billion, well below the estimated value of the company. Conveniently left out of this picture is that Mr. Khodorkovsky purchased the assets for $159 million seven years earlier in a rigged process that he controlled. He did so as one of seven oligarchs who bought deeply unpopular former President Boris Yeltsin a second term and were handed control of the country’s vast natural resources as a reward. … continue
Kiev authorities may be seeking to “destroy evidence” which implicates their role in the crash of the Malaysian jet, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said, expressing concerns over the ongoing military operation in E. Ukraine in breach of UN resolution.
According to Churkin, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko promised a cease-fire in the disaster area,“but this promise was immediately broken, while Ukrainian officials have publicly announced a new task – to cleanse of the militias and take control of this territory,” Churkin said in New York.
Such actions directly violate UN Security Council resolution 2166, which calls for a ceasefire and for thorough and impartial investigation into the Boeing tragedy under the ICAO umbrella, Churkin added.
“We fear that Kiev authorities are moved by the intention to destroy evidence, implicating their role in the Malaysian airliner catastrophe,” Churkin said.
In order to ensure compliance with the ceasefire resolution and reinforce it, on Monday the Russian delegation to the UN proposed to adopt“a simple and unambiguous statement to the press.”
“However, [Russia’s proposal] was unceremoniously blocked by some members of the Security Council, clearly not interested in strict compliance with resolution 2166,” Churkin explained.
Once again urging for a ceasefire in Ukraine, Churkin reminded the Council that the Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia have mobilized “considerable resources” to investigate the crash.
Russia in the meantime handed over its surveillance data of the disaster area of the Boeing 777 crash.
“We have passed the objective observation data of the disaster area to the international organizations, including the UN and the OSCE. We expect that others will also act concretely and constructively, instead of spreading unsubstantiated accusations and insinuations,” said the Russian diplomat. … Full article
By Andrew KORYBKO | Oriental Review | July 30, 2014
Acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk recently announced his resignation from the government amidst parliamentary infighting in the Rada, supposedly over none of the factions wanting to take the fall for the upcoming suicidal IMF stipulations. (His desire to leave off the hook ahead of the coming economic and social collapse of Ukraine has apparently come into collision with the interests of Western power groups seeking to establish control over the Ukrainian gas trasportation system first – OR ). The withdraw of the nationalist party Svoboda and Klitschko’s (German) project Udar continues the chain reaction of institutional collapse that began in late-November with the EuroMaidan Color Revolution. If a new Rada isn’t formed within 30 days, elections will have to take place. It has already been forecasted that this is nothing more than a ploy to solidify Poroshenko’s power base (Udar is a close ally) and expand the reach of the Svoboda nationalists. These risky and Machiavellian calculations will likely have far-reaching implications, continuing to push Ukraine ever further towards full-scale collapse and spreading the black hole of chaos that has begun to emerge in the country. … continue
RT | July 30, 2014
The US and EU have banned the export to Russia of hi-tech oil equipment needed in Arctic, deep sea, and shale extraction projects. This will leave Western companies, which have an estimated $35 billion invested in Russian oil, in a bind.
New stage three sanctions won’t immediately slash Russian oil production, which at 10.55 million barrels per day is the world’s largest, but could derail future foreign investment in Russia’s oil industry. Russia is home to the largest combined oil and gas reserves in the world.
The US and the 28 EU countries hope to influence Moscow’s foreign policy in eastern Ukraine.
New restrictions “will make it more difficult for Russia to develop its oil resources over the long term,” President Barack Obama said as he unveiled the new tough regime.
The sanctions will hit the heart of Russia’s economy- oil, but not touch the gas sector. Together, the two make up more than 50 percent of revenues for the Russian state. Russia has an estimated $7.5 trillion in oil and gas resources, many of which require Western oil technology to extract.
Obama said he wanted the sanctions “to bite.”
The sanctions won’t only bite at Russia, but Western oil companies like BP and ExxonMobil, and equipment suppliers may fall victim to the oil technology ban.
