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Setting the method to probe U.S.-Saudi wars

Saudi Arabia on the American chessboard – Part 4

By B. J. Sabri | American Herald Tribune | August 25, 2016

Uncovering the extent and details of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the U.S. wars against selected Arab and non-Arab states is somewhat complicated, and the reason is shortage of reliable information. Even if such information were available, we may have to sieve through a huge amount of data searching for patterns, relations, and critical values. For instance, how to search for the methods the U.S. employs to enforce Saudi involvement in its plans and polices? What drives the Arab and regional policy (and wars) of the Saudi regime?

Suppose we search for the true reasons behind Iraq’s invasion of Iran in 1980. Can we extrapolate data to prove that the United States and Saudi Arabia were the godfathers for a war that lasted over eight years and killed over one million Iranians and Iraqis? Why did Iraq not invade Iran when the Shah was in power given that its basic problems with Iran were, more or less, the same? Was the “secret” meeting between Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Iraqi president Saddam Hussein around June 1980 a prelude to that war? Did the U.S.-Saudi-Iraqi plan to attack Iran materialize during the meeting between the Iraqi president, King Fahad, and the American Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in Jeddah, July 1980? Can we read the past in present terms to see what the U.S.-Saudi plans of the 1980s have done to the region in the successive 35 years? … continue

Labor’s Road to Destruction

By W Stephen Gilbert | OffGuardian | August 28, 2016

The Labour party is on a perilous path. That it may end in an irrevocable split is the least of our worries. Of greater concern is the prospect of fighting in the streets. The party conference – scheduled for next month in the fissiparous city of Liverpool, but in some doubt because no security has yet been secured – will attract protesters, probably thousands of them. If it goes ahead, it could turn into the notorious Democratic Convention of 1968 in Chicago, a pitched battle outside the amphitheatre in which police used mace, tear gas and batons, and dozens were hurt including reporters and an observing British MP. Not surprisingly, the subsequent election was won by a Republican, Richard Nixon.

Whence this anger, this prospect of civil disobedience? First, consider a proposition: Jeremy Corbyn is the most popular politician in Britain. That the government and the media and the parliamentary Labour party are all in denial about it does not stop it being so. No leader has ever received a mandate comparable to Corbyn’s a year ago. No leader’s election has ever swelled the membership of any party like Corbyn’s has. No politician draws crowds like Corbyn does. No politician has so many groupings supporting him and promoting him on social media and through traditional word-spreading methods. Ignore the discredited opinion polls – Labour has done better than predicted in every actual electoral test since Corbyn became leader and is frequently gaining more than half the votes in this summer’s local by-elections. The support for Corbyn is unprecedented in modern British politics. Labour should be so lucky to have such a revered leader. Unelectable? Puh-lease. … continue

Israeli BDS Activist Seeks Political Asylum in Canada

Al-Manar | August 28, 2016

An Israeli activist who supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the Zionist entity said he requested refugee status in Canada.

Gilad Paz, 34, landed at Montreal International Airport on Aug. 11 after traveling from Tel Aviv and requested political asylum. He told a Canadian asylum officer that he is a BDS and human rights activist, Israeli news paper Haaretz reported.

A self-employed lawyer, Paz fled the occupied territories because he has been “politically persecuted” by the occupation authorities, he told the Ynet news website.

“I came to a conclusion that people like me have no place in Israel, and that’s why I’ve decided to leave before it’s too late,” Paz said.

Gilad_Paz“I do not believe in the State of Israel. I believe that the Zionist enterprise was a mistake in its essence, and we pay until today a hefty price for it.”

He added: “I support BDS because the State of Israel does not understand a different language.”

Paz said he decided to leave after Israeli public security minister, Gilad Erdan, and interior minister, Aryeh Deri, formed a government task force recently to prevent the entry of foreign BDS supporters and deport those who have already entered territories under Israeli control.

Paz said he chose Canada “because they are the most open to applications for political asylum.”

Turkish Allies in Syrian Opposition Drive Kurds From Settlements Near Jarabulus

Sputnik – 28.08.2016

Syrian opposition groups allied with Turkey and supported by Ankara’s forces, on Sunday drove Kurdish fighters from three settlements near the northern Syrian town of Jarabulus, a Kurdish source told Sputnik.

On Wednesday, Ankara announced that Turkish forces, backed by US-led coalition aircraft, had begun a military operation dubbed Euphrates Shield to clear Jarabulus of militants from the Islamic State jihadist group.

