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America’s Worst Laid Plans

Consortium News | May 27, 2016

The U.S. government seeks to impose neo-liberal economics on the world even though those “free-market” policies funnel global wealth to a tiny fraction at the top, cause widespread despair and spark political turmoil, Michael Brenner explains. – Read article

Ukraine imposes travel ban on Russian media heads, including RT’s Editor-in-Chief

RT | May 27, 2016

Ukraine’s president has imposed personal sanctions against the heads of top Russian media, including RT, citing “national security and sovereignty” concerns. The travel ban, however, has been mocked by those who were targeted as a recognition of their merits.

On Friday Petro Poroshenko signed a decree imposing “special personal restrictive measures” against the heads of several leading Russian TV channels and news agencies, including RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.

The document blames Russian media heads for “violating human rights” and depriving Ukrainian citizens of “proper rights and freedoms,” as well as “posing a potential threat to the national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine. […]

Kiev has previously issued an order restricting the broadcast of Russian media, including Channel One, Rossiya 24, NTV, RT, Zvezda and other major TV channels. The ban has been harshly criticized by the OSCE as a “repressive measure.”

“Switching off and banning channels is not the way to address [problems]; any potentially problematic speech should be countered with arguments and more speech,” OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic said in March 2014.

Earlier in March, Ukraine also banned all Russian movies and TV shows released after January 1, 2014, citing the need to bolster “national security.” The move amended a law banning Russian films falling within the military genre made from 1991, which were dubbed “propaganda” by the Ukrainian authorities. – Full article

Empty Rhetoric from Obama in Hiroshima

By John Loretz | International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | May 27, 2016

President Obama made an historic visit to Hiroshima today—the first sitting US president to do so since the US atomic bombing of that city on August 6, 1945, followed three days later by the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

As he did in Prague, in 2009, President Obama gave a very moving and meaningful speech about the impact of nuclear weapons, reflecting upon the experience of the victims of nuclear warfare—the Hibakusha.

“Their souls speak to us,” he said. “They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become.”

In reiterating his call for a world without nuclear weapons, President Obama acknowledged that the suffering of the Hibakusha gives us “a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.” The very existence of nuclear weapons, he said, “fuels our moral imagination.”

These thoughts and words, though profound, have not been matched by US actions to eliminate nuclear weapons. … continue

Israel razed 120 EU-funded projects since January

hebronhills-aicPalestinian Information Center – May 27, 2016

RAMALLAH – Euro-Mediterranean Observatory for Human Rights issued a statistical report showing that Israeli forces razed over 120 EU-funded projects in the West Bank during the first three months of 2016.

The report accused European parties of turning deaf ears to the Israeli violations and aggressive attacks on Gaza Strip over the past years that damaged numerous EU-funded projects.

Euro-Med said that “the Israeli demolition and confiscation of the EU-funded projects have recently escalated after the European states took action last year to label Israeli settlements’ products”. … Full article

Heads Up Internet: Time to Kill Another Dangerous CFAA Bill

By Jamie Williams | EFF | May 26, 2016

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the federal “anti-hacking” statute, is long overdue for reform. The 1986 law—which was prompted in part by fear generated by the 1983 techno­thriller WarGames—is vague, draconian, and notoriously out of touch with how we use computers today. Unfortunately, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Lindsey Graham are on a mission to make things worse. They’ve proposed (for the second time) legislation that fails to address any of the CFAA’s problems while simply creating more confusion. And they may try to sneak their proposal through as an amendment to the Email Privacy Act—the very same sneaky tactic they tried last year.

Their latest proposal is ostensibly directed at stopping botnets. It’s even named it the “Botnet Prevention Act of 2016.” But the bill includes various provisions that go far beyond protecting against attacks by zombie computerscontinue

IAEA verifies Iran’s compliance with JCPOA

Press TV – May 27, 2016

The UN nuclear agency has verified Iran’s compliance with the landmark nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries in July 2015.

