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US intel agencies behind Berlin’s U-turn on Chinese takeover of German firm – report

RT | October 27, 2016

US intelligence has compelled Berlin to stop a $730 million Chinese acquisition of a Germany-based tech company over alleged concerns that its high-end products had “military applications” and might benefit Beijing’s nuclear program, Handelsblatt reports.

The German Economy Ministry announced on Monday that it had canceled its approval for China’s Grand Chip Investment Fund (FGC) to purchase the Aachen-based high-tech company Aixtron for $732 million (€670 million), citing “security-related information” that emerged. A review of the deal is pending.

US secret services were behind the unexpected decision, Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Thursday, citing sources within the German intelligence community.

According to the report, during a meeting at the US embassy in Berlin, American officers showed German government officials evidence that Aixtron’s technology also has “military applications,” although they had refused to hand the evidence over. […]

Meanwhile, Argonaut Capital, the largest shareholder in the Aixtron, said Berlin’s decision to review the agreed takeover by Chinese investment fund Fujian Grand Chip has been “irresponsible,” according to Reuters.

Argonaut CEO Barry Norris said it was based on “highly-dubious allegations.”

Norris said the “protectionist posturing over Chinese investment would seem utterly irresponsible for Aixtron’s stakeholders… and set an alarmingly arbitrary precedent for future government interference in EU financial markets.” – Full article

‘Space Wars are Likely in the Future’ as US, Russia Developing Satellite Weapons

Sputnik – 27.10.2016

Russia has long opposed the militarization of space. If the United States keeps ignoring Moscow’s calls on the issue the risk of a military confrontation in space could significantly increase. […]

In 2008, the Russian and Chinese governments proposed an international agreement to prevent the deployment of weapons in outer space but the US government under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama has consistently rejected launching negotiations to conclude such a treaty.

Before Barack Obama became president, during his presidential campaign, he called for talks with Russia on anti-satellite weapons which started back in the 1970s but then was terminated by Washington. However, no progress has been made on the issue. … Read full article

Russia to eliminate all its chemical weapons by end 2017

Press TV – October 27, 2016

Russia says it plans to annihilate all of its remaining chemical weapons by the end of next year, a year earlier than previously scheduled.

Colonel General Valery Kapashin, who is the head of Russia’s Federal Department for the Safe Storage and Destruction of Chemical Weapons, said on Thursday that a decision had been made to eliminate the country’s chemical stockpiles by December 2017, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

The report added that the destruction was to be carried out at only one facility, near the settlement of Kizner in Udmurtia, located in western Russia.

Back in August, Kapashin had declared that some 94 percent of the country’s chemical weapon stocks had been eliminated.

In April, the official announced that over 37,000 tons of chemical warfare agents, around 93 percent of the stocks, had been destroyed to date, promising that Russia would “get rid of” the remaining stock by December 2018. … continue

NATO Deploys Thousands More Troops on Russian Border

teleSUR – October 26, 2016

NATO members announced Wednesday that they are preparing for a large-scale military buildup near Russia’s borders, the biggest since the Cold War.

NATO allies say they are preparing to deploy the new forces in the Baltics and eastern Europe to respond to nearly 330,000 Russian troops believed to be stationed across Western Russia.

The U.S. Britain, Germany and Canada are scheduled to send four battalions of nearly 4,000 troops each to Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia starting early next year. The four battle groups will be supported by a 40,000-strong rapid reaction force. … Full article

US Calls on NATO Allies to Vote Against UN Anti-Nuclear Resolution

Sputnik – 26.10.2016

The United States urged its NATO allies to vote against the UN General Assembly’s draft resolution calling for the initiation of negotiations on nuclear weapons prohibition and to ignore the talks in case they started in 2017, local media reported Wednesday.

“The United States calls on all allies and partners to vote against negotiations on a nuclear weapons treaty ban, not to merely abstain. In addition, if negotiations do commence, we ask allies and partners to refrain from joining them,” a letter obtained by the Kyodo news agency on Tuesday said.

The letter is said to be dated October 17.

According to the news agency, in case of enforcement of the nuclear weapons ban treaty, it could have a “direct impact” on the US capability to implement its commitments on the NATO and Pacific deterrence, as well as on the US partners’ and allies’ possibilities to participate in joint operations with nuclear-weapon states.

Earlier in October, a draft UN resolution on launching negotiations on nuclear weapons ban was introduced by delegations from Australia and other non-nuclear-weapon states.

According to Kyodo, over 50 states expressed support for the initiative by the end of the previous week.

The draft resolution is expected to be submitted for confirmation this week in order to be considered by the General Assembly at the plenary meeting in December.

