MEMO | March 8, 2014
The Israeli water company Jihon said on Friday that 80,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem have been without water for more than three days.
In a statement Jihon said: “About 80,000 Palestinians in four Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem and its outskirts have been suffering from complete loss of water for three days.”
The Israeli company said that it would like to supply water for all consumers in Jerusalem, including Jewish and Arab citizens, but the water infrastructure in the Arab areas is decaying. It also said that the increasing number of inhabitants contributes to the problem.
Meanwhile, the Arab inhabitants at the Palestinian refugee camps of Su’fat, RasKhamis and Ras Shihadeh, as well as Al-Salam Suburb, said they have been suffering from a complete water shortage for several days.
The residents said in a statement issued on Saturday that tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and citizens in the three residential gatherings in Jerusalem have been without water since the beginning of last week. … continue
By Dan Beeton | CEPR | March 7, 2014
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro made news this week by breaking off relations with Panama following Panama’s proposal for the Organization of American States (OAS) to take up the situation in Venezuela. Panama’s move followed weeks of calls from members of the U.S. Congress, pundits and others to use the OAS against the Maduro government for supposed government repression of “peaceful” protesters. … continue
By Carrie Peters | CPTnet | March 7, 2014
According to reports by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), there are roughly 600 known cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, many of them unsolved. Loretta Saunders, an Inuit woman from Labrador whose family reported her missing on 13 February 2014, is one of the latest. The RCMP discovered her body along a New Brunswick highway on 26 February. That Saunders was in the middle of finishing her PhD in Halifax— on Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women—makes her death particularly harrowing, yet each of these women’s deaths is reprehensible.
CPT attended the ninth Annual Strawberry Ceremony honoring missing and murdered Indigenous women on 14 February, when over 200 people gathered at the downtown Toronto police headquarters for a rally and march. Many individuals in the crowd held up signs bearing names, dates, and occasionally photos. … continue
By Laurel Krause, Co-founder and Director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal | ACLU | March 7, 2014
On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard fired between 61 and 67 shots into a crowd of unarmed anti-war protestors at Kent State University in Ohio, killing four students and wounding nine others. My 19-year-old sister, Allison Krause, was one of four students shot to death by the Ohio National Guard in the parking lot of her university campus as she protested the Vietnam War. I was 15 years old at the time.
It has been 44 years, and the U.S. government still refuses to admit that it participated in the killing of four young students at Kent State. There has not been a credible, independent, impartial investigation into Kent State. No group or individual has been held accountable. In 2010, after undeniable forensic evidence emerged pointing to direct U.S. government involvement in the killings, Emily Kunstler and I founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT). Our hope was to finally receive a full account of the tragic events and to see that the victims and their families receive redress. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice refused to reopen the case, claiming there were “insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers.”
But justice for Allison doesn’t have to end there. To that end, we are traveling to Geneva, Switzerland, next week to demand accountability for the Kent State massacre before the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which will be reviewing U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), one of the few human rights treaties ratified by the United States. … continue
CIA: We Only Spied On Senate Intelligence Committee Because They Took Classified Documents That Prove We’re Liars
By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | March 7, 2014
Earlier this week, we wrote about the accusations that the CIA was spying on Senate staffers on the Senate Intelligence Committee as they were working on a massive $40 million, 6,300-page report condemning the CIA’s torture program. The DOJ is apparently already investigating if the CIA violated computer hacking laws in spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee computers. The issue revolved around a draft of an internal review by the CIA, which apparently corroborates many of the Senate report’s findings — but which the CIA did not hand over to the Senate. This internal report not only supports the Senate report’s findings, but also shows that the CIA has been lying in response to questions about the terror program.
In response to all of this, it appears that the CIA is attempting, weakly, to spin this as being the Senate staffers’ fault, arguing that the real breach was the fact that the Senate staffers somehow broke the rules in obtaining that internal review. CIA boss John Brennan’s statement hints at the fact that he thinks the real problem was with the way the staffers acted, suggesting that an investigation would fault “the legislative” branch (the Senate) rather than the executive (the CIA). … continue
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he did not commit to freezing settlement construction during his meeting with US President Barack Obama and that he will reject any agreement with the Palestinians that does not meet Israel’s security needs.