In its second quarterly assessment since the implementation of the JCPOA in January, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran “has not pursued the construction of the existing Arak heavy water research reactor” and has “not enriched uranium” above low levels.

“Throughout the reporting period, Iran had no more than 130 metric tonnes of heavy water … Iran’s total (low) enriched uranium stockpile did not exceed 300 kg,” the IAEA added.

According to the UN nuclear agency, no enriched uranium has been accumulated through research and development activities.

“All stored centrifuges and associated infrastructure have remained in storage under continuous Agency (IAEA) monitoring,” the report pointed out. … Full article

Saudi Arabia biggest sponsor of terrorism: Iran

Press TV – May 27, 2016

Iran says Saudi Arabia is the “biggest sponsor of terrorism” in Iraq and elsewhere, dismissing Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir’s allegations that Iran was meddling in regional affairs.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari was reacting on Friday to Jubeir’s “foolish” remarks about Iran’s role in Iraq and the presence of its military advisers, including Qassem Soleimani, the Fars news agency said.

“The presence of Iran’s military advisers in Iraq under the command of General Qassem Soleimani is at the request of the country’s legitimate government in order to fight terrorists and extremists who have beset Iraq and the region with instability and insecurity,” he said.

“To know its interests and its friends and enemies, the Iraqi nation doesn’t need the remarks by the foreign minister of a country which has been the biggest agent and sponsor of instability and terrorism in Iraq, the region and the world,” he added. … continue

Trucks Carrying Weapons For al-Nusra Front Arrive From Turkey Daily

Sputnik – 27.05.2016

Head of the Russian General Staff told journalists that trucks carrying weapons for the al-Nusra Front cross from Turkey into Syria daily. This allows the terrorist group to continue attacking local targets.

Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said in his press briefing on Friday that weapons and ammunition are continuously being delivered to the al-Nusra Front terrorists in Syria, allowing them to engage Syrian government forces and hindering the fight against Daesh in the country.

“The never-ending flow of large trucks from Turkey carrying weapons and ammunition crosses the Turkish-Syrian border. This constant feed of live forces and weapons allows terrorists from the Nusra Front to continue their provocative shelling and make advances on Syrian government forces, which diminishes [government military] activity against Islamic State terrorists in other areas,” Rudskoy said during a briefing.

Rudskoy also added that the US has acknowledged that the heaviest fighting is centered around areas where the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front is most active. … continue

“Syria Solidarity UK” Supporting Al Qaeda and Denying Free Speech

By Tim Anderson | 21st Century Wire | May 27, 2016

‘Syria Solidarity UK’ (SSUK), led by some British ‘leftists’, is strongly backing the US-led war on Syria and appears to support all the al Qaeda aligned armed groups. They use the pretence of concern for refugees while stoking a terrible war which drives those refugees.

Even after five years of proxy war, where it has become very clear that NATO states and the Gulf monarchies are using vicious extremist groups in an attempt to topple the Syrian Government, some small, deluded western ‘left’ groups still pretend this is a ‘revolution’. … continue

Nominally Populist Sweden Democrats Help Ratify NATO Deal

Sputnik – May 27, 2016

After Sweden Democrats reneged on earlier pledges to make a last-ditch effort to stall the decision, the Swedish parliament effortlessly railroaded through an agreement which essentially allows NATO to deploy forces in Sweden and brings the non-aligned Nordic country yet another step closer to the alliance.

The Swedish parliament ratified the so-called Host Nation Support Agreement (HNSA) after a proposal by the Left Party to put off the decision by one year, initially backed by Sweden Democrats, was voted down by 291 votes to 21.

The right-wing populist Sweden Democrats made an about-face ahead of the vote, abandoning plans team up with the Left Party, which argued that the hotly-debated deal posed a significant risk to the rights and freedoms stipulated in Sweden‘s constitution.