U.N. poll shows fighting climate change is a dead-last issue


By Thoms Richard | Blasting News | October 26, 2016

The United Nation’s yearly poll shows ‘action on climate change’ is the least troubling issue to Earth’s inhabitants. […]

That’s across all countries and groups, all genders, all education levels, and all age groups.

The U.N. poll is unique in that it records the views of millions of people from all countries and from all walks of life. … Full article

US Air Force already conducted 200 more Afghanistan strikes in 2016 than all of last year

RT | October 26, 2016

The number of US airstrikes in Afghanistan this year is already 200 more than that for 2015, as Islamic State expands and the Taliban continues to hold firm. The combat mission has been over since 2014 but the bombardment is only expected to increase, experts say.

Pulling out of Afghanistan was one of the selling points of President Barack Obama’s presidency. He had made the decision to end the costly and resource-draining presence of boots on the ground in 2014, but this was immediately followed by an escalation in hostilities, and Afghanistan has now become America’s longest war.

Furthermore, struggling Afghan forces have been unable to contain the Taliban – which now controls a third of the country, by varying estimates – much less the emerging threat of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Obama was then pressured to turn to airstrikes again as the prime means of combating the Islamist insurgents, going against earlier restrictions.

Meanwhile, 9,000 US troops are still on Afghan soil, and it’s unknown what their fate will be once a new US president is elected.

This year, 700 airstrikes were conducted between January 1 and October 20, according to military spokesman Brigadier General Charles Cleveland, Reuters reports. Last year the US conducted about 500 airstrikes. […]

And according the agency, a group of former US military commanders and ambassadors to Afghanistan wrote in their recommendations in October: “It will be important to ask if the relaxation of rules of engagement that President Obama provided to American/NATO forces in Afghanistan in 2016 should go further, allowing even more substantial use of their airpower against the Taliban.” … Full article

‘Venezuela opposition unable to overthrow Maduro’

Press TV – October 26, 2016

Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly has voted for impeaching President Nicolas Maduro accusing him for violating democracy. The anti-government vote came after the Supreme Court blocked the parliament’s plan to hold a referendum to try and recall President Maduro. The Venezuelan socialist government has dismissed the move as meaningless.

Lajos Szaszdi, a Latin America expert, told Press TV that President Maduro has the support of the Supreme Court, the security forces and people, as a result of which the National Assembly would not be able to remove President Maduro from power.

The executive branch of the government “has the upper hand” in the division of power in Venezuela; therefore, President Maduro will be able to survive attacks by the opposition, Szaszdi said.

The analyst went on to say that the president of Venezuela has control over police, security and military forces and “of course, there is a broad base of supporters,” and “there is no danger for his hold on power.” … continue

Israel arrests prominent Palestinian activist

MEMO | October 26, 2016

salah-552x330Israeli occupation forces at dawn yesterday arrested a prominent Palestinian activist and leader from Al-Mubadara (Palestine National Initiative), the party founded by Mustafa Barghouti.

Salah Khawaja was seized from his home in Ramallah and taken to an unknown location.

Barghouti, secretary-general of Al-Mubadara, condemned the detention.

The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee also denounced the arrest, calling it a “desperate attempt to oppress the popular struggle movement, which has become a major factor in exposing Israeli occupation and its crimes against the Palestinian people.”

Israel has stepped up its campaign to quash Palestinians and internationals who are speaking out against its occupation of Palestinian land.

Lights, camera, propaganda! US government anti-Russia campaign invades Hollywood

By Danielle Ryan | RT | October 26, 2016

For years the influence of the CIA in Hollywood was hidden and unacknowledged. Now it’s more of an open secret; not publicized, but pretty easy to read up on if you care. Just ask the spy agency’s Entertainment Industry Liaison.

Yes, such a thing really exists.

You see, the CIA’s man in Hollywood wants to help actors, authors, directors, producers and screenwriters “gain a better understanding” of the intelligence agency in order to ensure “accurate portrayals” of its activities. It even wants to help fire up the neurons and actually give you some good ideas if you’re coming up short in that department. Indeed, the CIA provides “inspiration for future storylines” and lists them on its website. Of course, it’s all in the interest of creating authentic and balanced portrayals of US intelligence agencies and the US military. And they’re quite busy, too. Between 2006 and 2011, the CIA public relations office had input into at least 22 film and movie projects. … continue

CNN Celebrates Iraqi Housewife Who ‘Beheaded and Then Cooked the Skulls of ISIS fighters’

Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | October 4, 2016

When Islamic State beheads someone it is terrorism. When an Iraqi housewife beheads an ISIS fighter and cooks his skull, it is freedom. That is the CNN doctrine.

cnnCNN reports the story of 39-year-old Wahida Mohamed aka Um Hanadi, an Iraqi woman who supposedly leads a tribal militia force of around 70 men south of Mosul. She and her band allegedly helped “government forces” drive Islamic State out of a small town.