Israel Radio quoted Netanyahu on Friday, on his way back to Israel, telling Israeli journalists that he considered extending the negotiating period between the Israelis and Palestinians in US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework agreement unlikely to make a difference for the Israeli coalition government, as most of its members reject the idea of establishing a Palestinian state.
He added that he will reject any agreement with the Palestinians that “does not meet Israel’s needs and poses a threat to its security, even if there are attempts to impose such an agreement on Israel.”
Netanyahu refused the possibility of unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank territories if the negotiations fail, stating that he does not prefer this possibility and that “the unilateral withdrawals (from south Lebanon and the Gaza Strip) have not justified themselves nor did they provide security stability for Israel”.
Netanyahu returned to Israel today following his visit to the US which started on Sunday in which he met with Obama in the White House and gave a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Tuesday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced, while receiving a delegation from the Israeli left-wing party Meretz a few days ago, that he is not opposed to extending the negotiations period, but demands that settlement construction is suspended and prisoners are released.
RAMALLAH — Dozens of Jewish settlers attacked a group of journalists on Friday afternoon while they were covering clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli occupation forces near the Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah.
According to the PIC reporter, the settlers threw stones at the car of journalist Abbas Momani, AFP’s photographer, causing him minor injuries and smashing his car’s windows.
PIC’s correspondent added that the occupation soldiers arrived at the place to protect the settlers who, at gunpoint, tried to prevent the journalists from filming the attacks.
For his part, Momani said that a group of over 20 settlers attacked him, in the presence of the occupation military forces, who did nothing to stop the attack.
Al-Akhbar | March 7, 2014
Yedioth Ahronoth said the European delegation had hoped to evaluate the prisoners’ conditions.
The paper reported that Elmar Brok, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the European Parliament, had asked Israel’s ambassador to the EU to arrange a visit for the delegation.
But Lieberman responded by saying Israel would only allow such a visit if the EU would let an Israeli delegation visit prisons in Europe. … continue
HEBRON – An Israeli military vehicle on Saturday hit a Palestinian girl in the southern West Bank, injuring her seriously, a local spokesman said.
Nidal al-Haddar, spokesman for Yatta’s popular committee, told Ma’an that an Israeli military jeep hit 14-year-old Samirah Tawfiq Awad during a protest in Yatta.
Samirah was transferred to a nearby hospital, where medics said she had sustained serious injuries. … Full article
RT | March 8, 2014
US Navy destroyer, the USS Truxtun, has crossed Turkey’s Bosphorus and entered the Black Sea. With the Crimea Peninsula getting ready to hold a referendum on independence from Ukraine in a week, the US is ramping up its military presence in the region.
USS Truxton is heading to “previously planned” training exercises with the Bulgarian and Romanian navies, AFP reported earlier. At the same time, Fox News declared that NATO’s bolstering presence in the Black Sea is a “defensive” measure to counter “Russian military aggression” in Ukraine. … continue
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told his US counterpart on Friday that any sanctions introduced by the US against Russia will have a “boomerang” effect and urged Washington to steer away from actions that could hurt relations between the countries.
Lavrov told Washington to refrain from “hasty and reckless” decisions over Ukraine that would deteriorate US-Russia relations, RIA Novosti reported. His comments were made during a telephone call with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The foreign minister warned that any sanctions against Russia “would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang.”
On Thursday, the US imposed visa restrictions on Russian and Crimean officials and private citizens who they accused of “threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty and integrity,” the White House said.
US President Barack Obama signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against “individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine.”
According to the White House, the order is a “flexible tool” that will allow the US to sanction those whom it believes are “most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea.” The document does not preclude further steps in case the situation deteriorates, it added. … Full article
RT | March 4, 2014
US lawmakers are already threatening Russia with economic sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine. Trade, business, investment, and G8 membership closely link the Russian, American and European economies.
