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UK blocks UN inquiry into Saudi war crimes in Yemen

Press TV – September 25, 2016

The United Kingdom has blocked European Union efforts to launch an independent international inquiry into Saudi Arabia’s war of aggression in Yemen.

The Netherlands had hoped to gather support for its proposal that the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva establish an inquiry to look into war crimes and civilian deaths in Yemen, The Guardian reported.

The proposal, submitted Friday by Slovakia on behalf of the EU, was replaced by a much weaker call for the UN body to dispatch a mission “to monitor and report on the situation” after the UK refused to give its backing. […]

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson last week rejected the need for an independent investigation, saying the UK was “using a very, very wide variety of information sources” about the war in Yemen.

Since the conflict began, the British government has approved more than £3 billion in arms sales to the Saudis and military contractors hope more deals are in the pipeline. … Full article

Seven civilians killed, several injured in Saudi airstrikes in Yemen’s Ibb

Press TV – September 25, 2016

Saudi Arabia’s latest airstrikes on its impoverished neighbor Yemen have claimed the lives of seven civilians and injured several more.

The civilians were killed on Sunday as Saudi warplanes targeted residential areas in Yemen’s southern province of Ibb.

According to local sources, the toll for attacks may increase as some of the injured are in critical condition.

Earlier, Saudi jets attacked the Kamaran district and an Air Force Base in Yemen’s western and coastal province of Hudaydah and the Political Security Office in the northwestern province of Sa’ada. … Full article

Israeli military indicts 145 Palestinians for social media posts

Press TV – September 25, 2016

The Israeli military has indicted at least 145 Palestinians so far this year after accusing them of inciting anti-Israeli sentiments over social media.

The Israeli military said on Sunday the indictments were made for posts on social media websites such as Facebook, which is a popular network among Palestinians.

Israel has launched a violent campaign to stamp out the online calls for resistance by Palestinian activists and groups.

Tel Aviv threatens those Palestinians who do not appear for interrogation with arresting their family members instead. … Full article

Former hunger striker Malik al-Qadi released by Israel, transferred to Palestinian hospital

qadi-transferMa’an – September 24, 2106

JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities released former hunger-striking prisoner Malik al-Qadi to Palestinian medics on Saturday to transfer him to a hospital in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said on Saturday morning that its staff was transferring al-Qadi from the Israeli Wolfson Medical Center to the Istishari Arab Hospital in the city of Ramallah.

Al-Qadi is in a dire health condition after going without food for 68 days to protest being held in administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — by Israel.

Al-Qadi ended his hunger strike on Wednesday, along with fellow prisoners Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul, after an agreement with the Israeli prisons services not to renew their administrative detentions. … continue

Syrian and Palestinian Units liberate Handarat Refugee Camp from Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham

nsnbc – September 24, 2016

Units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) supported by the Palestinian Liwa Al-Quds liberated the Palestinian Handarat refugee camp in Aleppo province from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusrah.

The Handarat refugee camp is located 13 kilometers northeast of the city of Aleppo. The 14 Palestinian refugee camps, including Handarat were reluctantly drawn into the war in Syria after its onset in 2011.

Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusrah, conceded that the Syrian Arab Army and fighters from the Palestinian Liwa al-Quds had succeeded to seize the camp. The insurgents reported that the Syian – Palestinian ground troops were supported by Syrian as well as Russian air cover.

Bomb squads and engineers are currently in the process of clearing Handarat for boobie traps, mine, improvised explosive devices and other hazards left behind by the insurgents or caused by the fighting; Anong others, unexploded ordinance. … continue

Israel wants Syria destroyed as presaged by the Oded Yinon plan

By Mark Taliano | American Herald Tribune | September 25, 2016

Before the externally-orchestrated dirty war on Syria started with the externally-orchestrated “Arab Spring” psy op; before the “peaceful protestors” shot the unarmed Syrian security forces; and before the West armed, trained and funded the international mercenary cannibals who loot, rape, and plunder; Syria was an oasis of civilization surrounded by imperial puppet states.

Syria was prosperous, with a growing economy. It had food sovereignty, with a “strategic” stock of millions of tons of high quality wheat , not the “Franken-food” bio-tech variety; it had a strong central bank with no usurious IMF loans; it had a popular, reformer President; it had a mostly well-educated, secular, pluralist, forward-looking population; and it was the fourth safest country in the world.