“I began fighting the terrorists in 2004, working with Iraqi security forces and the coalition,” she told CNN. CNN cites no other source other than Um Hanadi herself and Facebook in its coverage.

As a result, Um Hanadi said, she attracted the wrath of what eventually became al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which later morphed into ISIS. “I received threats from the top leadership of ISIS, including from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself,” she says. “I’m at the top of their most wanted list, even more than the [Iraqi] Prime Minister.”

Um Hanadi stated al Qaeda/AQI/ISIS planted car bombs outside her home in 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2014.

Along the way, her first husband was killed in action. She remarried, but ISIS killed her second husband. ISIS also killed her father and three brothers. They also killed, she added, her sheep, her dogs and her birds, and tried to otherwise assassinate her six times. … continue

It’s Time for Answers on Yahoo’s Email Scanning

By Kate Tummarello | EFF |October 25, 2016

You should know if the government thinks it can deputize your email provider to scan through your messages.

Like most people, we were shocked at reports earlier this month that Yahoo scanned its hundreds of millions of users’ emails looking for a digital signature on behalf of the government. We join millions of Yahoo users in wanting to know how this happened. […]

It’s crucial that Clapper follow through on his pledge for transparency and release information about how the U.S. government justified the email scanning under FISA, as has been reported. We need to know whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has interpreted FISA – which authorizes targeted surveillance of certain foreigners’ (such as spies or terrorists) communications  – to mean that the government can conscript Yahoo into mass surveillance of all of its users’ emails. … Read full article

Saudi political dissident dies after suspected torture in prison: Activists

Press TV – October 26, 2016

A human rights activist says a female Saudi opposition figure has died in jail after suffering suspected excessive levels of torture.

The director and founder of Washington-based Institute for [Persian] Gulf Affairs, Ali al-Ahmed, wrote on his Twitter account that Hannan al-Dhaibani had died in Zahban Prison, located 19 kilometers from the western Saudi port city of Jeddah, on October 10, Arabic-language New Khaleej news website reported.

Ahmed added that prison authorities then notified Dhaibani’s parents of her death and asked them to perform funeral prayers inside the detention facility.

The woman’s parents were only allowed to see their daughter’s face, before the dead body was transferred to an unknown location and buried there.

Dhaibani’s father and mother were also forced to sign a disclaimer stating that their daughter had died of natural causes.

Riyadh has long been criticized by international bodies for its grim human rights record, draconian restrictions on freedom of speech, and harsh punishments… Full article

Protest against Bahraini king’s visit to Downing Street halted by police

RT | October 26, 2016

The Kingdom of Bahrain’s authoritarian ruler King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa visited British Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street on Wednesday, despite outcry from human rights and anti-arms trade groups.

The Gulf regime is a close ally of both the UK and Saudi Arabia, as well as being a major UK arms customer, and is currently bearing much of the cost for building the Royal Navy’s new Mina Salman naval base.

Human rights groups have highlighted widespread abuses committed by Bahraini government forces against pro-democracy activists during the 2011 Arab Spring.

The king’s visit was met with protests by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, and Campaign against the Arms Trade (CAAT) on Wednesday afternoon. Two activists were escorted away by police. … continue

Guatemala Indicts Top Ex-Military Men for War Crimes and Rape

teleSUR | October 25, 2016

Marco Antonio Molina Theissen was kidnapped by the military in 1981 when he was 14 years old. His family never saw him again.

Guatemala made a new breakthrough Tuesday in the decades-old struggle for justice for historical crimes against humanity, including systematic rape, as a court indicted former military chief of staff Manuel Benedicto Lucas Garcia and four other high-ranking officials on a number of crimes linked to the 1981 kidnapping and disappearance of 14-year-old boy Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, including the torture and rape of his sister Emma Guadeloupe.

In the presence of Marco Antonio and Emma Guadeloupe’s mother, Emma Theissen de Molina, in the criminal court, Judge Victor Herrera Rios announced that all five former top military men were involved in crimes against humanity, forced disappearance, and aggravated rape. … continue

Obama should be investigated over Clinton’s emails: Trump

Press TV – October 26, 2016

obama-jail_240x172US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says President Barack Obama should be “investigated” over his role in Hillary Clinton’s private email scandal.

Trump said Tuesday that Obama knew about Clinton’s email arrangements while she served as secretary of state during the president’s first term in office from 2009 to 2013.

“That’s why he stuck up for Hillary, because he didn’t want to be dragged in. Because he knew all about her private server,” Trump told Reuters. “This means that he has to be investigated.”