Introduction of EU sanctions against the Russian energy sector will drive up European energy prices, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Wednesday. … continue
RT | July 29, 2014
An inquiry by the EU has found “compelling indications” that ten Serb captives had their body organs harvested for illegal trafficking during the 1998-99 Kosovo war. However, it wasn’t widespread and there will be no trial, the lead investigator said.
The chief prosecutor Clint Williamson, who led the investigation, said there was no evidence of widespread organ harvesting, but that the crime had occurred a number of times.
“There are compelling indications that this practice did occur on a very limited scale and that a small number of individuals were killed for the purpose of extracting and trafficking their organs,” he told journalists. However, he added that there would not be enough evidence at the moment to prosecute the alleged crimes.
The revelation was part of a presentation on a 2 1/2 year investigation into atrocities that also largely confirmed human right reports that there was a campaign of persecution against Serb, Roma and other minorities by some people in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
The investigation was prompted by a 2011 report by Council of Europe member Dick Marty that accused senior KLA commanders of involvement in the smuggling of Serb prisoners into northern Albania and the removal of their organs for sale. … continue
By Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley | AllGov | 2014
The U.S. Department of Justice has drawn attention to itself for helping an organization opposed to Iran maintain secrecy of its records, which are caught up in a defamation lawsuit filed against the group.
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) was founded six years ago and is operated by and gets advice from a who’s who list of American and foreign politicos, including former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman; Frances Townsend, the former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush; Dennis Ross, a former Middle East adviser to both Republican and Democratic presidents; plus former intelligence chiefs from Israel, Germany and Britain.
Victor Restis, a Greek shipping magnate accused by UANI of violating sanctions by doing business with Iran, filed a defamation suit against the group. Restis’ lawyers have sought to compel UANI to release information about its donors and other details.
But the Justice Department stepped in and asked a federal judge to block the request, claiming the records contain sensitive information that the government considers important. Federal attorneys insisted “that certain information” would jeopardize law enforcement investigations, expose investigative techniques or identify confidential sources if released, according to The New York Times.
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in New York City granted the government’s request, while also describing the U.S. government’s involvement as “very curious.” … continue
Bolivia has declared Israel a “terrorist state” and revoked a visa exemption agreement with Tel Aviv in protest at the ongoing Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.
The move “means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state,” President Evo Morales said during talks with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba on Wednesday.
Morales added that the Israeli offensive shows “that Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and the elementary precepts of rights that govern the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community.”
Signed in 1972, the visa exemption agreement has allowed Israelis to travel freely to Bolivia without a visa.
Earlier this month, the Bolivian president called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prosecute Israel for “crimes against humanity.” … Full article
Gaza, Occupied Palestine – Ministry of Health Gaza is outraged at the Israeli massacre perpetrated during the so-called humanitarian ceasefire, when F-16s fired missiles into the crowded Shujeiyah market as hundreds took advantage of the lull to buy food and supplies.
At least 17 people have been killed and 200 injured.
“This atrocity is barbarity personified,” said Director General, Ministry of Health Dr Medhat Abbas.
Not satisfied with exterminating entire families in their own homes, not satisfied with killing people praying in mosques, not satisfied with killing patients, staff and visitors in hospitals, not satisfied with killing ambulance drivers as they retrieve the dead and injured, not satisfied with killing women and children sheltering in UNRWA school, the Israeli death machine now blatantly attacks a crowded public market DURING a humanitarian ceasefire, in an unrivaled cruel and cynical exercise of savagery and barbarism.
The Ministry of Health Gaza condemns this latest atrocity in the strongest possible terms, and considers that any further prevarication by the international community can only be seen as complicity in the increasingly barbaric and clearly genocidal war crimes being visited on the citizenry of Gaza.
The Ministry demands immediate international intervention to bring the rogue ‘state’ of Israel under control, and an immediate end to its carnage in Gaza.
Ma’an – 30/07/2014
BETHLEHEM – Despite a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire that began at 3:00 p.m., Israeli forces on Wednesday afternoon shelled a market in Shujaiyya as well as number of homes across the Gaza Strip, killing at least 33.
Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said around 6 p.m. that an Israeli airstrike had hit Shujaiyya market, killing at least 17, including a journalist, and injuring 200, including many seriously.
A Ma’an reporter on the scene said that Israeli artillery had fired several shells at civilians in the market, adding that ambulances and civilian vehicles were still transporting the wounded and the killed to al-Shifa Hospital.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza said that the dead include a journalist and two paramedics, as well as a member of the civil defense crews. … continue
Nigerians have turned out massively in a funeral procession held for dozens of people killed by the country’s army during an anti-Israeli rally held to mark International Quds Day last Friday.
The mourners taking part in the ceremony bade farewell to the dead in the ancient city of Zaria in Kaduna State.
The deaths occurred after Nigerians took to the streets to denounce Tel Aviv’s deadly military assault on Gaza last Friday.
The Quds Day rally in Zaria turned violent when soldiers opened fire on protesters, killing 25 demonstrators and arresting 12 others.
Among those killed was 18-year-old Syed Mahmud Ibrahim Zakzaky, a son of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, which had called for the rally. He is a critic of political corruption and Boko Haram.
Another son of the Muslim leader was reportedly injured and two others were arrested. Later, military forces reportedly killed all detainees, including the two sons of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, before handing over their bodies to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) teaching hospital.
Government forces also attacked a mosque in Nigeria on Saturday, killing three people. … Full article
Another day, another UN school hit by Israeli shelling in Gaza. Israel’s attack this morning killed at least 16 civilians sheltering at the school and wounded dozens. The casualties figures are expected to rise.
Israel and even most of its critics tell us that the civilian casualties are accidental, caused by Israel’s need to wage its war against Hamas in heavily built-up areas of Gaza. Israel is accused of “disproportionality”, or of recklessness, or of inflicting unfortunate collateral damage.
But here’s another possibility: that the people of Gaza, not just Hamas, are the target. That Israel’s generals don’t see much difference between the two.
Israel’s army is “degrading” – or “mowing the lawn”, in even worse military parlance – Gaza’s ability to resist. Not Hamas’ abilities, but Gaza’s. Because the problem lies not with Hamas. Hamas is simply a symptom, of the people of Gaza’s determination to liberate themselves from Israel’s siege.
That is why the power plant was destroyed yesterday. That is why Israel has been starving Gaza for years through its siege, limiting the entry of basic foods and counting the minimum calories people need for bare survival – putting them on a diet, as one senior adviser jokingly termed it. That is why Gaza’s infrastructure is being trashed – the notorious Dahiya doctrine, devised by Israeli generals in 2006 as way to force hostile populations back into the Stone Age, keeping them preoccupied with the essentials of life rather than demanding, or fighting, for their rights.
Israel knows it cannot destroy Hamas’ will to resist without destroying Gaza’s will to resist too. And that is what it looks like we are seeing played out here day-in, day-out. Civilians, it seems, must die to teach Gaza a lesson: you will submit.
Defending Israel with the objectivity and intensity of the Bush speech writer he once was, David Frum, the Senior Editor at the Atlantic, alleged to his 100k Twitter followers on Thursday (not once, but eight times) that the NYT, Reuters (and AP, apparently in collusion, too) had staged a photo in a Gaza hospital. … continue
By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | July 29, 2014
… Herzl’s dream was big and he knew what he needed to achieve it:
But a project of this sort… has one prior condition: propaganda. First we must have propaganda and afterward establish economic projects… [T]ry to win influence at a Berlin daily newspaper… There is no necessity to immediately give the newspaper a Zionist imprint. On the contrary, because of the cowardly suspicions (to my sorrow, of most of the Jews) of Zionism, it would be wiser to keep things innocent… Perhaps you can… purchase a Zionist paper in Berlin, that will not be outwardly noticed as such.
Friendly media coverage? Feigned innocence and impartiality? Sounds familiar. … read article
Al-Akhbar | July 30, 2014
Israeli occupation forces snuck into Lebanon and abducted a shepherd from the southeastern town of Shebaa at dawn Wednesday, one day after they stole a herd of goats from the same area, state media reported.