After almost six years of illegal war launched by some of the most militarily advanced countries, and years of illegal sanctions imposed by these same criminal governments – including Canada’s puppet government – Syria is still standing strong. It still has a popular, elected President and government. And it is still a beacon of civilization. … continue

Another Kerry Rush to Judgment on Syria

Consortium News | September 24, 2016

The U.N. withdrew its claim that an airstrike hit its Syrian relief convoy but Secretary of State Kerry relied on the outdated claim in lashing out at Russia in a repeat of his earlier rushes to judgment, writes Robert Parry. – Read article

North Korea: Rogue Aggressor or Cornered Victim of Aggression?

Sputnik – 24.09.2016

North Korean officials and state media are well-known for their bombastic rhetoric and threats to ‘wipe out their enemies’, while conducting a series of nuclear and ballistic missile tests condemned by the international community, Russia included. But once in a while, Pyongyang manages to offer a somewhat reasonable explanation for their behavior.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Friday may have been such an occasion.

During his speech, Ri stated bluntly that Pyongyang would continue to build up its nuclear arsenal to deter against threats, including US nuclear weapons and conventional US and South Korean military forces, which regularly engage in ‘provocative’ military exercises along North Korea’s borders.

“The acquisition of a nuclear arsenal is the policy of our state,” the diplomat bluntly admitted. “As long as a nuclear-armed state exists that has hostile relations with our country, our national security and peace on the Korean peninsula can be defended only with reliable nuclear deterrence,” Ri added.

At the same time, the diplomat stressed that his country “is doing everything to prevent armed conflict and its escalation, taking countermeasures for self-defense when met with aggressive US exercises by the US and South Korea.”

“Our decision to strengthen our nuclear arsenal is a justified measure of self-defense to protect our nation from the constant nuclear threat posed by the United States,” Ri said. … continue

Obama implicated in Clinton email scandal – New FBI docs

RT | September 24, 2016

President Barack Obama used a pseudonym when communicating with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by email, while her IT company referred to her email deleting as a “cover-up”, new FBI documents reveal.

360845_barrack-obamaThe heavily-redacted documents, almost 200 pages, include summaries of interviews with senior Clinton aides concerning the private email server, and brings to light details previously unknown.

During the interview with Huma Abedin, who served as deputy chief of staff under Clinton, the FBI reportedly presented her with an email exchange between Clinton and a person she did not recognize. The FBI then revealed the unknown person’s name was believed to be a pseudonym used by Obama. Abedin reacted by saying, “How is this not classified?”

This exchange could expose Obama as having mislead the public on the issue, given his 2015 statement that he found out about Clinton’s use of a private email server “the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports.”

The State Department will not make public the emails Clinton exchanged with Obama, citing “presidential communications privilege,” as reason to withhold the emails under the Freedom of Information Act, Politico reports. … continue

Hillary’s Secret ‘Ideas for Regime Change’ Program Gave Rise to Arab Spring

Sputnik – September 24, 2016

“I’m going to give you credit for the ‘peaceful’ protests” wrote Huma Abedin to Hillary Clinton in the lead up to the collapse of the Mubarak regime in Egypt as evidence mounts that the United States manufactured the overthrow of an ally.

New documents first analyzed by Breitbart News show that the US State Department under Hillary Clinton developed and forged a program first started in the last months of the Bush presidency focused on training radical groups, including the controversial Muslim Brotherhood, on how to effectively use social media and other communication outlets to cause disruption and even topple governments.

The program known as Alliance of Youth Movements Summit was co-founded by a close adviser to Clinton, Jared Cohen, during his tenure with the State Department at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, which enabled anti-Mubarak activists to organize and plot the eventual overthrow of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

The program was forged on November 18, 2008, only two weeks after Barack Obama was elected US President but during the “lame-duck” portion of the Bush administration with the first summit held at Columbia Law School in New York. … continue

Syria militants to get heavy weapons from foreign supporters

Press TV – September 24, 2016

Militants in Syria say they are about to receive new types of heavy weapons from their foreign supporters as the Damascus government continues with a major offensive in the northern city of Aleppo.

Colonel Fares al-Bayoush, head of the Northern Division of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) militant group, said Saturday that he expected the delivery of more “heavy weapons, such as rocket launchers and artillery” from their foreign sponsors, Reuters reported. […]

The United States, along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey, has been channeling military support to militants fighting under the banner of the FSA for several years.