The White House did not give any comments about Trump’s accusations, but Press Secretary Josh Earnest said earlier on Tuesday that Obama did not know where Clinton’s server had been located or other details, although he did have her personal email address. … continue

US Pressures EU to Tighten Sanctions Against Moscow as US-Russia Trade Grows

Sputnik – 26.10.2016

The President of the American Institute of Business and Economics in Moscow stated that US policy seeking to exert pressure on Europe to make it toughen the anti-Russia sanctions is hypocritical, as the United States expanded its trade with Russia, while turnover between Brussels and Moscow dropped. […]

As some EU states call to lift the anti-Russia sanctions, some politicians in Washington call for additional restrictive measures, this time, over Syria crisis. In July, the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has passed a bill drafted by House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel. It aims to sanction Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and its allies for alleged war crimes. … Full article

Europe’s Battle: Nationalists vs. Elites

By Andrew Spannaus | Consortium News | October 26, 2016

In recent years “nationalism” has become a bad word in Europe, a synonym of closure, racism and wars. Over the past 20-25 years European elites have instead embraced a concept of globalization based on a world without economic, physical and social borders.

57de7cdbc46188ca308b4641This view assumes the gradual affirmation of a set of shared values internationally, consisting of human rights and economic freedom, that however much the remaining closed, autocratic regimes may try, will inevitably become the standard for the entire world.

It is essentially the argument put forward by Francis Fukuyama in “The End of History:” liberal democracy and free markets have won the ideological war, and represent the culmination of human evolution.

The political events of 2016 are upending this view of the globalization of human rights and economic liberalism. The American electorate has supported a series of outsiders – most notably Donald Trump, who has run his campaign in direct opposition to the U.S. political and financial class, invoking economic protectionism and a stronger national identity.

Against expectations, the population of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, marking an irreparable break in the supposedly inevitable process of European unification. And across Europe support is growing for more extreme, anti-system political forces, that threaten not only to withdraw from the common currency – the Euro – but also to seal the borders in response to economic and security threats associated with immigration. … continue

Time for West to stop supporting terrorists – Russian ambassador to US

Ambassador’s view | RT | October 26, 2016

On October 21, on the initiative of the UK, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) met to discuss the recent situation in Aleppo. The discussions demonstrated a huge divergence of opinions and views on the realities in Aleppo and the Syrian crisis as a whole.

HRC has been reviewing the Syrian file for more than four years now, but regrettably its assessments are becoming a far cry from reality due to the efforts of certain states, including those who call themselves the “Friends of Syria”, to politicize the matter. The current session has been a case study in this.

Instead of supporting the fight against international terrorism, the initiators of the HRC special session, as a matter of fact, tried to let the terrorists off the hook, save them from defeat and allow them to regroup and continue to commit atrocities in Syria. There is no other explanation for the fact that a HRC draft resolution didn’t demand the terrorists and militants cease hostilities, obstructing humanitarian access, using civilians as human shields, and stop preventing residents and medical workers from leaving the city via established humanitarian corridors.

Moreover, these countries tried to blame Russia for most of the developments in East Aleppo, while failing to pressure the rebels to abide by the ceasefire and respect humanitarian efforts. In fact, the whole situation in East Aleppo is held hostage to the terrorists designs. … continue

Gambia announces intention to withdraw from International Criminal Court

Press TV – October 26, 2016

Gambia has followed in the footsteps of Burundi and South Africa by declaring its intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The West African country’s Information Minister Sheriff Bojang announced the decision on television Tuesday night, accusing the ICC of being biased against Africa.

Bojang said that the court — set up to pursue some of the world’s worst crimes — had been used “for the persecution of Africans and especially their leaders” while ignoring crimes committed by the West.

He singled out the case of Tony Blair, a former British prime minister, whom the ICC failed to indict over the 2003 Iraq war.

“There are many Western countries, at least 30, that have committed heinous war crimes against independent sovereign states and their citizens since the creation of the ICC and not a single Western war criminal has been indicted,” the Gambian minister said.

He said the tribunal was an “international Caucasian court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans.” … continue

US Impunity Erodes World Justice

By Nicolas J S Davies | Consortium news | October 25, 2016

In the past week, Burundi and South Africa have joined Namibia in declaring their intention to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). They are likely to be followed by a parade of other African countries, jeopardizing the future of an international court that has prosecuted 39 officials from eight African countries but has failed to indict a single person who is not African.

Ironically, African countries were among the first to embrace the ICC, so it is a striking turnaround that they are now the first to give up on it.

street_obamacriminaljusticeBut it is the United States that has played the leading role in preventing the ICC from fulfilling the universal mandate for which it was formed, to hold officials of all countries accountable for the worst crimes in the world: genocide; crimes against humanity; and war crimes – not least the crime of international aggression, which the judges at Nuremberg defined as “the supreme international crime” from which all other war crimes follow.