Ismail Khalil Nabaa was kidnapped in Shebaa and taken to the nearby occupied Shebaa Farms area.
UNIFIL is working to secure his release, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA ) said.
The owners of the kidnapped herd, Mohammed Khalil Nabaa and Khodour Hamdan, said they had escaped an Israeli ambush on Lebanese territory on Tuesday. … continue
Since July 25th, international volunteers, including activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and other groups have begun a constant protective presence in various locations at the al-Shifa Hospital. Below is a journal extract from an ISM volunteer during his shift at the hospital on July 28th. … continue
As the situation in Gaza worsens, foreign journalists are leaving the Strip by the busload, while bombs on Tuesday have targeted several media agencies and journalists’ homes.
Mohammad Omer, the award-winning journalist from Rafah, reported that on Tuesday, following the single-worst night of Israeli bombardment, he saw a bus full of foreign journalists leaving Gaza.
You can listen to the audio interview with Mohammad here.
The voice of Gaza teen blogger Farah Baker, which went viral over the weekend, has been silenced after Israeli bombing took out Gaza’s only power plant. The 16 year old’s live account of Israeli bombing saw her followers go from 4,000 to over 70,000.
Baker, known as Farah Gazan on Twitter, struck a chord with Twitter users around the world when she live-tweeted her fears and emotions during an Israeli attack. Between attacks, Baker uploaded videos and sounds of the bombardment.
Baker’s poignant insight into the situation on the ground captivated the internet, attracting the attention of American news channel NBC, who interviewed the Palestinian teenager. She described the night of the bombing as the most terrifying in her life.
However, Baker’s running commentary was cut short Tuesday after Israel knocked out Gaza’s only power station and electricity in over 20,000 homes. … Full article
Al-Akhbar | July 30, 2014
Updated at 2:41 pm: Israeli bombardments early on Wednesday killed more than 68 Palestinians in Gaza, including at least 20 at a UN school, medics said, on day 23 of the Israeli assault on the besieged enclave.
The deaths brought the Palestinian toll to more than 1,297, according to Gaza’s emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra’s latest figures. Qudra added that 180 Palestinians were injured on Wednesday, raising the total number of wounded to 7,200.
A shelling shortly after 5:30 am killed some 20 people at the UN school being used as a shelter for those displaced by the war, Qudra said.
An AFP correspondent said that at least one shell had hit the school – the outer wall of the complex was damaged by shellfire. The correspondent said the army had been pounding the area with tank fire for an hour prior to the incident. … continue
Ma’an – July 30, 2014
GAZA CITY – The UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Wednesday condemned an Israeli attack on one of its schools used to house thousands of internally displaced Gazans earlier the same day.
“Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza,” UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in a statement.
“Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge. We believe there were at least three impacts,” the statement said.
“The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times … to ensure its protection.” … continue
MEMO | July 30, 2014
Almost two thirds of the British public (62%) believe that the Israeli government is committing war crimes, a new YouGov poll has revealed.
The survey, conducted 27-28 July, comes days after a separate poll carried out on behalf of The Sunday Times showed that 52% of the British public sees Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip as “unjustified”. Questioned about their attitude to the conflict more generally, 27% said their sympathies lie more with the Palestinians, while 14% said their sympathies lay more with the Israelis.
Polling data from the U.S. indicates Israel’s growing image problem, even amongst the citizens of its closest ally. A new Pew Research Center poll shows that among 18 to 29-year old Americans, 29% blame Israel more for the current violence, while 21% blame Hamas. Meanwhile, a Gallup poll last week showed that a majority of nonwhite Americans under-50 view Israel’s assault as “unjustified”. … continue
Israeli holiday makers were evacuated from their Maldivian resort after one of them tore up an anti-Israeli placard equating the Nazi Swastika to the Israeli flag, officials said Wednesday.
Some 30 Israeli surfers were moved out to safety from Thulusdhoo island, near the capital island Male, as residents of the archipelago protested the pulling down of anti-Israeli placards. [...]