The support for the militants described by Washington as “moderate” includes training by the Central Intelligence Agency and anti-tank missiles. … Full article

Syria FM censures exploiting humanitarian sufferings of Syrians

Press TV – September 24, 2016

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has censured certain governments in the Middle East and the West for taking advantage of the humanitarian sufferings of Syrians to reach their political objectives.

In an address to the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Saturday, Muallem said Syria was being constantly blamed for the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the country, especially in the war-ravaged northern part, regardless of the fact that certain states favored the continued humanitarian catastrophe to advance their own objectives.

The Syrian foreign minister said Western governments continued to accuse the Syrian military of resorting to siege and starvation as a tactic of war, but at the same time supported militants to use people most affected by the conflict as human shields.

Muallem said Syria would spare no effort to put an end to the sufferings of Syrians and give them back their dignity. He also stated that the country faced a tough task of coping with systematic destruction by foreign-backed militants. … continue

Lavrov urges finding, examining ammunition used to hit aid convoy

Mehr News Agency – September 24, 2016

For objective probe in incident with attack on UN humanitarian convoy in Syria it is necessary to find and examine ammunition used to hit the convoy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

In order for the investigation of the incident with the humanitarian convoy in Syria to be considered objective, the ammunition used on it must be shown, Sergei Lavrov said during an interview with the TV channel Rossiya-1.

“Now it is necessary to conduct an investigation. Probably the easiest way and the very first step that should be made is to [examine] the ammunition that was used [during the attack] on the convoy,” Sergei Lavrov said.

“First there appeared information claiming it was hit with artillery, and then this information disappeared. After that people spoke about helicopters; I think everyone would be able to understand what happened if we were able to see the ammunition.” … Full article

Did The US Target Syrian Aid Convoy With Hellfire Missile?

Signs Of The Times | September 22, 2016

Footage of the nighttime attack on the Syrian aid convoy in Aleppo has surfaced. But there’s something curious about how the footage has been appearing on Western news reports. […]

Thermobaric Hellfire air-blasts don’t leave craters, and they typically start fires. No craters are visible in footage of the burned convoy.

The Russians have thermobaric bombs, too, according to PavewayIV, but they use different particles and their blast patterns are different: either no “sparkles” or long-duration “sparkles”, not the fast-duration flash as seen in the video of the Aleppo blast. … Read full article

Guardian sells space to war-profiteers to promote war

By Kit | OffGuardian | September 24, 2016

… The same company which made money off the aftermath of the Libyan war, is now sponsoring an article calling for war in Syria. It is an undeclared agenda, a classic conflict of interest, and totally disgusting. That it takes place in a supposedly “liberal paper”, with supposedly “progressive values”, in the name of charity and humanitarianism, is the height of modern hypocrisy.

The Guardian is selling space in their paper to for-profit companies, who publish pro-war opinion pieces, trying to incite public support for a war that will make them money. … Read full article

Israeli and Egyptian navies open fire at Gaza fishermen

Palestinian Information Center – September 24, 2016

GAZA – Israeli and Egyptian gunboats on Saturday opened machinegun fire at Palestinian fishermen off the northern and southern shores of the Gaza Strip.

According to Quds Press, the Israeli navy opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza City.

Simultaneously, a similar gunfire attack was carried out by Egyptian naval troops off the coast of Rafah, north of Gaza.

The Egyptian navy had opened fire several times before at Palestinian fishermen, with no reason.

Luckily, none of the fishermen was hurt in the shooting attacks.

Soldiers Close All Roads Leading To Nablus

IMEMC News – September 24, 2016

Israeli soldiers closed, on Friday evening, all roads leading to the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and prevented Palestinians from crossing for several hours.

1225200003The soldiers installed many roadblocks, even closing minor roads leading to the city, completely sealing it, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

The army claimed there was what it called “a security incident,” but did not provide any further information, and later removed the blockades.

Also on Friday evening, sources have reported that several Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, after the soldiers invaded Zabbouba village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

On Saturday at dawn, several Israeli army jeeps invaded a number of communities in the West Bank district of Bethlehem, and summoned three Palestinians, including an elderly man, for interrogation at the Etzion military base, north of Bethlehem.