As the ICC’s founding father, former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, lamented in 2011, “You don’t have to be a criminologist to realize that if you want to deter a crime, you must persuade potential criminals that, if they commit crimes, they will be hauled into court and be held accountable. It is the policy of the United States to do just the opposite as far as the crime of aggression is concerned. Our government has gone to great pains to be sure that no American will be tried by any international criminal court for the supreme crime of illegal war-making.” … continue

Russia only country in Syria acting under int’l law – German statesman Willy Wimmer

RT | October 25, 2016

The UN is not free in its opinion; it is playing a part in the game on the side of the US, says Willy Wimmer, former State Secretary of the German Christian Democratic Party.

Some 80 aid and humanitarian organizations, including Human Rights Watch, claim Russia – the only country operating militarily in Syria legally – is no longer “fit” to hold its position in the body.

The move, prompted by Russia’s anti-terror actions in Syria – actions that have attracted the ire of some Western countries – appear to be yet another effort on the part of particular countries to denigrate Russia.

Russia’s presidential spokesman says the condemnation should be directed at extremists in Syria instead.

Meanwhile, German foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is calling for another humanitarian pause in Aleppo like the one that took place last week.

RT sat down with German politician Willy Wimmer for his views on the issue. … continue

BDS Changed its Goal Statement Once Again

By Gilad Atzmon | October 25, 2016

… The 2010 embarrassing reference to the 1967 Israeli occupation is now  removed. However once you read the small letters, you grasp that BDS is more of a JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace) rather than a Palestinian voice.  Though the goal does refer, once again, to Israeli “colonization of all Arab land,” the statement now makes it clear that it limits its demands to territories occupied in 1967… Read full article

On The News Line – Philippines president anti-US rhetoric

Teaching Tokyo Independence: Rodrigo Duterte Goes to Japan

Katehon – 25.10.2016

October 25th is the start of a three-day visit to Japan by the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte. During his visit, Duterte will meet with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The leaders plan to discuss a wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation.

The weakening of the US in the region

Duterte’s visit to Japan comes just after a similar trip of the Philippines leader to China. This fits in with a recent trend characterized by the considerable weakening of the position of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region. China’s diplomatic goal is to bring together the US’s traditional allies into their sphere of influence. To this, success can be attributed to the warming relations between Beijing and Bangkok, as well as the recent breakthrough in the negotiations between Rodrigo Duterte and Xi Jinping.

Setting an example

The Philippine leader’s position and his actions in the international arena should be an example for a more powerful neighbor – Japan. In spite of its economic development, Tokyo is very much under the influence of Washington and unable to pursue an independent policy, while Rodrigo Duterte with his actions is guided solely by national interests.

Eurasian direction of Duterte

After the trip to Japan, Rodrigo Duterte is planning to go to Moscow. Thus we can clearly see his geopolitical course. Faced with all the leading leaders in the region ignoring Washington, Duterte declares himself as a consistent supporter of a multi-polar approach. The fact that such can be the situation with a country that isn’t very powerful, without nuclear weapons or huge economic potential, says that the US can not cope any longer with its function as a global leader.

Myanmar army forces about 2,000 Rohingyas from homes

Press TV – October 24, 2016

The Myanmar army has forced about 2,000 Rohingya Muslims to abandon their homes in a village, as part of a crackdown on the religious minority following the recent attacks on border security forces.

Sources said border guards on Sunday went to Kyee Kan Pyin village, in the central region of Mandalay, and ordered about 2,000 villagers to evacuate it, giving them just enough time to collect basic household items.

The villagers were forced for a second night to stay and hide in rice fields without shelter.

“I was kicked out from my house yesterday afternoon, now I live in a paddy field outside of my village with some 200 people including my family, I became homeless,” said a Rohingya man from the raided village.

“After the soldiers arrived at our village, they said that if all of us didn’t leave, they would shoot us,” he added.

Witnesses and Rohingya community elders have confirmed the report. … continue

Israel allows Palestinian villages 2 hours of water a week

MEMO | October 25, 2016

Areas in the occupied West Bank have suffered from severe shortages in water supplies due to the illegal Israeli occupation, Al Jazeera reported.

Every summer, Israel implements a cut in water supplies to preserve water. This year, however, the amount of water cut in the West Bank has been unexpectedly high.

In early June, Israeli water company Mekorot informed the Palestinian Water Authority that water supplies would be cut by 50 per cent. The water cuts persist today, despite the fact that summer officially ended over a month ago.