The Maldives this week began implementing a ban on Israeli-made goods and also abrogated three cooperation agreements on health, tourism and education.
“Imports from Israel are small, but we are banning imports as a token measure,” Minister at the President’s Office, Mohammed Shareef said adding that the three bilateral agreements entered into by a previous administration in 2009 had largely remained on paper.
The Maldives, which is known for pristine beaches and secluded coral islands popular with honeymooners, attracted over a million tourists last year of which less than one percent came from Israel.
Maldivians have also begun collecting money to help Palestinians in Gaza where more than three weeks of Israeli attacks have killed nearly 1,300 people, the overwhelming majority civilians. … Full article
Sao Paulo – More than 80 organizations of the Brazilian civil society urged today the Government to immediately break off relations with Israel, due to the military offensive launched by that country against the Gaza Strip that has claimed more than one thousand lives.
The organizations presented a signed manifesto to the office of the Presidency claiming the breaking off of diplomatic, trade and military relations with Israel.
They also called for the suspension of the agreement on Free Trade of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) with Israel, as main exporting country of military technology to Brazil. … Full article
Al-Manar | July 30, 2014
Chile, El Salvador and Peru have announced they are recalling their ambassadors in Tel Aviv in consultation to protest the Israeli assault on the besieged strip of Gaza.
The moves come on the heels of Brazil and Ecuador, who announced last week that they were recalling their envoys.
“Given the escalation of Israeli military operations in Gaza, the Government of Chile, in coordination with others in our region, has decided to call in consultation Santiago Ambassador of Chile in Tel Aviv, Jorge Montero,” the Chilean foreign ministry in Santiago said in a statement.
“Chile notes with great concern and dismay that such military operations, which at this stage of development are subject to a collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza do not respect fundamental rules of international humanitarian law.” … continue
The mounting death toll among Israeli occupation forces in and around Gaza has taken the Israeli public by surprise but without dampening its overwhelming support for the relentless terror campaign against Palestinians, a poll showed.
Funerals were held across Israeli-occupied territory on Tuesday for 10 soldiers killed the day before, five of them in a firefight with Palestinian commandos who sneaked under the Gaza border fence through a tunnel and attacked an Israeli outpost.
Four others were killed after a mortar shell exploded in the Negev, and another in fighting in the Gaza Strip.
But despite the rising body count, a vast majority of Israelis think the US-backed assault on Gaza should press forward, according to a poll published in the Maariv newspaper.
An overwhelming “86.5 percent believes that Israel cannot agree to a ceasefire as long as Hamas continues to fire rockets on Israel, as long as all the tunnels have not been discovered and as long as Hamas refuses to surrender,” it said. … Full article
The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, has called Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to ask government forces to stop fighting around the Malaysia Airlines crash site after experts were unable to get there for a third day running.
“The prime minister this morning called the Ukrainian president with a request to halt hostilities around the crash site,” Jean Fransman, a spokesman for the Dutch PM, told AFP. “Rutte expressed his concern about the fact it appeared the investigators may today yet again not reach the site.”
The Dutch Ministry for Security and Justice confirmed that the team of forensic experts and police officers from the Netherlands and Australia had not even attempted to try and reach the place where the Boeing 777 was downed due to heavy fighting in the vicinity. This is the third day they have been prevented from reaching the site due to the conflict. [...]
Poroshenko ordered a ceasefire within a radius of 40 kilometers of the crash; however, this was broken a week ago, when the Ukrainian Air Force carried out a missile strike 30 kilometers from the MH17 crash site. … Full article
In this report, we will lay out the facts based on a wide breadth of available information and data surrounding MH17. We will also present and give critique to Washington and Kiev’s “mountain of evidence” that has saturated US and European-based media coverage since the incident took place. 21WIRE has compiled this report with the help of many contributors and references from English-speaking media, as well as material translated from Russian and Ukrainian media sources, along with other historical references to provide context. Our objective is to get as close to the truth as possible. Although many revelations will appear to be self-evident, we still encourage the public to draw their own conclusions regarding this pivotal event.