Canadian firm sells Bahrain software to censor Internet

Press TV – September 24, 2016

A Canadian company has sold Bahrain technology used to block opposition websites and human rights content on the Internet, Canadian activists say.

Specialists from internet watchdog Citizen Lab said in a report that Canadian Netsweeper website-blocking applications had been identified on nine internet service providers (ISPs) in Bahrain.

The report further disclosed that testing on the ISP of the state-run Bahrain Telecommunication Company (Batelco) showed that at least one of the Netsweeper installations was in use in the small Persian Gulf kingdom. … continue

How One Man Held off Nuclear War

By Cesar Chelala | CounterPunch | September 23, 2016

As the possibilities for confrontation between Russia and the United States seem to increase, it is worth remembering how close the world was to a nuclear disaster as a result of the nuclear missiles installed in Cuba by the Soviet Union. At the time, the world was saved from that horrific scenario by the agreement between President John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

However, it is possible that the world came even closer to annihilation due to similar events that began to be publicly known in 2002. Those events culminated in what is known as Black Saturday, and made U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara state that the United States came “very close” to nuclear war, “closer than we knew at the time.” The hero behind the events mentioned by McNamara was Vasili Arkhipov, a Soviet naval officer. … continue

NATO Mission Now to ‘Spread Stability’ Beyond Borders of Member Nations

Sputnik – 24.09.2016

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance has entered a new era in which its mission is to “spread stability” in other nations, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.

“[NATO has entered] An age where we must do both collective defence and manage crises and promote stability beyond our borders,” Stoltenberg said in comments delivered at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, offered no conditions or geographical limitations about the terms or countries in which NATO aims to promote stability… Full article

US drone strike kills five in southern Yemen

Press TV – September 24, 2016

At least five people have lost their lives in an airstrike by a US unmanned aerial vehicle in Yemen.

Local officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday that the drone hit a vehicle carrying the five, who were claimed to be suspected al-Qaeda militants, in the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib the previous day.

It came a day after a drone strike in the neighboring al-Bayda Province killed three suspected Al-Qaeda members… Full article

Corbyn re-elected in landslide win as Britain’s Labour leader

Press TV – September 24, 2016

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has retained the leadership of the opposition political party after a bruising campaign.

Corbyn, who was initially elected last year, took 62 percent of the vote, beating challenger Owen Smith on Saturday.

Surveys had indicated that Corbyn would easily defeat his challenger as he maintained widespread support of party members attracted by his socialist anti-austerity policies and “authentic” image.

On Wednesday, Corbyn urged for the party to unite behind his leadership. He reminded lawmakers that he has the support of rank-and-file members of the party and warned them not to challenge him again.

“We owe it to the millions of people Labour exists to represent to end the sniping and personal attacks, and work together for all those who depend on the election of a Labour government. Anything else would be destructive self-indulgence,” Corbyn said in a statement.

“All Labour Party members and MPs have a responsibility to work within the democracy of our party and respect the leadership of whoever is elected.”

The 67-year-old socialist and peace campaigner has shown little interest for Britain’s special relationship with the US and is opposed to nuclear weapons, including the costly Trident nuclear missile system that is maintained by the US.

Corbyn also is a critic of Israel and NATO. As member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, he invited members of the Hezbollah and Hamas resistance movements in 2009 to parliament where he called them “friends.” … See also Campaign Against Anti-semitism launches official complaint against Jeremy Corbyn

Russia Hopes Next US President to Push for Ratification of Nuclear Test Ban

Sputnik – 23.09.2016

Russia hopes that the next US president will be more committed to ratification by his country of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which Moscow has already ratified, Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vitaliy Churkin said Friday.

“We hope that the next president of the United States will be more strident in his commitment to [CTBT] ratification,” Churkin said at the UN General Assembly noting that Washington failed to ratify the treaty under the administration of President Barack Obama.

Earlier in the day, UN Security Council has adopted a resolution in support of the early enforcement of the CTBT.

The CTBT was finalized in 1996 and has been signed by the United States and 182 other countries. It was ratified by 166 countries but is yet to be ratified in Washington.

To enter into force, the CTBT requires ratification by all 44 states listed in the annex.

At present, the treaty is ratified by 36 countries, including the three nuclear weapons possessor states — Russia, France and the United Kingdom. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty provides for a legally binding global prohibition against nuclear explosive tests or any other nuclear explosions.