Villages all over the West Bank have been victim to the water cuts. Some in Salfit, Jenin and Hebron have endured having no access to water for as long as 40 days.

Palestinians living in remote areas have been disproportionately disadvantaged. Not only is access to water harder, but delivery of the water is a lot more difficult, which makes it expensive for consumers.

While Mekorot denies it is targeting Palestinians with the water cuts, Israelis living in the illegal West Bank settlements are exempt from the effects of the water shortages. … Full article

Saudi blogger to receive 1,000 more lashes

MEMO | October 19, 2016

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who ran the Free Liberals forum and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for announcing his atheism online and insulting Islam, is set to receive more lashes.

According to co-founder of the Raif Badawi Foundation, Evelyne Abitbol, it has been announced that the Saudi government will resume with lashing Badawi.

“Our source is the same that informed us about the first 50 lashes M. Raif Badawi received in a public place on January 9, 2015. Our understanding of the information is that another series of lashes punishment will take place this time inside the prison,” Abitbol wrote in a blog post.

She then urged the Saudi government to release Badawi and to “stop the inhuman punishment”.

Badawi was arrested in 2012 for announcing his atheism and endorsing others to turn their backs on Islam, an act illegal in Saudi Arabia, and which could lead to a death sentence.

Top US military commander in Saudi to ‘maintain confidence’

Press TV – October 25, 2016

71ea9c83-8e2d-43e9-bb23-258dfbbe9529A senior US military commander has traveled to Saudi Arabia to hear the monarchy’s concerns about the future of US-Saudi ties, amid mounting international pressure on the kingdom for its ruthless war against Yemen.

US Central Command Commander General Joseph Votel met on Monday with high-ranking Saudi officials including the defense minister, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the AFP reported Tuesday. […]

The US has been a fierce supporter of Riyadh’s war against its poverty-stricken southern neighbor, providing Riyadh with weapons and intelligence ever since the unprovoked invasion began in March 2015.

Ignoring the months-long aggression’s death toll of more than 10,000 Yemenis, the US Department of State approved the sale of more than 130 Abrams tanks, 20 armored recovery vehicles and other equipment worth about $1.15 billion to Saudi Arabia in August.

Washington had previously sold banned weapons including cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.

The unconditional support did not stop even after when Saudi warplanes attacked a funeral in Sana’a earlier this month, killing over 100 people and hundreds more.

Following the deadly attack, the US said it would reconsider “of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led coalition and are prepared to adjust our support so as to better align with US principles, values and interests.”

Days later, however, a new report by Reuters stated that US President Barack Obama had authorized new arms deals with Saudi Arabia despite warnings from his aides that Washington “could be implicated in war crimes.” – Full article

The Tragedy in Yemen

By Derek Royden | CounterPunch | October 25, 2016

Imagine if the Islamic Republic of Iran, complaining that its regional rival Saudi Arabia was meddling in a neighbor’s politics for sectarian reasons, led a coalition to invade that country. As a result, after 18 months, at least 10,000 civilians had been killed or wounded, more than half the country’s people needed food aid and three million people had been displaced.

Sanctions would be leveled. Pundits would write agonized essays comparing the country to Nazi Germany. Sabers would be rattled. War would likely follow. However, when these roles are reversed and the Saudis and their Gulf allies are the aggressors, it’s a different story.

Why the double standard? Because the US is allied to the Saudi royals and the US was evicted from Iran. … continue

60 civilians killed, 200 injured as US-led coalition strikes Mosul residential areas – Russian MoD

RT | October 25, 2016

Over 60 civilians have been killed and at least 200 injured during three days of US-led coalition airstrikes on residential areas in Mosul, the Russian military reported.

“There were numerous attacks of the US-led coalition targeting residential areas, schools, and other civilian objects both in Mosul and in other parts of the Iraqi Nineveh Governorate,” Gen. Sergey Rudskoy, head of Operations in the Russian General Staff, told journalists on Tuesday.

“We are closely monitoring the situation around Mosul. So far we see no substantial progress in liberating this city from the terrorists of ISIS,” he added, referring to the terrorist organization Islamic State by its former name.

According to the Russian military, among the civilian objects hit by US-led coalition airstrikes was a school for girls in southern Mosul, which was attacked last Friday.

The general described the situation around the Iraqi city on the sidelines of a report about Russia’s action in Syria, where Moscow and Damascus continue a pause in the offensive in Aleppo, which is divided between the Syrian Army and various armed groups, including the terrorist organization Al-Nusra Front.

Rudskoy said that Russia has not conducted sorties over and around Aleppo since last Tuesday and intends to continue holding off the warplanes. Fighting on the ground in the city resumed on Sunday, after a three-day unilateral ceasefire was derailed by insurgents, who prevented civilians from fleeing the battered city.