Despite earlier pledges by party leader Jimmie Åkesson to join efforts with the Left to stop the agreement he claimed posed “a threat to Sweden’s neutrality,” the Sweden Democrats had second thoughts in the eleventh hour and voted unanimously in favor of the controversial deal with NATO. … continue

Guardian admits its reporter fabricated interviews

RT | May 27, 2016

Britain’s center-left Guardian newspaper has apologized after it emerged one of its reporters had been fabricating interviews and falsely claiming to have been at events he wrote about.

Joseph Mayton, a California-based freelancer who has been writing for the paper since 2009, was accused of making up quotes in some stories and filing interviews with people who later said they had never spoken to him.

The Guardian, which has been forced to make a large number of its reporters redundant in recent months owing to financial difficulties, published an apology to readers and to the “people whose words were misrepresented or falsified.”

Guardian US editor Lee Glendinning said suspicions were raised in February when sources contacted the company to say they had not spoken to Mayton despite being quoted by him.

The journalist was “unable to provide convincing evidence that the interviews in question had taken place.”

An independent fact-checker was hired to look through the 64 articles written by Mayton and speak to around 50 people supposedly quoted. They found widespread evidence of “likely or confirmed fabrication.”

“Dozens of sources could not be found – either they had no online presence or they were anonymous and could not be substantiated – and several people quoted in Mayton’s articles either denied speaking with him or giving the quotes attributed to them.”

The Guardian has now removed 13 of Mayton’s articles from its website, and many others have been amended to remove inaccuracies. … Full article

The Web They Want: How a twitter wordsearch justifies internet censorship

Off Guardian | May 26, 2016

Earlier this year the Guardian launched their new campaign – “The Web We Want”. It’s an agenda driven campaign to suppress free speech and protect the ancien media regime from the alt-news revolution, in the name of protecting ethnic minorities, female writers and the LGBT community from the all the hate that pours out of the privileged fingertips of all the white men on the internet.

We have written extensively on what the Guardian really means by “the web they want”. We know their statistics are a farce and can see through their editorial double talk. Their place in a planned roll out of an idea is obvious, coinciding with political climbers from all parties making speeches attacking free speech in the name of freedom. Banning liberty because… won’t somebody please think of the children!

When the Guardian talks about “taking action” against internet abuse, we know what they mean. They mean censorship. There’s nothing more need be said. But this latest story cries out for a response. … continue

UN Body on Prevention of Torture Suspends Visit to Ukraine

Sputnik – 25.05.2016

The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) decided to halt its visit to Ukraine as it did not get access to some sites where it suspected infringements of human rights were taking place, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Wednesday.

“The delegation concluded that the integrity of the visit, which began on 19 May and was due to end on 26 May, had been compromised to such an extent that it had to be suspended as the SPT mandate could not be fully carried out,” the UNHCR statement said.

Malcolm Evans, head of the delegation, told the UNHCR that the delegation was denied access to the sites where tortures and ill-treatment allegedly was taking place. … continue

Iraqi government formed in 2003 was fully controlled by US – Iraq’s former defense minister

RT | May 26, 2016

The Iraqi government, formed in 2003 after Saddam Hussein’s regime had been overthrown by the US invasion, was fully controlled by “inspectors” from the United States and its allies, a former Iraqi Defense Minister, Hazem Shaalan, told RT.

“I was not independent in my ministry,” Shaalan said. “Inside the ministry, there were American inspectors in each department. There were also the British and Australians. There was not a single one department in the ministry, where there would be no inspectors.” … continue

Syrian Analyst, Afraa Dagher, To U.S.: “Is It Normal To Kill Kids, Women? Is This Normal For You?”

By Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post | May 25, 2016

After a series of coordinated suicide bombings rocked the Syrian coast, killing over one hundred innocent civilians, Syrians are becoming even more frustrated with the hypocrisy of the West, not only in terms of the faux solidarity expressed when Belgium and France were attacked and the subsequent silence when it comes to Syria, but also in the constant Western whining about a “war on terror” that is made up of supporting and directing the very terror organizations it tells its own population it is trying to defeat.