There are other well-known anomalies surrounding this event which have been covered at 21WIRE, as well as connections to MH370, but for the purposes of this investigation we will focus on both factual and speculative evidence brought forth by the US, Ukraine and Russia.
As we will clearly demonstrate, the only wild conspiracy theories being pushed right now, are those coming out of the US State Department, and the government in Kiev, Ukraine, which are being repeated by CNN, BBC, FOX-NewsCorp, ABC, CBS and NBC… continue
RT | July 29, 2014
The EU has agreed on a new package of sanctions against Russia targeting the military, oil and finance sectors, according to a joint statement by the presidents of the EU Commission and Council.
All 28 member states agreed on the broader economic sanctions, which “will limit access to EU capital markets for Russian State-owned financial institutions, impose an embargo on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual use goods for military end users, and curtail Russian access to sensitive technologies particularly in the field of the oil sector,” the statement says. … continue
By Jonathon Cook | The Blog from Nazareth | July 29, 2014
I really wonder what it says about the Guardian or its readers that it publishes an article like this one by Yuli Novak, a former Israeli air force officer. The discourse, even on the left, is still so degraded on the issue of Israel-Palestine that this seems to pass for progressive thought.
I am also appalled that I almost find myself pleased that this former soldier, an insider, is telling us that Israel is acting immorally in its current attack on Gaza. But in doing so she bolsters a patently ridiculous mythology that, for most of its history, Israel had a moral army – the most moral in the world, no less – and that only a decade ago the army agonised over every Palestinian death.
As someone who lived and reported through those years, at the start of the second intifada, I can say with certainty that that is utter nonsense. This was a time when the Israeli chief of staff, Moshe Yaalon, the current defence minister, spoke of “searing” defeat into the Palestinian consciousness.
Let’s not forget that the Israeli army, far from once being driven by moral ideals, began life with an act of mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, in 1948. It has been maintaining and expanding the cleansed zone ever since. … continue
Interventions Watch | July 28, 2014
Paul Estrin is the President of the Green Party of Canada. He recently shared his thoughts on the current fighting in Israel and Gaza.
I thought his comments were worth going over in some detail, if only because they’re so incongruous with what I believe to be some fundamental ‘Green’ principles: namely equality, social justice, human rights and self-determination.
So without further ado… continue
A campaign strategy memo developed for Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn was leaked online Monday, illustrating the dominant roles that fundraising and pandering to the affluent play in American politics.
The December 2013 memo, obtained by National Review, outlines a potential campaign finance plan for Nunn, calling for the Democrat to spend 70 to 80 percent of her time raising cash from January through September. In October, the candidate’s time raising funds falls to 50 percent.
“Hitting our targets will require us to prioritize fundraising above all else and to focus the candidate’s time on it with relentless intensity,” the memo suggests, going on to add that Nunn should spend 2,201 hours raising money during the 2,500 campaign hours in 2014.
Overall, the memo says Nunn needs to raise $15 million to $20 million during the entire race. Nunn, who was uncontested in her party’s primary, is pitted against Republican David Perdue to fill the seat of outgoing senator Saxby Chambliss.
The memo outlines eight different groups Nunn should target as potential sources of the kind of big money needed to win the seat. Those groups include Georgia CEOs and business leaders; a cadre of major Democratic donors; trial lawyers and law firms; the tech industry; the National Finance Committee; the Jewish community; young professionals; women; and the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. [...]
Outside of business objectives, the memo says Nunn must use targeted messaging to emphasize policy preferences of her other prioritized communities. For instance, she should voice her support for marriage equality with LGBT donors, the memo suggests. With the tech community, she should push her support for the “the entrepreneurial spirit of Georgians” For the Jewish community, the memo says, “Michelle’s position on Israel will largely determine the level of support here.” … Full article
Palestinian resistance faction Hamas has accused Israel of rejecting proposals for a humanitarian truce during Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
“[Israeli] occupation still rejects any humanitarian truce during Eid,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press release on Monday.