While the West is considering going down the ‘sanction road’, here’s a look at what’s at stake for the markets. … continue
Robert Holleyman in the Seat
By Binoy Kampmark | Dissident Voice | March 6, 2014
The machinery to dominate global intellectual property by American fiat was further tightened by the announcement of Robert Holleyman as deputy US trade representative. President Obama’s announcement is just another reminder of what sources of inspiration are governing the drive by Washington to control the downloading and dissemination of information via the Trans-Pacific Partnership. After all, Holleyman was a former lobbyist of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the bill introduced by US Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R-Tx) to gift US law enforcement authorities with the means to combat copyright infringements.
Indeed, Holleyman’s own blurb as an author for The Huffington Post considers him as “one of the 50 most influential people in the intellectual property world”, an individual who “was instrumental in putting into place the global policy framework that today protects software under copyright law.” Such is the nature of mislabelled internationalism – Washington’s policy by another name.
Holleyman has also been heavily involved as a former president of the Business Software Alliance, a body representing the main software vendors including Apple, IBM, and Microsoft. Through the consortium, Holleyman unintentionally put the problems of SOPA, and its sister legislation, PROTECT-IP, in the bright spotlight. He found himself fighting, at least for a time, a losing battle. Protest against them was extensive, with January 18, 2012 featuring the “largest online protest in history”. Congress took heed, shelving the bills. The vendors pondered the next move. … continue
By Glyn Moody | Techdirt | March 7, 2014
One of the key themes to emerge in the debate about surveillance is the oversight of the agencies involved, and to what extent it is effective. In the US, that has been put into stark relief by news that the committee that is supposed to keep an eye on the spies was itself spied upon. And now over in the UK, we learn that things are just as bad when it comes to the equivalent oversight body, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). Its powers sound impressive:
The Tribunal can investigate complaints about any alleged conduct by, or on behalf of, the Intelligence Services – the Security Service (sometimes called MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (sometimes called MI6) and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters).
The scope of conduct the IPT can investigate concerning the Intelligence Agencies is much broader than it is with regard to the other public authorities. The IPT is the only Tribunal to whom complaints about the Intelligence Services can be directed
Unfortunately, the IPT’s credibility as the public’s watchdog for the intelligence services has just been seriously undermined by the following information … continue
JERUSALEM – Israeli forces detained a Palestinian lawyer from Jerusalem while he was visiting an Israeli prison on Thursday.
The head of the committee of Jerusalem prisoners’ families Amjad Abu Asab said that Israeli forces detained Amjad al-Safadi as he was visiting Hadarim prison on Thursday.
He added that Israeli forces also raided Amjad al-Safadi’s house on Thursday evening and confiscated a computer and several documents.
Abu Asab also said that the detention of Shireen and Shadi Issawi, two activists who were detained in raids in East Jerusalem on Thursday, had been extended for another 24 hours.
Shireen, who is a prominent lawyer, and Shadi are siblings of former prisoner Samer Issawi. … Full article
QALQILIYA – Israeli forces on Friday afternoon detained a young man while he was planting an olive sapling east of Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, locals said.
Alaa Issa al-Dweiri, 20, was detained and taken to an unknown destination while he was participating in a campaign to plant olive saplings on Palestinian lands in Izbet at Tabib under threat of confiscation by Israeli authorities.
Head of the village’s local council Bayan al-Tabib demanded the release of al-Dweiri and called upon international organization to help secure his release. … Full article
RAMALLAH – Fatah central committee member Mohammad Ishtayyeh said on Thursday that the Palestinian Authority had attempted to negotiate the return of Palestinian refugees from Syria, but Israel had refused. [...]
At least 1,500 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing Syria conflict, and around 250,000 Palestinian refugees have been forced to leave their homes in Syria due to violence in the country.
Prior to the conflict, 600,000 Palestinian refugees lived in Syria. … Full article
Suspected Syrian rebels launched four rockets into East Lebanon on Friday, causing no casualties, state news reported.
Lebanon’s National News Agency said the rockets struck the northern Bekaa towns of al-Ain, al-Nabi Othman and Labwe.