Nowhere outside of its own borders does anyone truly believe that the United States represents freedom and democracy. That lie is reserved for hundreds of millions residing in the U.S., constantly plugged in to American media and the constant barrage of pro-war propaganda. It is thus highly ironic that it is the American people who are the key to stopping the American war machine from its continued march across the rest of the world before finally running out of steam and coming back home to march upon its own population.

Still, Syrians, over 6,000 miles away from the United States, besieged by five years of intense warfare, are fully aware of who has brought this destruction to their doorsteps even if Americans are still unaware that the destruction is even taking place. … continue

‘Unforgivable’: Majority of Brits can’t absolve Tony Blair of his Iraq war sins

RT | May 26, 2016

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair can never be forgiven for taking the UK into the Iraq war, a majority of Brits said in an opinion poll.

Pollster YouGov carried out the survey ahead of the publication of the long-delayed Chilcot Inquiry report, which examines the legality of Britain’s 2003 Iraq invasion.

It found only eight percent believe Blair did nothing wrong, while 53 percent said they could never forgive him.

Some 15 percent of respondents said it was time to forgive Blair for his misjudgment.

Perhaps the most damning finding was that just 25 percent of Labour Party supporters are in favor of forgiving their former leader. … continue

Europe Revolts Against Russian Sanctions

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 26.05.2016

From ministerial offices to barricades on the streets, Europe is in open revolt against anti-Russian sanctions which have cost workers and businesses millions of jobs and earnings. Granted, the contentious issues are wider than anti-Russian sanctions. However, the latter are entwined with growing popular discontent across the EU.

Germany’s vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is among the latest high-profile politicians to have come out against the sanctions stand-off between the European Union and Russia.

At stake is not just a crisis in the economy, of which the anti-Russian sanctions are symptomatic. It is further manifesting in a political crisis that is challenging the very legitimacy of EU governments and the bloc’s institutional existence. The issue is not so much about merely trying to normalize EU-Russian relations. But rather more about preserving the EU from an existential public backlash against anti-democratic and discredited authorities. … continue

BREXIT:­ Divorcing Britain from EU Trade with Israel Would Help Ensure Future Security of UK

By Anthony Bellchambers – Global Research – May 25, 2016

The ability of Israel to continue its illegal settlement on Palestinian land is wholly dependent on profits from its bilateral trade with the EU which is the single most important factor that fuels the illegal occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights by the Right-­wing Likud government.

Without the extraordinary agreement that allows a non-European state (in the Middle East) to freely exploit the European Single Market, the policy of expropriating Palestinian land would not be possible and the Israeli government would be forced to sue for peace.

It has been long established that the Israel lobby exerts considerable influence over the European Parliament’s decisions to not only offer Israel free access to the single market but also to make research grants of billions of euros to the Israeli defence industries that currently export arms to regimes worldwide.

There are many factors that will influence Britain’s decision to leave the EU but the ability to break away from the hold of the Israel lobby on EU trade is of prime importance to both the safety of Europe and to world peace. … continue

Israeli authorities transfer political prisoner Marwan Barghouti to undisclosed location

Ma’an – May 26, 2016

375179CJERUSALEM – Israeli prison authorities transferred detained prominent Palestinian parliament member Marwan Barghouti from Israel’s Ramon prison to an unidentified location on Thursday, according to Palestinian sources.

Barghouti, a member of Fatah’s central committee, was transferred to Israel’s Ramon prison five days before the most recent transfer to an undisclosed location, according to a statement by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

While Barghouti was held in Ramon, he was reportedly prevented from moving between sections of the prison or communicating with other prisoners.

The committee stated Israeli Prison Services were responsible for arbitrary violations and abuses against the imprisoned politician.

Barghouti, a leading politician in the Fatah party, entered the 15th year of his prison sentence this year. … continue

Jail punishes 3 inmates with solitary confinement for prison reforms advocacy – report

RT | May 26, 2016

Three Massachusetts prisoners found themselves in solitary confinement, following their work with state lawmakers on prison reform, and a watchdog group doesn’t believe it to be a simple coincidence.