“Armed groups supported by Turkey have established control over the villages of Balaban, Amarna and Dabas, south of Jarabulus,” the source said.

The source added that Syrian opposition fighters supported by Ankara were fighting in the vicinity of the Bir Qusa village, with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the number of casualties already surpassing 40 people.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting a number of opposition factions and extremist groups.

Turkey has been shelling Kurdish militias in northern Syria along the Turkish border for months. Ankara has claimed that the Syrian Kurds have links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organization by the Turkish authorities.

Kurds Say Something’s Fishy About Turkey’s Swift Victory in Jarablus

Sputnik – 27.08.2016

Turkish armed forces and Syrian rebels pushed Daesh out of Jarablus within hours, despite previous unsuccessful attempts to free the border town since 2013, prompting Syrian Kurds to suspect that something was fishy with Ankara’s military incursion into the neighboring nation.

Abd Salam Muhammad Ali, a representative of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Russia, told Vzglyad that Turkish troops took control of Jarablus encountering almost no resistance. “Judging from how fast this ‘liberation’ took place, I have grounds to believe that this is a show. The militants shaved off their beards and rushed to join ‘moderates,'” he said. […]

“If Daesh was not Erdogan’s ally, could [Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army fighters] seize the city within hours? The United States and others have to see Erdogan’s secret thoughts. We are persistent in pursuing our anti-Daesh strategy and will fight against the militants until the end. The international community needs to know the truth. As long as Erdogan stays there, Daesh will not go anywhere,” he said. … Full article

The NATO Intervention in Libya, Act II

By Alexander KUZNETSOV | Strategic Culture Foundation | 28.08.2016

As recently acknowledged by The Washington Post, US Special Forces are directly involved in military operations in Libya, «coordinating American airstrikes and providing intelligence information» to local forces battling the Islamic State (IS) for Sirte, 450 kilometres to the east of Tripoli.

British special forces have also been active in Libya for several months, providing direct military support to brigades from Misurata (Libya’s third largest city situated in the northwest of the country), which are also attacking Sirte. Paradoxically, the British and Americans are supporting irreconcilable enemies in the Libyan conflict as allies. … continue

US defense industry lobbyist delivers a major Daily Mail fail

RT | August 27, 2016

The UK’s most popular mid-market daily, The Daily Mail, has long tried to straddle the line between serious political content and crowd-pleasing tabloid fodder. Sadly, in recent times quite a lot of its Russia coverage has been falling into the second category.

This is particularly true when it comes to using Vladimir Putin’s name to generate internet traffic, with click-bait pieces focused on the Russian President. Indeed, no less than 18 articles graced their special “Putin” section in the first 20 days of August alone.

While most of this constant innuendo is harmless enough, recently things reached a new low. With the headline “Is Trump a Russian agent? Top Kremlinologist presents a tantalizing and disturbing dossier on why the presidential hopeful could have closer links to the Kremlin than it may appear,” the Mail gave ample space to a lobbyist for US defense contractors to publish a factually challenged, and heavily biased, essay on Russia.

The entities that sponsor the author’s activities include Bell Helicopters, Lockheed Martin, the Raytheon Company, and Sikorsky Aircraft. In other words, precisely the same people who benefit the most from renewed tensions between Russia and the West. This support is neatly dressed up in a pseudo-academic sounding enterprise called CEPA (Centre of European Policy Analysis). But don’t be fooled – CEPA is no different from any other lobbying vehicle. … continue

Russian Journalist Found Shot Dead in Kiev Apartment

Sputnik – 28.08.2016

1044709047A Russian journalist was found shot dead on Sunday in an apartment in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev police said in a statement.

“Police are establishing the circumstances of the journalist’s death… Police received information about it about midnight [21:00 GMT]. When an investigative team arrived at the crime scene, a man with a gunshot wound to the head was found on the balcony. According to the preliminary forensic data, the death occurred between 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. It transpired that the man, born in the Russian Federation in 1962, had been living in Kiev for several years and was a head of an online media outlet,” the statement said.

The statement added that during the search, the investigators found a fired case, a rubber-bullet pistol and a suicide note.

Later in the day, Ukrainian media reported that the killed man was Alexander Shchetinin, who was the founder of the Novy Region news agency.