Jihadist groups al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility for rocket attacks on Lebanon earlier this week.
At least four people were injured in attacks Monday that landed around the Bekaa town of Britel. … Full article
Obama Worse Than Reagan
By Steve Breyman | CounterPunch | March 6, 2014
Heads-up, veterans of the nuclear freeze movement in the US, the anti-Euromissile campaigns in Western Europe, and the various anti-nuclear weapons efforts in New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Incoming.
We spent much of the eighties resisting Ronald Reagan’s new Cold War, and his new nuclear weapons of all shapes and sizes. We pushed back against his giant ‘defense’ budgets and countered his harrowing rhetoric. We knew Star Wars was a scam, and the MX missile a danger. We grimaced at his appointments to key policymaking positions, and scoffed at his insincere arms control efforts.
In the end, we prevailed (after a sort). … continue
By Norman Solomon | War is a Crime | March 7, 2014
At a private charity event on Tuesday, in comments preserved on audio, Hillary Clinton talked about actions by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in the Crimea. “Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s,” she said.
The next day, Clinton gave the inflammatory story more oxygen when speaking at UCLA. She “largely stood by the remarks,” the Washington Post reported. Clinton “said she was merely noting parallels between Putin’s claim that he was protecting Russian-speaking minorities in Crimea and Hitler’s moves into Poland, Czechoslovakia and other parts of Europe to protect German minorities.”
Clinton denied that she was comparing Putin with Hitler even while she persisted in comparing Putin with Hitler. “I just want people to have a little historic perspective,” she said. “I’m not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.” … continue
By Mark Almond | CroixBlog | March 6, 2014
The current imbroglio over Crimea may be America’s first crisis with Russia in the Black Sea, but it is not Britain’s. Even the Crimean War (1854-56) was not Britain’s first face-off with Russia. … continue
By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | March 6, 2014
Legally, Washington and its European allies haven’t a leg to stand on. Both can be rightly accused of violating international law from their gross interference in Ukrainian sovereign affairs – from the instigation of violent street protests that led to the sacking of an elected president and government, to the subsequent climate of lawlessness and fear sweeping across Ukraine and felt in particular by the majority Russian ethnic population in the east and south of the country. … continue
The US is imposing visa restrictions on Russian and Crimean officials and private citizens who they accuse of “threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty and integrity,” the White House says.
American President Barack Obama has signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against “individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine.” [...]
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia on Sunday that “all options are on the table,” echoing Obama’s statement last week about “costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” [...]
Meanwhile, in an attempt to heap further pressure on Moscow, NATO announced on Wednesday a full review of its cooperation with Russia and said that it would suspend planning for a joint mission linked to the Syrian chemical weapons. … Read full article
By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | March 5, 2014
Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok have published a new report on climate sensitivity.
The title of the report is “A sensitive matter: How the IPCC buried evidence showing good news about global warming.” The report is published by the GWPF. The long version of the report is found [here]; a short version is found [here].
Homeland Security Detained US Citizen Inside The US, Used Intercepted Emails To Quiz Her About Her Sex Life
By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | March 6, 2014
Just recently, we wrote about how the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has been increasingly detaining and harassing people at the border (or near the border) under highly questionable circumstances — and then refusing to comment on any of it. Instead, CBP has relied on a cloak of secrecy to live outside the law, acting out what we’ve come to expect from authoritarian police states. Recently, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman, Christine Von Der Haar, who is a senior lecturer at Indiana University, after CBP detained her at the airport.
She was not entering or leaving the country. She was not even boarding a flight. She merely accompanied a friend to the airport so that he could retrieve some computer equipment that he had shipped separately a few days earlier. After detaining Von Der Haar, CBP officials, who clearly had access to some of the emails Von Der Haar and her friend had sent back and forth, quizzed her about her sex life and if she was planning to marry the friend. … continue
The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved on Wednesday a bill that would enhance US-Israel defence ties and waived US entrance visa for Israelis.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Ted Deutch initiated the bill as they are the top two members on the committee’s Middle East subcommittee; they strongly supported the bill, which was unanimously approved.