Timothy Muise, Shawn Fisher and Steven James were handcuffed and transported from their cells at the medium-security prison Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Shirley, or MCI Shirley, to three different facilities on March 23. Prior to that, all three were questioned separately by people from the Department of Corrections (DOC).

Since then, they have been in solitary confinement nearly non-stop, with limited communication. They are allowed to make two 15-minute phone calls, have two one-hour non-contact visits per week and write letters.

Solitary Watch, an online project that tracks and reports on the use of solitary confinement across the US and the source that originally broke the story, has suggested that the extreme measure of secluding the men might be in retaliation for the past year’s work to “address the root causes and symptoms of mass incarceration.” … Full article

Freddie Gray Case Judge Rules it is Unreasonable to Expect Cops to Obey the Law

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford | May 25, 2016

The prosecution in Baltimore wanted the cop that arrested Freddie Gray to be convicted of assault, because Gray had done nothing illegal. But “the judge seemed to think it would be ridiculous to treat every arrest as criminal just because there were no grounds for arrest.” The officer was acquitted, affirming the American criminal justice principle that nothing is illegal – including murder – when the cops do it. – Read article

If She Wins: These Three Clinton Decisions May Ruin US Foreign Policy

Sputnik – May 25, 2016

US scholar A. Trevor Thrall looks at the foreign-policy nightmare that the country, and the world, could face should Hillary Clinton win her presidential bid.

A new Clinton administration may drag the country into a foreign-policy nightmare, warns A. Trevor Thrall, Associate Professor of Government and International Affairs at George Mason University.

“Imagine it is the morning of January 21st, 2017: President Hillary Clinton enters the Oval Office for her first daily briefing from the CIA. Without having to do much guessing we know that this briefing will be replete with terrible news about all the many fires burning around the world,” Thrall writes in his article for the National Interest.

According to the scholar, only three potential decisions by Hillary Clinton could undermine the US’ stability for years to come.”The first decision will be to send thousands of American ground troops to eradicate the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” Thrall notes, “Clinton’s second ill-fated decision will be to attempt to restore and stabilize Iraq.”

President Clinton’s third decision will likely “reverse President Obama’s plan to draw down the US military presence in Afghanistan,” he underscores.

There is little if any doubt that Clinton will adopt a far more interventionist stance than her predecessor, Barack Obama, given her policies as the US Secretary of State and her hawkish rhetoric as a presidential candidate.

“Hillary Clinton was a dogged champion for military intervention as Secretary of State. As a candidate, she has been among the most hawkish Democrats in living memory, outdoing most of this year’s Republicans,” the scholar remarks, adding that after winning the Oval Office Clinton will face “few obstacles in her desire to exert decisive leadership on the global stage.” … Full article

Russian UN envoy Churkin names Turkish companies helping ISIS make bombs

RT | May 26, 2016

Russia has presented a list of Turkish companies to the UN that Moscow believes are providing Islamic State with the components needed to make homemade explosive devices.

In UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin’s letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the envoy says analysis of chemical components of explosives recovered in Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) liberated areas of Iraq’s Tikrit and the Syrian city of Kobani, implicate Turkish companies.

Components found in the explosives, Churkin wrote, “indicate that they were either manufactured in Turkey or delivered to that country without the right of re-export.” … Full article

Death toll from Saudi-led air raid on Yemen’s Lahij rises to 11

Press TV – May 26, 2016

The death toll from a Saudi-led airstrike against a residential area in Yemen’s southern province of Lahij has risen to 11, with four children among the civilian casualties.

Local security officials and witnesses, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 11 civilians died in the town of al-Mahala on Wednesday, when a warplane, believed to belong to the United Arab Emirates, fired two missiles at the house, flattening the building.

The officials identified the victims as members of the same family. Only one child survived the aerial assault.

Ahmed Hadash, a witness, recalled hearing explosions for 40 minutes during the raids, while fighter jets flew overhead.