EU Lies to Moscow: Official Reveals Sanctions Not Related to Ukraine Peace Deal

Sputnik – 28.08.2016

Interviewed by Ukrainian radio station Radio EC-Evropeiska Stantsiya on the eve of his departure earlier this week, the ambassador, who played a critical support role in the EuroMaidan riots which culminated in the February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev, explained that Russia’s ostensible obligations under the Minsk agreements were in no way connected to European officials’ decision to prolong anti-Russian sanctions. Accordingly, Tombinski noted, the sanctions can be extended whether Russia ‘complies with its obligations’ or not.

The diplomat did not reveal what exactly those “obligations” might be, given that Moscow is not even a direct party to the conflict, but a mediator. Instead, he suggested that the sanctions were connected with Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine and the “annexation” of Crimea, whose population voted overwhelmingly to break off from Kiev and rejoin Russia amid the instability that followed the 2014 coup.

Tombinski’s remarks, essentially revealing that EU sanctions against Russia might remain in place indefinitely, come at an unfortunate time for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A day prior to his comments, Merkel reiterated to Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka the oft-used mantra that the EU’s sanctions were directly connected to Moscow living up to its commitments under Minsk. … continue

The Dumbed-Down New York Times

Consortium news | August 27, 2016

A New York Times columnist writes Americans are so “dumbed-down” that they don’t know that Russia “invaded” Ukraine two years ago, but that “invasion” was mostly in the minds of Times editors and other propagandists, says Robert Parry. – Read article

Shooting the messenger: Citizen journalists jailed for recording police

RT | August 27, 2016

Police practices are under fire as more and more recordings of excessive force and racist behavior surface. Some police departments have responded by trying to work with communities to regain trust lost, while others try to silence whistleblowers.

The availability of smartphones and cameras has empowered citizens to become guerrilla journalists who feel protected by the First Amendment. However, many have been shocked to discover revealing police misconduct may result in being targeted and harassed by law enforcement.

Filmmakers David Felix Sutcliffe and Laura Poitras have asked the documentary community to show their solidarity for civilian journalists by signing a petition. So far, the petition has at least 306 names, including multiple Academy Award-winning and nominated documentarians.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has endorsed their petition, saying in a statement, “Arrests of grassroots journalists who record police activities implicate not only the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, but also the very legitimacy of our legal system, which grounds its claim to power in impartiality. Yet, around the country, the law has subjected to penalties people pursuing constitutionally protected activities that enhance transparency, while turning a blind eye to the violence prompting residents to place themselves at risk.” … continue

Israeli forces fire tear gas at Palestinians watching football match

Press TV – August 27, 2016

Dozens of Palestinian football players and soccer fans have suffered tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces raided a stadium northeast of Jerusalem al-Quds on Friday.

Palestinian sources said some 1,200 people were watching a match between two clubs on Friday afternoon, when Israeli troops stormed the Faisal al-Husseini stadium in the town of al-Ram. The Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd, leaving dozens of people in need of medical attention. The motive behind the Israeli attack was not immediately clear.

Separately, five young Palestinian men were shot and injured in the town of Silwad northeast of Ramallah after clashes erupted at the funeral of the 38-year-old Iyad Zakariya Hamed. The Israeli military said they shot dead the man at the entrance to Silwad after they suspected him of running towards an army post.

Israeli media outlets initially said the slain Palestinian had opened fire from inside a car, and that a woman might have accompanied him.

They further alleged that the man was shot and critically injured inside his vehicle, and later succumbed to his gunshot wounds.

It was later revealed that the Palestinian man, who is survived by three children, was unarmed.

Meanwhile, three Palestinian youths suffered injuries from live fire during skirmishes with Israeli troops in the eastern Shuja’iyya neighborhood of the Gaza City.

Gaza’s Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said the trio sustained moderate gunshot wounds, and were transferred to hospital. … Full article

Israeli forces detain fisherman, open fire at farmers in the Gaza Strip

gazafarmers2Ma’an – August 27, 2016

GAZA – Israeli naval forces Saturday morning detained a Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, while Israeli forces opened live fire at Palestinian farmers working near the separation barrier east of the neighborhoods of al-Zaytun and Ash Shujayyiah.

Head of the fishermen union Nizar Ayyash told Ma’an that Israeli military vessels chased several fishing boats off the coast of Gaza, detaining Al-Abid Zaki Tarush, while the other boats fled.

Israeli forces also opened live fire at farmers east of Gaza city. Witnesses said Israeli forces stationed at the separation barrier between the besieged enclave and Israel and opened live fire at farmers working on the their lands. No injuries were reported. … Full article

US-Iran naval encounter ‘very dangerous’

RT | August 26, 2016

A US warship in Iranian territorial waters could have little to do with innocent passage and Iran had every right to try to chase it away feeling its security threatened, said independent researcher and writer Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich.