The bill named Israel a “major strategic ally” of the United States. It included measures that would encourage enhanced cooperation such as missile development, energy and security. No other state has ever got this status.
US weapons reserve stockpiled in Israel are to be expanded according to this bill.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said this bill would “dramatically strengthen the relationship between the two allies as they work to confront new threats and challenges in the Middle East.” … Full article
An Iranian deputy foreign minister has rejected Israel’s allegation that Tehran has sent missiles to the blockaded Gaza Strip.
The allegation that a ship boarded from Iran en route to Gaza with advanced rockets is basically unfounded, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday.
In Gaza, Palestinian resistance movements of Hamas and Islamic Jihad also rejected the accusation.
Hamas Interior Ministry called the Israeli claim a dangerous move aimed at justifying the seven-year blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Israel earlier claimed that its naval forces had raided a ship in the Red Sea and seized dozens of rockets from Iran destined for Hamas in Gaza. … Full article
Green Left Weekly | March 5, 2014
Federico Fuentes provides answers to common questions about recent events in Venezuela. Key facts are referenced, largely from media outlets that could not be identified as pro-government. … continue
RT | March 6, 2014
The self-proclaimed government in Kiev is reportedly planning to cut pensions by 50 percent as part of unprecedented austerity measures to save Ukraine from default. With an “empty treasury”, reduction of payments might take place in March.
According to the draft document obtained by Kommersant-Ukraine, social payments will be the first to be reduced.
“The Finance Ministry has prepared a plan for optimizing budget expenditures, which implies budget sequestration is to be in force before the end of March. For this purpose, in particular, it has been proposed to reduce capital costs, eliminate tax schemes and preferences and to cut social benefits, for example, 50 percent of pensions to working pensioners,” Kommersant-Ukraine reported. … continue
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton has likened President Putin’s stance on Ukraine to tactics used by Hitler in the 1930s. Clinton claims Russia is trying to “re-Sovietize” it neighbors in a move that “threatens [the] peace of Europe.”
In her first public statement on the situation in Ukraine, Clinton criticized the Russian president over his policy of protection of minorities in Ukraine as a guise for intervention. Targeting alleged Russia’s decision to issue passports to citizens in Crimea, Clinton compared the move to tactics adopted by Adolf Hitler.
“That is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s, when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia and elsewhere throughout Europe,” she said at a private event… Full article
By Rodrigue Tremblay | The People’s Voice | March 5, 2014
[NATO's goal is] to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.
— Hastings Ismay, first NATO Secretary-General
Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.
— James Madison (1751-1836), fourth American President
The hazards associated with American foreign policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 should appear obvious to all, because it is precisely this policy that has caused the crisis in Ukraine with all its negative consequences for the coming months and years.
President Barack Obama was candid in admitting it on March 3, 2014: “we are indicating to the Russians [that] if in fact they continue on the current trajectory they’re on, then we are examining a whole series of steps — economic, diplomatic— that will isolate Russia.”
Well, it is precisely this desire to expand NATO and to isolate Russia by incorporating all the countries bordering Russia into NATO; i.e., a strategy of geopolitical and military encirclement of Russia, which has provoked that country when it felt threatened in its national security. … continue
A referendum on the status of Crimea will be held March 16, the region’s deputy prime minister announced. Crimeans will be asked to decide if the autonomous republic stays part of Ukraine or joins Russia.
“The referendum will take place March 16,” said the autonomous region’s First Deputy-Premier Rustam Temirgaliev, according to ITAR-TASS.
The new date is two weeks earlier than the one announced last week.
There will be two questions on the ballots.
“The first one: Are you in favor of Crimea becoming a constituent territory of the Russian Federation. The second one: Are you in favor of restoring Crimea’s 1992 constitution,” Temirgaliev said.
According to the 1992 constitution, the autonomous republic is part of Ukraine but has relations with Kiev, defined on the basis of mutual agreements. … Full article
March – 2014
February – 2014