“The bodies were distorted and the human remains were everywhere,” he added. … Full article

Afghan Taliban: Haibatullah Akhundzada Appointed New Leader

Al-Manar | May 25, 2016

caedfb9b-069d-4398-899d-2e2ec5e68549The Afghan Taliban on Wednesday announced influential religious figure Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new leader after confirming supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s death in a US drone strike.

“Haibatullah Akhundzada has been appointed as the new leader of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) after a unanimous agreement in the shura (supreme council), and all the members of shura pledged allegiance to him,” the insurgents said in a statement.

It added that Sirajuddin Haqqani, an implacable foe of US forces, and Mullah Yakoub, the son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar, were appointed his deputies.

Haibatullah was one of two deputies under Mansour, who was killed in a US drone strike on Saturday, the first known American assault on a top Afghan Taliban leader on Pakistani soil. … continue

Russia Denounces External Forces for Crisis in Venezuela

By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas – Venezuelanalysis – May 24, 2016

Caracas – Russia’s Foreign Ministry has spoken out against “outside” efforts to destabilise Venezuela, warning against the consequences of imposing “colour scenarios” on the South American nation.

On Monday, Russian news agency Tass and Sputnik International reported that Russia’s Foreign Ministry had released an official statement addressing the current situation in Venezuela.

“The upsurge of tensions in Venezuela is being fed from outside,” asserted the Foreign Ministry statement.

“We are confident that a political solution to Venezuelan problems is to be found by the Venezuelan people who have elected its legitimate authorities… Destructive interference from outside is inadmissible,” it continued. … continue

American businesses to attend Russian economic forum despite Washington discontent

RT | May 25, 2016

Major US investors will take part in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2016) this June despite US government objections, according to the Russian Embassy in Washington.

“Business will do what it sees as necessary. What is not forbidden is allowed. According to our information, the leading investors will attend the Russian forum. American companies will be among them. The policy of ignoring the forum has failed. Interested companies, in any case, will attend and no one will hinder them,” said Russian Embassy spokesman Grigory Zasypkin. … Full article

Russia Not to Discuss Conditions for Lifting Sanctions – Lavrov

Sputnik – 25.05.2016

Russia has not and will not get into discussions on criteria to lift sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

The West has introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia since 2014, accusing Moscow of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs and fueling the conflict in the southeast of Ukraine, however Russia denies the allegations and has responded to the restrictive measures with a food embargo.

“As for the future of these restrictions, this question should be directed to those who initiated the sanctions spiral. We have not and will not discuss any conditions or criteria for lifting these restrictive measures,” Lavrov told Hungary’s Magyar Nemzet newspaper.

“The European Union has linked this to Russia fulfilling the Minsk agreements,” the minister said. “Such a connection is absurd, because our country, as is well known, is not party to the conflict in Ukraine. Such a stance only encourages Kiev to sabotage the Minsk measures without any consequences.”

Unilateral Sanctions Unable to Force Russia to Sacrifice National Interests

Russia will not give up on pursuing its national interests due to attempts to pressure it through unilateral sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“It is clear that attempts to pressure Russia through unilateral sanctions will not force us to abandon our principled line or to sacrifice our national interests,” Lavrov told Hungary’s Magyar Nemzet newspaper.

Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy

By Eric Draitser | CounterPunch | May 25, 2016

President Obama heads to Japan this week for an historic visit to Hiroshima, site of the world’s first use of a nuclear weapon, and one of the United States’ most enduring shameful acts. The corporate media has hailed the visit as an important step in strengthening bilateral relations between the US and Japan. Indeed, it certainly is that as the US seeks to reassert its hegemony in an Asia-Pacific region increasingly being seen as the sphere of influence of China.

However, Obama’s arrival in Japan also highlights the deeply hypocritical and cynical attitudes of US policymakers, and President Obama himself, when it comes to the relevant issues. He is not expected to formally apologize for the needless slaughter of more than 200,000 Japanese citizens (mostly civilians), nor is he going to address the lingering policy-related effects of the war such as the highly unpopular US military occupation of Okinawa. In fact, it seems Obama is unlikely to touch on anything of substance. But there are indeed numerous subjects which merit close scrutiny. … continue

State Department says Clinton violated email security rules

RT | May 25, 2016

a1e4c648-60fb-4133-a457-c34cda32a67aHillary Clinton violated federal records rules by never obtaining permission to conduct official business on private email server during her tenure as secretary state, a State Department audit concluded.