Selling medicine to Aleppo cancer kids became a crime due to EU & US anti-Assad sanctions

NGOs Supporting America’s Imperial Ruthlessness in Syria

By Stephen Lendman | October 25, 2016

NGOs listed below support US-led imperial ruthlessness to topple Assad and destroy Syrian sovereign independence.

How else to explain their disgraceful joint statement, joint statement, wanting Russia’s membership on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) ended when its term expires at year-end.

On October 28, General Assembly members will select new members, Hungary and Croatia competing with Russia to represent Eastern Europe.

Washington’s dirty hands likely pressured and/or bribed the NGOs below to oppose renewing Russia’s HRC membership – unjustifiably blaming it for “routinely target(ing) civilians and civilian objects” – high crimes committed by Pentagon warplanes, its “coalition” partners, and terrorist foot soldiers.

Nations combating Syrian sovereign independence are unfit to serve on any human rights body. Why aren’t the below listed NGOs opposing the HRC membership of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE – rogue states guilty of horrendous human rights abuses at home and abroad, including against millions of Syrians? … continue

British special forces set to resume training ‘democratic & moderate’ Syrian rebels

RT | October 25, 2016

British special forces will resume training moderate Syrian rebels through the US-led program which collapsed last year having utterly failed to reach the stated objective. The announcement is expected to be made by the Defense Secretary on Tuesday. […]

To be clear on who exactly the UK will be training, Fallon specified that a moderate fighter is someone “prepared to live within a plural political settlement that can, in the end, be democratic and take Syria towards elections”.

Those willing to be trained by UK forces will be subject to “strict vetting procedures,” promising for recruits to be “security and medically screened” prior to the start of training.

The UK decision to deploy special forces came in response to a request from the Pentagon, UK media reported. Training of the Syrian rebels will be conducted under the Pentagon run Train and Equip Program which was briefly shut down last year. … Full article

Rebels shell govt-held Aleppo, at least 3 dead, 28 injured (GRAPHIC)

US-style democracy export arrogant, destabilizing, failure – Hungarian PM

RT | October 25, 2016

Hungary’s prime minister has blasted the Obama administration’s foreign policy, saying it is based on arrogance and disregards reality. Viktor Orban said exporting democracy US-style produces instability, migration and extremism.

Orban, an outspoken critic of EU’s handling of the refugee crisis, voiced concern that a potential Hillary Clinton presidency would keep the current Democrat foreign policy that caused the problem in the first place.

“America supports the global migration processes. Instead of working on helping everyone to stay in their own home country, they perceive global population movements as something positive, or at least natural. Therefore, they do not want to stop but manage this migration process. The Democrats and Hillary Clinton are the managers,” he told German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse in the wake of his visit to Bavaria.

He added that the policy of toppling undemocratic governments in the Middle East, which was pursued under both Republican President George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama, simply does not work.

“America believes in the exportation of democracy. This sounds good; however, wherever it has been tried, entire regions often became destabilized, the consequences of which are suffering, death and migration. Additionally, often anti-democratic, extremist forces rose to power as a result of the free elections.

“Believing in the democracy export is arrogant because it fails to take the cultural structures of the given regions into consideration. But whether you like it or not, it is the culture that determines the political culture. Donald Trump openly states this, while Hillary Clinton defends the policy pursued to date,” Orban said.

The PM is a maverick in European politics, who challenged Brussel’s plan for refugee resettlement quotas. […]

Critics accuse Orban of attacking liberal values and democratic freedoms in Hungary. He also stands accused of speaking against EU on foreign policy, including its stance on Russia. Unlike some other members of the union like Poland and the Baltic states the Hungarian leader doesn’t see Moscow as a military threat, advocates cooperation with Russia and considers the economic sanctions imposed against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine too costly and ineffective to preserve. – Full article

Russian Ambassador-at-Large Surprised by Active CIA, FBI Role in US Vote

Sputnik – 24.10.2016

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s ambassador-at-large, Vladimir Churov, said Monday he is surprised by the active role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the US presidential campaign.

“I am somewhat surprised by the active participation in the campaign of specific agencies like the CIA and the FBI,” Churov told RIA Novosti.

He maintained that the US intelligence agencies’ warnings of outside interference in vote rigging or altering vote numbers at precincts could belie the US authorities’ bid to withhold data, including the number of voters, early voters and the election returns.

Saudi jets target Yemen’s Sa’ada with cluster bombs

Plan B: US considered arming Syrian rebels against Russian planes & artillery, report says

RT | October 24, 2016

The US administration has been secretly considering sending more firepower to CIA-backed rebels fighting Syrian government forces, including weapons that can be used against Russian aircraft and artillery, according to a media report.