A US Navy ship reportedly fired warning shots at an Iranian military vessel which sailed too close in the Persian Gulf.

RT: The US fired warning shots at Iranian ships near Iranian waters? A bit of a funny situation, isn’t it?

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich: Well, yes. According to Stars and Stripes, the American military magazine, they were actually inside Iran’s territorial waters. … continue

At least 15 Yemenis killed in Saudi attack on civilian bus

Press TV – August 27, 2016

Saudi warplanes have killed at least 15 civilians in Yemen’s southwestern province of Ta’izz.

According to local media reports, the Saudi jets attacked a minibus carrying civilians in the Shar’eb region of the provinces.

Saudi planes also targeted a gas station and a power plant in multiple raids on the provinces of Sa’ada, Hajjah, and Amran.

Since Friday, Riyadh’s jets have hit the three northern provinces over 50 times, causing vast destruction and casualties. At least 11 people, including two children, died in a series of attacks on Sa’ada.

In another attack on Friday, nearly a dozen civilians, including two children, were killed and several others injured when Saudi military aircraft attacked various residential areas across the country. … Full article

Yemen’s Houthis reject Kerry’s initiative for peace

Press TV – August 27, 2016

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has rejected an initiative put forth by US Secretary of State John Kerry to resolve the crisis in the war-torn country.

Mohammed Abdulsalam, the Ansarullah spokesman, said Saturday that the offer aims at depriving the Houthis of their arms in their fight of resistance against the Saudi invasion.

“Whoever has a greedy eye on our weapons, we will have a greedy eye on his life,” Abdulsalam wrote in a message posted on Facebook.

Kerry earlier called on Houthis to hand over their weapons including ballistic missiles and to pull back from the capital Sana’a. In return, the US secretary of state said Houthis and allies can have a share in Yemen’s future unity government. … continue

Saudi Arabia Cries Foul Play in Yemen

By Catherine Shakdam | New Eastern Outlook | August 27, 2015

As the Yemen International Conference in the Support of Yemen was in full swing in the British capital, London, Yemenis came in their hundreds of thousands to pledge their support to the Resistance movement this August 20, 2016 – yet another popular show of force, yet another grand display of sovereign political will in the face of foreign diktat.

To the sounds of explosions, and flying Saudi war planes it is Yemen which came to defy its invaders; a proud nation under unprecedented duress, a land united under the banner of its resistance.

“We won’t bow down to the House of Saud” chanted the crowd. “We will never bow down to the criminal House of Saud,” millions repeated in unison.

If Yemen remains in the throes of a brutal war of attrition for its dared ambition to live free under its skies, its people are quite determined to weather whatever storm Saudi Arabia will throw, so that their right to self-govern and resist oppression could be affirmed – never to be questioned again.

However one chooses to look at Yemen’s war, it would be foolish to deny still that those brave souls corporate media still label as “rebels” are in fact the carrier of a nation’s will; the very expression of a people’s inherent right to carve its own political future, regardless of what anyone else might think.

Let me be brutally honest here – Yemen neither needs foreign approval, nor does it require foreign vetting. … continue

US Okay With Surgical Strikes on Yemen Hospitals

By William Boardman | Reader Supported News | August 24, 2016

Nuremberg: “a war of aggression … is the supreme international crime”

Waging genocidal war on a defenseless country was never so baldly and honestly put on any agenda for talks among US secretary of state John Kerry, representatives of Saudi Arabia’s dictatorship, and their mutual allies, even though they are all engaged in an endless genocidal war on Yemen.  This war is a war of aggression, started by Saudi Arabia in March 2015, with crucial US blessing, participation, personnel, and ordnance. The US has been a willing, guilty partner and enabler in 18 months of military atrocities in a one-sided war that everyone involved knew – or should have known – was a pure war crime based on a paranoid delusion. … continue

US drone attack kills 22 Afghan soldiers: Helmand council

Press TV – August 27, 2016

A US drone attack has killed 22 Afghan soldiers held by Taliban militants in the southern Helmand province, while Taliban have overrun a strategic district elsewhere.

Provincial officials announced the fatalities on Saturday. Taliban also confirmed the death toll, saying the airstrike had killed three of the group’s members in the Nad-e-Ali district on Thursday.

Helmand is a strategically important province for both the Afghan government and Taliban militants, who control or contest 10 of the 14 districts in the opium-rich province.