The report from the State Department’s inspector general say mentions “longstanding, systemic weaknesses” in the agency’s communications even before Clinton took office there, but it singles her out as having been a particularly bad offender for her exclusive use of private, unsecured email.

“At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department issues before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” says the audit, which was obtained by multiple media sources. … continue

Bill Clinton’s Economic Policies Increased Gap Between Rich, Poor Americans

Sputnik — 25.05.2016

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton announced earlier this month she would appoint her husband, the 42nd US president, in charge of the US economy if she is elected president in November 2016.

“The Clinton record is mixed,” University of Pittsburgh Professor of International Affairs Michael Brenner said on Monday. “He rode an economy that benefitted from some structural advantages and a global upturn while initiating nothing significant.”

Bill Clinton aggressively pursued financial deregulation and free trade deals, and implemented additional measures that contributed to continued income redistribution upwards, Brenner pointed out.

Contrary to widespread misperceptions, “the 1990s did not see any noteworthy improvement in living standards for the 90 percent of the American people.”

While in office, Clinton changed the formula for calculating the inflation rate to make it statistically smaller, Brenner recalled.

Clinton “did the same with the unemployment rate, and encouraged lazy enforcement of antitrust and a host of other regulatory rules.”

Since leaving office, Clinton has strongly backed the Bowles-Simpson proposal that cuts Social Security and Medicare and extends tax giveaways to the rich, Brenner noted. … continue

Is the UK’s Iraq Inquiry Set to “savage” Tony Blair?

Part 1 of a 2 Part Series

By Felicity Arbuthnot | Dissident Voice | May 24, 2016

In spite of all the scepticism regarding the long delayed UK Iraq Inquiry into the illegal invasion of Iraq, with predictions (including by myself) that it would be a “whitewash” of the enormity of the lies which led to the near destruction of Iraq, to the presence of ISIS and to probably over a million deaths, The Sunday Times (May 22nd, 2016) is predicting an “absolutely brutal” verdict on those involved. The paper claims that former Prime Minister Tony Blair, his then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Sir Richard Dearlove, former Head of British Secret Intelligence (MI6) are among those who face “serious damage to their reputations.”

Not before time, many will surely be thinking. … continue

Israeli President Applauds Shin Bet Chemist Doing “God’s Work” Developing Chemical Weapons for Assassinations

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | May 25, 2016

The Israeli settler publication, Arutz 7, reported that the Shin Bet gave special merit awards to personnel who excelled in their work.  The prime minister and president both attended a ceremony at the President’s House. Pres. Rivlin praised the Shin Bet efforts as “God’s work.”  Among those applauded was an assassin who uses chemical and biological weapons in his “creative efforts.”

“A.,” age 32, works as a chemist in the technology division.  The text declares that he heads a staff which develops capability for special “deterrence” (an Israeli intelligence euphemism for assassination), using advanced technological-operation methods.  He’s shown tremendous initiative and creativity by struggling to meet major challenges in the technology realm.  He’s thought to be the top of his field and a font of knowledge for numerous elements of the intelligence apparatus.  He’s even known as “Mr. Q” after the name of James Bond’s technology wizard.  A nickname which reflects his level of ingenuity and ability to transform something from the realm of the imagination into reality as far as Shabak operations are concerned.

An Israeli security source confirmed that A’s work involves assassinations, including this one Yossi Melman reported, involving the 2004 murder of a Hamas commander through food poisoning.

‘We became subcontractors to the occupation’: B’Tselem ends work with Israeli army

Ma’an – May 25, 2016

BETHLEHEM – After 25 years of accountability work in the occupied West Bank, Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem announced on Wednesday its decision to discontinue their strategy of holding Israeli forces accountable for their crimes against Palestinians through internal military mechanisms.