India Takes Huge Step to Double Domestic Gas Consumption

Sputnik – 22.09.2016

New Delhi — In what could be termed as the biggest ever step towards turning India into a gas based economy from its current reliance on coal, Narendra Modi’s government has approved state funding for a 1,578 miles long gas pipeline in the east of the country.

India’s biggest pipeline project is estimated to cost $1.94 bln, of which 40% will be provided by the government.

“This will be the first time that government spending will be made for pipeline infrastructure. It is expected that this project would be completed in next 2-3 years,” said Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas.

It is estimated that India would need an additional 10 million cubic meters a day of natural gas once the pipeline is completed by 2019.

The gas distribution network will provide clean cooking fuel at the door step of 12.5 million domestic households alone. It will ensure the availability of natural gas to the industrial, commercial, domestic and transport sectors in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.

India recently launched the #Gas4India campaign, aimed at promoting the use of gas in the country. India is working to increase the share of gas in the country’s energy basket from the present 6.5% to 15% by year 2019.

India is building three new LNG terminals and has entered into long term contracts and acquired assets abroad to ensure the unhindered supply of gas at reasonable prices.

Your Time Is Up “Professor” Wadhams

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | September 17, 2016

image

Time’s up, so-called Professor Wadhams. It is now exactly four years ago that you forecast the demise of Arctic sea ice this summer… continue

NYTimes & Zika: a brief case study on climate change hype

By David Wojick | Climate Etc. | September 20, 2016

The folks who make their living by hyping the supposed threat of runaway global warming use a lot of scary language in the process. Here the ever creative New York Times has set what may be a new standard in scary climate change hype, by tying it to the Zika outbreak.

In our Framework Analysis of Federal Funding-induced Biases we point to the press exaggerating unproven scientific hypotheses that support government policies. Policies that depend on scaring people are especially subject to this kind of press bias. The NYT has provided a fine example of this sort of scientific distortion, one that is worth analyzing to see just how the game is played. Not surprisingly, they do this in what they call a “Science” article.

It begins with this ever so scary headline: In Zika Epidemic, a Warning on Climate Change

Zika itself is pretty scary, so that sets the stage. They then combine this with “epidemic” and “a Warning on Climate Change.” So instead of unsubstantiated possibilities we now have warnings and threats. This is a rhetorical flourish that we have not seen before, especially warnings.

Note that most people will only read this headline, which contains no science whatsoever. They will be told, falsely, that the Zika outbreak is a warning of a supposed climate change threat.

Beyond the scary headline, the article itself is a study in rhetorical structure. … continue

Anti-Palestine Media Bias Remains Untouchable Even to Canada’s Media Critics

By Yves Engler | September 23, 2016

Media coverage of world affairs mostly focuses on Ottawa/Washington’s perspective. While the dominant media is blatant in its subservience to Canadian/Western power, even independent media is often afraid to challenge the foreign policy status quo.

A recent Canadaland podcast simultaneously highlighted anti-Palestinian media bias and the fear liberal journalists’ face in discussing one of the foremost social justice issues of our time. The media watchdog’s discussion of the Green Party’s recent resolutions supporting Palestinian rights started strong with Canadaland publisher Jesse Brown laying out three “facts”:

  • In an editorial titled “[Elizabeth] May must renounce anti-Israel resolutions” the Vancouver Sun (reposted on the Ottawa Citizen and Calgary Herald websites) called Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) “an anti-Israel group that uses the fig leaf of Jewishness to lend support to Iran, deny the Holocaust, participate in anti-Semitic Al-Quds protests, encourage terrorism against Israelis and promulgate lies about Israel’s history, society and policies.” When IJV sent a letter threatening libel action Postmedia removed the editorial from its websites.
  • A B’nai B’rith article described left-wing news outlet Rabble.ca as a “racist, white supremacist and antisemitic website”, which they erased after a media inquiry.
  • Not one of a “couple dozen” reports examined about the Green Party resolution calling for “the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions (BDS) that are targeted to those sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories]” quoted a supporter of the successful motion.