Citing US officials, who preferred to remain anonymous, the Washington Post reported the existence of a so-called ‘Plan B,’ which in case of “failed diplomatic efforts” provided for arming US-backed Syrian rebels with truck-mounted anti-aircraft weapons that could help rebel units “defend themselves against Russian aircraft and artillery.”

It says the plan was raised several times over the course of recent weekly White House meetings and was submitted to President Barack Obama during a National Security Council meeting on October 14.

The newspaper states, however, that ‘Plan B’ was “neither approved nor rejected,” with Obama reluctant to make any decision on the matter. […]

Last week, Damascus and Moscow stopped carrying out airstrikes in eastern Aleppo and opened a number of humanitarian corridors for those who want to escape the areas of the city controlled by terrorists and rebels in the hope that the break will lead to a complete ceasefire.

Despite the humanitarian pause having been prolonged several times, it ended on Saturday evening without significant achievements, as militants repeatedly sabotaged the ceasefire efforts, shelling humanitarian corridors and killing civilians. Over a thousand heavily-armed fighters have massed near eastern Aleppo, seemingly in preparation for a new offensive on the city. Moscow says the humanitarian pause will once again be prolonged only when the rebels stop violating the ceasefire. – Full article

Terrorist Groups in Syria Expected to Start Surrendering Once US Support Stops

Sputnik | 24.10.2016

The terrorist groups in Syria will start surrendering and giving up arms once the United States leaves the country and stops its support for these groups, Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Executive Director Daniel McAdams told Sputnik.

“The US pulling out would be the absolute best thing for peace in Syria. The Syrians along with their allies should decide what happens to these groups,” McAdams stated. “Understanding and knowing that the US would no longer back them will force them to make some difficult decisions on their own. And I think you will see many more villages, larger villages finding a way to surrender.” … Full article

US Empire falling apart, partially due to allegiance to Israel: Writer

Press TV – October 22, 2016

Many countries are distancing from the American Empire because it is “falling apart”, partially due to its “continued allegiance” to Israel, according to Linh Dinh, an American political analyst and writer based in Philadelphia.

“The United States is a failing empire that causes war and chaos. Many countries are starting to see this, so they are rethinking their association with the United States,” Dinh said in an interview with Press TV on Saturday. […]

“The US and Israel are widely hated because they have destroyed many countries. The world would be a much better place if the United States divorced itself from Israel, but this is not going to happen. Trump and Clinton are both fanatical supporters of Israel,” he stated. – Full article

Sadly, Nobody Likes America These Days

By Jean Perier – New Eastern Outlook – 23.10.2016

barack-obama-6There can be no denial that over the last couple of years, anti-American sentiment across the globe has been on the rise. And even though Western corporate media sources are trying to push the blame on Russian journalists, they alone could hardly ever achieve such an effect.

Today a typical list of accusations against the US includes its invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, and also includes claims that Washington has been sponsoring terrorists as well as exporting weapons to the countries sponsoring terrorists.

The US presidential campaign, riddled with scandals and delusional statements, has clearly demonstrated that something fundamental has gone wrong with “American style-democracy.”

As it’s been noted by The American Spectator, voters these days see no equality before the law in America. What we’ve witnessed in recent years is incompatible with the values of the Founding Fathers who promoted the idea of inalienable rights. The backlash among voters has been illustrated during this presidential election There is growing resentment of the “political class,” and an increased distrust -. and even fear – of government. Unfortunately, there appears to be ample justification for this feeling. Fear of corruption in government far outpaced fears of terrorism, financial insecurity, and even illness or death of a loved one. Many Americans now see government not as the keepers of justice and peace, not as servants of the people, but as a corrupt entity and menace. … continue

Israel refuses to sign US document regulating export of killer drones – report

RT | October 24, 2016

Israel is reportedly refusing to sign a US document on the use and export guidelines of armed drones, fearing it would hurt its defense industries. The State Department paper aims to establish international standards in the production and selling of UAVs.

The one-page document, titled “Joint Declaration for the Export and Subsequent Use of Armed or Strike-Enable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs),” covers a number of topics regarding the selling and usage of drone systems, according to Defense News.

Those topics include applying international law and human rights when using UAVs; following existing arms control laws in selling armed drone systems; considering the buyer country’s history on “adherence to international obligations and commitments”; following “appropriate transparency measures”; and ensuring the sold unmanned system’s capabilities are “transferred and used responsibly by all states.”

The document has been provided to countries which are considered to be US allies and has already been signed by over 40 nations, including Austria, Germany and Italy.

Israel, however, has so far refused to sign the document, with sources in the country’s defense industry telling Haaretz that the sector is concerned it could limit the nation’s export business. … continue