Representatives of the organization, which focuses on collecting information and documenting Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, called their complicity in Israel’s military mechanisms “morally unacceptable,” in a press briefing on Tuesday.

According to a new report released by the organization, the inefficiency of Israeli military mechanisms to provide justice for Palestinian victims led the organization to label their accountability activities as a “whitewash machine” for the continuation of the nearly 50-year Israeli military occupation of the West Bank.

“B’Tselem has gradually come to the realization that the way in which the military law enforcement system functions precludes it from the very outset from achieving justice for the victims. Nonetheless, the very fact that the system exists serves to convey a semblance of law enforcement and justice,” the report stated. … continue

Israeli settler deliberately runs over Palestinian child

Palestinian Information Center – May 25, 2016

BETHLEHEM – An Israeli settler deliberately ran over a Palestinian child near Hussan village west of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank last night.

Family sources affirmed that the Israeli settler ran over the 5-year-old Palestinian child Adam Hamamrah, from Husan village west of Bethlehem.

The child was immediately taken to hospital for treatment as he suffered neck injury, while the settler managed to flee the scene… Full article

Army Kills A Palestinian Teenage Girl North Of Jerusalem

IMEMC News – May 25, 2016

SaqsanAmnsourIsraeli soldiers killed, on Monday afternoon, a Palestinian teenage girl, near the Ras Biddo military roadblock, north of occupied Jerusalem, allegedly after she “attempted to attack soldiers. She was left bleeding on the ground while the soldiers prevented Palestinian medics from reaching her, and died from her wounds.

Palestinian medical sources said the slain girl has been identified as Sawsan Daoud Ali Mansour, 17, from Biddo town, northeast of Jerusalem.

The Israeli army alleged that the soldiers opened fire on the girl after she attempted to stab a soldier at the military roadblock.

Palestinian medics rushed to the scene but the soldiers attacked them, and prevented them from approaching her; she was left on the ground, without any medical assistance for more than one hour.

The Israeli army closed the military roadblock, and fired many gas bombs on Palestinians trying to cross to return to the towns and homes.

Mansour was a high-school student preparing for the final exams before graduation.

Russia’s Gazprom No Longer Interested in Israeli Gas Field Development

Sputnik — May 25, 2016

Russian energy giant Gazprom is no longer interested in participating in the development of Israel’s Leviathan gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, Russian media reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed Gazprom source.

According to the Vedomosti newspaper, the source did not specify why the company had decided to abandon the project. Gazprom is reportedly not considering any other projects in Israel at the moment.

In 2012, the company was in talks with Leviathan’s operating firms on buying a 30-percent stake in the development project. At the time, Total, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Woodside Petroleum also wanted a part in the project, however Gazprom offered the largest sum.

Currently, the Leviathan gas field, first drilled in 2011, is one of the largest young gas reserves in the world. According to the US Geological Survey, Leviathan’s volume of undiscovered reserves amounts to some 620 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Nuclear threats in US worse than previously known — study

RT | May 25, 2016

Conflicting with a prior industry study, a new analysis claims 96 nuclear facilities in the US are less safe than reported, citing risks such as terrorism and sabotage. The study says there remain lessons to be learned from the Fukushima disaster.

Neglect of the risks posed by used reactor fuel, or spent nuclear fuel, contained in 96 aboveground, aquamarine pools could cost the US economy $700 billion, cause cancer in tens of thousands of people as well as compel the relocation of some 3.5 million people from an area larger than New Jersey, a study released May 20 finds.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s study, ‘Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of US Nuclear Plants,’ is the second installment of a two-part study ordered by Congress on the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. It not only cites, but also outright challenges a 2014 study by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the US industry’s regulator and enforcer of safety standards.

The spent fuel, The Academies’ study recommends, is safer in dry casks rather than pools, because of the risk of leaks, drawing water away from the irradiated nuclear rods. … continue

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