Hamas and other Palestinian factions said Sunday that they were ready for observing a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip during Eid al-Fitr, which started on Monday, at the request of the United Nations.
Israel has not yet responded to the proposal. … Full article
Israeli tank fire hit the fuel depot of the Gaza Strip’s only power plant on Tuesday, witnesses said, cutting electricity to Gaza City and many other parts of the Palestinian enclave of 1.8 million people.
A thick column of black smoke rose from the facility, which supplies the territory with two-thirds of its energy needs, and the fuel containers were in flames. “The power plant is finished,” its director, Mohammed al-Sharif, told Reuters. [...]
The plant had already been hit last week and was working at a reduced capacity of about 20 percent, allowing only a few hours of electricity a day for Gaza’s residents. … Full article
By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | July 29, 2014
The Israeli army continued its illegitimate bombardment of Palestinian homes, and civilian property, and killed five family members of a Palestinian journalist, including two children in Gaza City.
Media sources said the Israeli strikes also targeted government facilities and ministries, media outlets, mosques and even homes of senior political leaders of Hamas, including the deputy head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismael Haniyya.
Medical sources said resident Ezzat Dheir, a 23-year-old journalist, working for a local radio, was killed along with four members of his family, after an Israeli missile striking his home. … continue
GAZA – Al-Aqsa TV Channel building in Gaza City has been totally destroyed after being directly hit at dawn Tuesday with two missiles. Significant damage was reported.
Al-Aqsa TV Channel continued to broadcast despite the Israeli bombing of its headquarters.
Al-Aqsa Channel building has been targeted more than once during the two previous Israeli aggressions on Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, al-Aqsa radio went silent after Israeli warplanes bombed a media building housing al-Aqsa TV channel and radio station in the center of Gaza City early on Tuesday morning. … Full article
Press TV – July 29, 2014
The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) says it is ready to set up a fully equipped makeshift hospital in the Gaza Strip amid deadly Israeli attacks on the impoverished coastal enclave.
Seyyed Reza Raeis Karami, the IRCS under-secretary general for health, treatment and rehabilitation, said the humanitarian body is ready to dispatch a medical team to Gaza and build a field hospital there to treat those wounded in Israeli attacks.
The hospital could be built up in a six-month period, while a group of 23 Iranian surgeons will also operate in the medical center to treat the injured Gazans, according to the IRCS official. … continue
By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | July 27, 2014
Last week, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed a meeting of Iranian university students and, in his first public comments on the ongoing assault on Gaza, spoke of his belief in the necessity of continued Palestinian resistance to Israel aggression, oppression, and occupation.
“Don’t the Palestinians have the right to defend their lives and security?” he asked rhetorically, and condemned Western nations like the United States and Great Britain for openly supporting Israel’s assault and justifying “crimes that no ordinary person would.”
In the right-wing Daily Caller, notorious neocon darling Reza Kahlili noted that Khamenei reiterated the call by his predecessor, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, that “Israel must be destroyed,” adding that “until that time with the help of God for this cruel and murderous regime to be destroyed, strong confrontation with steadfast armed resistance is the only solution against this destructive regime.”
Yet the Caller omitted a crucial aspect of Khamenei’s speech – deliberately replaced by an ellipsis linking the the paraphrased Khomeini quote with Khamenei’s endorsement of Palestinian armed struggle – in which the Iranian leader stated that the ideal solution to the current impasse was a democratic vote. … continue
RT | July 28, 2014
The Hague’s arbitration court was not legally empowered to view the case of Yukos Oil Company v. Russia, and the court’s “one-sided” ruling disregards previous Strasbourg court decisions on the issue, the Russian Finance Ministry said in a statement.
Viewing the case, filed by shareholders of former Russian oil giant Yukos against the Russian government, was not in the jurisdiction of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, as Russia has not ratified the Energy Charter Treaty, the ministry said on Monday.