Instead of seriously considering these “facts”, one Canadaland panellist partially justified suppressing Green Party voices favouring the BDS resolution and opposed talking about pro-Zionist media coverage because it contributes to stereotypes of Jewish control over the media. Diverting further from his “facts”, Brown bemoaned anti-Semitism and how Israel/Palestine debates rarely lead to agreement while another panellist mocked people from small towns who express an opinion on the subject. Aired on dozens of community radio stations across the country, the episode ended with a comment about how people shouldn’t protest those killed by Israel if they don’t take a position on the conflict between “North and South Sudan”. … continue

Facebook bans pro-Palestinian pages

Palestinian Information Center – September 23, 2016

GAZA – Facebook administration has banned a large number of pro-Palestinian pages and accounts including Hamas-affiliated pages.

The Facebook administration closed over the past few hours several pro-Palestinian pages and accounts, some of which were banned for the tenth time.

A number of online activists accused the administration of online social networking service Facebook of deliberately suspending their accounts to silence the pro-Palestinian pages. Other Hamas members and activists have also voiced similar complaints.

The activists stressed that they never wrote anything on the banned pages that could violate Facebook’s rules.

Filastin al-Hiwar Facebook page which has over 145,000 followers, has also been abruptly suspended by Facebook.

Over the past few days, two Israeli government ministers met top Facebook officials to discuss ways of collaboration between the two parties. The Israeli ministers and Facebook officials have agreed to work together to determine “how to tackle incitement on the social media network,” according to an Israeli newspaper.

White Helmets Deceive “Right Livelihood” and CodePink

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | September 23, 2016

Manipulation of public perception has risen to a new level with the emergence of powerful social media. Facebook, Twitter and Google are multibillion dollar corporate giants hugely influencing public understanding.  Social media campaigns include paid ‘boosting’ of Facebook posts, paid promotion of Tweets, and biased results from search engines. Marketing and advertising companies use social media to promote their clients.  U.S. foreign policy managers hire these companies to influence public perception to support U.S. foreign policy goals. For example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made sure that Twitter was primed for street protests in Iran following the 2009 election. She insured that Twitter was ready to spread and manage news of protests following the election and strange killing of a young woman. (p 423, Hard Choices hardback).

The results of media manipulation can be seen in the widespread misunderstanding of the conflict in Syria. One element of propaganda around Syria is the demonization of the Syrian government and leadership. Influenced by the mainstream and much alternative media, most in the West do not know that Bashar al Assad is popular with most Syrians. There were three contestants in the Syrian presidential election of June 2014. Turnout was 73% of the registered voters, with 88% voting for Assad.  In Beirut, the streets were clogged with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees marching through the city to vote at the Syrian Embassy. Hundreds of Syrian citizens from the USA and other western countries flew to Syria to vote because Syrian Embassies in Washington and other western capitals were shut down. While John Kerry was condemning the Syrian election as a “farce” before it had even happened, a marketing company known as The Syria Campaign waged a campaign to block knowledge of the Syrian election.  Along with demonizing President Assad, they launched a campaign which led to Facebook censoring information about the Syrian election.

The Syria Campaign was created by a larger company named “Purpose”. According to their own website they “incubated” The Syria Campaign. … continue

Al Saud strategic partner of Israel, West in Mideast: Iran official

Press TV – September 23, 2016

A senior Iranian official has slammed Western double standards in dealing with Saudi crimes against Muslim nations, saying Riyadh serves as the “strategic partner” of the West and Israel in the region.

The West’s all-out support has encouraged the Saudis to step up their atrocities across the region, said Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani on Friday.

“Today, the government which is the root cause of Muslim killings in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, serves as the strategic ally of the West and Israel in the region, leaving a big question mark over fake US claims about human rights,” he added. … Full article

The US Attack near Deir ez-Zor as Seen from the Middle East

By Yuriy Zinin – New Eastern Outlook – September 23, 2016

“The American bombing in Deir ez-Zor, pieces of evidence and responses”, “An outrageous back stab”, “What is behind the American onslaught?” – those are the headlines one could run across while looking through the Middle Eastern media sources on the recent raid of the international coalition led by the United States against the position of the Syrian armed forces in the above mentioned city.

The deaths of dozens of Syrian soldiers sparked a wave of harsh criticism of Washington across the region. Some Arab commentators have rejected the official interpretation of the attacks as a “fatal error” of the US Air Force, that was allegedly trying to hit ISIS. Instead, they are drawing attention to a number of crucial details of the events that have been unfolding in Syria.

Thus, according to the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, before that fatal attack neither the United States nor the international coalition forces made any attempts to bomb this area that was largely occupied by ISIS. This also remains true when we are to take a look at the other areas of Syria, where radical militants are occupying large chunks of territories in a bid to push the government forces back.

And even before the latest bombardment, Syrian troops have repeatedly come under fire of the so-called US-led coalition back in September 2014.

The latest attack is being perceived by the above-mentioned newspaper through Washington’s desires to put an end to a string of successful advancements of the Syrian forces, who have recently recaptured the city of Palmyra with the extensive amount of support provided by Russia’s aircraft. For putting an end to the Deir ez-Zor advancement, the United States added fuel to the fire of armed clashes in the north of the country, especially in the Aleppo area.

The US has been trying push the Syrian army forces back, preventing Damascus from using its oil and economic resources in the east of the country.

The attempts to squeeze the Syrian army out of the areas in the east corresponds with a number of previously announced scenarios. Like the project of the deceased Saudi King Abdullah to unite the nomadic Arab tribes in the border triangle of Syria, Iraq and Jordan and subject them to the Saudi rule. It would go in direct correspondence with the creation of a Sunni controlled area in the Iraqi Anbar province and a number of Syrian territories too. … continue

French mayor wants to kick all terror list suspects out of town

RT | September 23, 2016

A mayor of the French town of Évreux has come up with a radical suggestion to evict all the potentially dangerous individuals tracked by police out of town. The proposal comes after the official’s request to reveal the names on the watchlist had been rejected.

Guy Lefranc, the head of the town, located in Normandy, says he initially demanded information on all the people on the “Fiche S” list living in Évreux. The “Fiche S” is an indicator used by French police to mark people considered to be a threat to national security.

Lefranc contacted the local prefect, saying that the safety of the town’s residents was at stake and having such information at his disposal would help to tighten security. … continue

Police use of social media surveillance software is escalating, and activists are in the digital crosshairs

By Nicole Ozer | ACLU | September 22, 2016

It goes without saying that speaking out against police violence or government overreach shouldn’t land you in a surveillance database. But it can, and it does.

The ACLU of California has received thousands of pages of public records revealing that law enforcement agencies across the state are secretly acquiring social media spying software that can sweep activists into a web of digital surveillance.

This set of public records requests is part of our ongoing work with community groups to shine a light on surveillance technologies and call for community control in decision-making around policing. Last year, we worked with local activists in Fresno to reveal that its police department was using a MediaSonar social media surveillance tool that boasted the capacity to identify so-called “threats to public safety” by monitoring hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter, #DontShoot, #ImUnarmed, #PoliceBrutality, and #ItsTimeforChange.

But we had a hunch that Fresno was not an isolated case.

So this summer, we requested records from 63 police departments, sheriffs, and district attorneys across California. And what we learned from the documents was alarming.

Of the responses we’ve received, 40% of the agencies (20 in total) have acquired social networking surveillance tools — many of them in the last year.

We found no evidence in the documents of any public notice, debate, community input, or lawmaker vote about use of this invasive surveillance.

And no agency produced a use policy that would limit how the tools were used and help protect civil rights and civil liberties.

The utter lack of transparency, accountability, and oversight is particularly troubling because social media surveillance software used by California law enforcement — tools like MediaSonar, X1 Social Discovery, and Geofeedia — are powerful. And our records from Fresno and several other communities reveal that some have been marketed in ways to target protesters. … continue

Syria no-fly zone beneficial to Takfiri militants: President Rouhani

Press TV – September 22, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ruled out the establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria, stressing that such a measure would merely complicate the ongoing crisis in the Arab country and strengthen foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants on the ground.

“A no-fly zone (in Syria) will benefit terrorists, who have everything except for military aircraft,” Rouhani said during a presser after his speech at the 71st United Nations General Assembly session in New York on Thursday.

“They have mortar shells, tanks, missiles and armored personnel carriers. They have cannons and artillery batteries but no warplanes. The creation of a no-fly zone is a not a right step. This is an ill-advised suggestion,” the Iranian president added.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that Russia and the Syrian government halt anti-terror flights over the Syrian battle zones in order to “restore credibility” to the efforts aimed at resolving the Arab country’s years-long crisis. … continue

Families of victims of enforced disappearances told they died in clashes with police

MEMO | September 22, 2016

A statement released today by The Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) said that cases of forced disappearance in Egypt “have become rampant” since the July 2013 coup.