The statement, following the court’s sensational Monday ruling that ordered Russia to pay $50 billion in damages, also provided a detailed list of issues, which, according to the ministry, make the decision “opportunistic” and “politically biased.” … continue
By Andrew KORYBKO | Oriental Review | July 28, 2014
The Ukrainian Civil War took a violent and headline-grabbing international turn for the worst on 17 July following the downing of Flight MH17. Although it appears more and more likely that it was the Ukrainian Army that shot it down and not the anti-Kiev Resistance, pro-Western media has been aggressively pushing the narrative that Russia, specifically President Putin, was involved and has been suppressing evidence to the contrary. It has even gone as far as to infer that “Russian-backed separatists” carried out a “terrorist attack”, further upping the propaganda ante. The reason behind this massive information war is that the US wants to “isolate Russia” and expand NATO into Ukraine, something which it has largely been unable to successfully do up until this point. In fact, it appears as though the US is now readying to play its trump card – granting Ukraine major non-NATO ally status and declaring Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, both of which would in turn advance NATO interests and threateningly force the EU to choose whether its destiny lies with the Atlantic or the Continent. … continue
By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | July 28, 2014
As we continue to wait for the White House to finally release the heavily redacted version of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report (the full report is over 6,300 pages and cost $40 million to produce), it appears that those who are likely to take the blame are already preparing their response. As has already leaked out over the past few months, the report will show how the program went further than people expected, that it basically uncovered no terrorist plots and that the CIA regularly lied to Congress about the nature of the program and its impact. The CIA, led by current boss John Brennan, has hit back against these conclusions, but it appears that those who were actually in power during the torture program are even more worried. Former CIA boss George Tenet, who was already considered something of a disgrace for the CIA’s intelligence failures prior to invading Iraq, is apparently working hard behind the scenes to coordinate an attack on the credibility of the report — because it pretty clearly is going to attack his credibility. … continue
Hossam Abdul Ghani Yassin, 15 years old, was killed Saturday morning, July 26, 2014, in an Israeli strike on his home, in Gaza City.
Hossam Yassin is the grandson of the founder and political leader of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Hossam’s father Abdel Ghani Yassin reports on his facebook page, that Hossam was buried next to his grandfather.
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was assassinated on March 22, 2004 by Israeli Occupying Forces, as he was leaving the mosque during Fajr (dawn) prayer.
Humanize Palestine attempts to restore the humanity that is often stripped away when Palestinians are reduced to calculative deaths, forgettable names, and burned and mutilated bodies, rather than people who shared loved ones, stories, dreams and aspirations. Visit the site
By Greg Mitchell | Pressing Issues | July 28, 2014
It’s been a tough week for NBC’s David Gregory.
First were reports that his “Meet the Press” was sinking under even weaker ratings and that he would soon be replaced. Then as we noted here yesterday: Gregory, after a weak interview with Prime Minister Netanyahu, committed one of the worst journalistic ethical lapses of recent vintage. After letting Netanyahu claim, again, that Israel may be blameless in the school massacre, despite all the evidence and logic to the contrary, he brought on UNWRA spokesman Chris Gunness–and blindsided him by showing a 10-second, hazy, tape just released within the hour by Israel allegedly showing a Hamas rocket being fired from the grounds of a UN school. Yet Gregory said NBC had not “verified” that it’s accurate–and admitted that Gunness could not view it and had never seen it before. Yet then asked Gunness to respond! Gunness naturally protested the unfairness–and then the segment quickly ended.
Gregory has now issued this statement: “An end note in a discussion about Gaza we asked a spokesman about this video which Israel claims showed rockets being fired by Hamas from a U.N. school in Gaza,” Gregory said. “This is shot by the Israeli government, and that’s their claim. The U.N. has reviewed it, tells us they have confirmed, in their view, the video does not show rockets being fired from U.N. administrative school in Gaza. So this is a back and forth we are not able to settle at this point.” No apology or recognition of his severe ethical lapse. Shameful. And leaves it at the usual “he said/she said”–rather than NBC attempting to verify tape or prove Israeli propaganda. Which it should have done before airing it. … continue
July – 2014