The families of detainees killed after being forcibly disappeared are told they were never arrested in the first place, or that they died in clashes with the police. Many letters enquiring about victims’ whereabouts or fate go unanswered.

More than 65,000 Egyptians have been arbitrarily arrested for opposing the military regime and most of them have been forcibly disappeared for longer than 24 hours. Many detainees have appeared before the public prosecutor on fabricated criminal charges after being tortured and forced to confess. Others are still held in custody without charge.

More than 37 Egyptians have been missing for longer than 3 years following their arrest in the aftermath of the July 2013 military coup, say AOHR UK.

AOHR UK blames the rise of forced disappearance cases on “the culture of impunity in Egypt” and “the complicity of the international community which has chosen to turn a blind eye to these crimes instead of pressuring the Egyptian regime to put an end to these violations”.

Israeli-Canadian Thought Police Take Aim…. At Me

canada_israel_1262eBy Prof. Tony Hall | American Herald Tribune | September 21, 2016

In recent days I discovered that the Canadian branch of the Israeli-US-based Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith is reporting that I am “well known for using academic credentials to deny the Holocaust.” On August 29, Daniel Leons-Marder mirrored the Canadian B’nai Brith report under the title, Facebook Allows “Kill All Jews” Post on Wall of Canadian Professor. In an item Leons-Marder claims has been shared 11,000 times, he asserted “B’nai Brith Canada reported the image, which was ruled acceptable [by Facebook] within two hours, when it was alerted to it having been posted on the Facebook page of Canadian Academic Professor Anthony Hall, who is a holocaust denier.” … continue

23 Palestinians detained, dozens of houses ordered to be demolished in Jerusalem raids

Ma’an – September 22, 2016

JERUSALEM – Israeli forces carried out a massive detention raids into Palestinian communities in Jerusalem before dawn on Thursday for the second day in a row, detaining at least 23 Palestinians and assaulting locals — including a minor, while demolition orders were delivered to dozens of Palestinian homes during raids on Wednesday.

Israeli forces raided the Shufat refugee camp in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank as well as the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, located just south of Shufat beyond Israel’s separation wall.

Israeli forces reportedly raided Shufat from several entrances and were deployed throughout the refugee camp’s narrow streets as a helicopter flew overhead.

The raids sparked clashes between youths of the camp and Israeli forces. … continue

Israeli forces expand Beit Ummar military watchtower, narrowing main street

Ma’an – September 22, 2016

396758cHEBRON – Israeli forces reopened the northern entrance to the village of Beit Ummar north of Hebron City on Thursday, after the road had been closed by Israeli authorities for four days to carry out maintenance work on an Israeli military watchtower stationed there.

Local activist Muhammad Ayad Awad said that the maintenance work expanded the military watchtower and narrowed the street, which is the main entrance to the village, to one lane instead of two lanes as before.

He said that the development will have a negative impact on the daily lives of Beit Ummar’s residents, forcing them to live under continuous Israeli surveillance and increase traffic congestion in the village.

Awad added that Israeli forces continued the closure of a sub-entrance near the village’s central vegetable market, which he said has been closed for five years.

The road was closed amid a heightened Israeli military presence in the Hebron district in the wake of a number of alleged attacks committed by Palestinians in the area, with the Israeli army adding an additional battalion to the district and setting up several road blocks throughout the district, while blocking off the village of Bani Naim and the Old City’s Tel Rumeida area entirely.

Hamas should be removed from EU terror list: Lawyer

Press TV – September 22, 2016

A top European Union lawyer says Hamas should be dropped from the bloc’s blacklist, citing lack of concrete evidence showing the involvement of the Palestinian resistance movement in alleged terrorist activities.

Eleanor Sharpston, an advocate general at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), urged on Thursday the removal of both Hamas and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Sri Lankan rebel group, from the EU terror list.

The EU “cannot rely on facts and evidence found in press articles and information from the internet, rather than in decisions of competent authorities, to support a decision to maintain a listing,” Sharpston said.

In 2001, the EU adopted regulations to combat terrorism. Under the rules, the bloc imposed travel bans and asset freezes against Hamas and the LTTE. … continue