On Saturday, Taliban militants seized a strategic district in the eastern province of Paktia, from which they can surge towards several other provinces.

Officials said dozens of police and soldiers were killed as the militants captured the Jani Khel district after five days of siege.

Local governor Abdul Rahman Solamal said hundreds of militants attacked police check posts overnight, prompting security forces to flee the district. … continue

Russia-India oil deal at risk due to US sanctions – media

RT | August 26, 2016

US sanctions are threatening to derail Russian energy major Rosneft’s acquisition of a 49 percent stake in India’s Essar Oil, reports The Times of India.

The deal was curtailed by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, according to the daily.

In July 2014, the Department of the Treasury included Rosneft on the list of sanctioned Russian companies after Washington accused Moscow of involvement in the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine and of annexing Crimea. … continue

How I Was Blacklisted at CNN, and How Easily America Goes to War Now

By Peter Van Buren | August 26, 2016

It was about two years ago to the day I was blacklisted at CNN.

I don’t want to remind them they were sadly wrong, but they were. So write this off however you prefer, but understand that we were lied to again to drag us again into an open-ended war in Iraq-Syria. Last time it was Bush and those missing Weapons of Mass Destruction. This time it was Obama and saving the Yazidi people from genocide. … continue

Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery

By John Wight | CounterPunch | August 26, 2016

Syrian Kurdish forces have been among the bravest and most effective in the war against ISIS in Syria. However as things stand they may well also be on course to be the most treacherous.

Whether organized under the auspices of the PYD (People’s Protection Units) or SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) there is no doubting that the role played by the Kurds in northern Syria in first resisting and now taking the fight to ISIS will go down in history. But now as the Kurds continue their advance through Raqqa Province, closing in on Raqqa from the north, it is  clear that with the backing of US military forces, they are intent on exploiting the chaos of the conflict to carve out their own autonomous territory of Rojava (Western Kurdistan) with Hasakah as its capital.

Syrian concerns over the Kurds’ intentions were initially raised in March, when at a meeting in the town of Rmeilan in Hasakah Province the Kurds and their allies unilaterally declared a northern autonomous federation, which understandably the Syrian government refused to accept or recognize. In January, two months prior to the declaration of said northern federation by the Kurds, US troops had taken control of an airfield just outside Rmeilan. It doesn’t take a genius to discern a connection between both. … continue

Whitewashing Israeli War Crimes, the NYT Turns its Back on Survivors and Critics

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | August 26, 2016

So it’s settled, according to The New York Times: Israel was not at fault in a strike that killed 10 civilians near a United Nations school in the 2014 assault on Gaza, nor was it guilty of breaking the law in other instances that left innocent victims dead during that conflict.

This, at least, is what the Israeli military claims, and in a one-sided story in the Times this week, Isabel Kershner takes the Israeli military findings at face value, never questioning its conclusions or seeking commentary from outside sources.

She opens her piece with a summary of the military’s own account of the strike on the school, recounting it as established fact without attribution. Kershner goes on to say that the army also declared itself innocent of deliberately causing civilian deaths in two other attacks during the 51-day offensive: a strike on the Bureij refugee camp and the death of 12 members of one family in Rafah. The three cases were among seven closed without charges this week. … continue

Israeli commander threatens to ‘disable all youth in the camp’ as 2 Palestinians shot in Duheisha

Ma’an – August 26, 2016

393362CBETHLEHEM – Two Palestinian youths were injured with live fire during clashes with Israeli soldiers in al-Duheisha refugee camp in southern Bethlehem early Friday morning, as reports emerged of an Israeli army commander making repeated threats in recent weeks to make “all youth in the camp disabled.”

Local sources said that two youths were shot and injured in the legs during clashes that erupted after Israeli forces raided the camp in Friday’s predawn hours.

Sources added that Israeli soldiers raided and searched the house of the incarcerated Palestinian Muhammad al-Seifi, detaining his mother and sister by locking them inside their home to pressure Muhammad’s younger brother Naba to turn himself into Israeli authorities.

Israeli forces also blew off the door of the Ibdaa Cultural Center near the entrance to the camp and occupied the rooftop of the building, from where Israeli snipers fired live ammunition and tear-gas canisters at local youth. … continue

Unarmed Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces at military post near Ramallah

Ma’an – August 26, 2016

RAMALLAH – A reportedly unarmed Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces at a military post near the illegal Israeli Ofra settlement at the western entrance to the town of Silwad in northeastern Ramallah on Friday, contradicting earlier reports by Israeli media that he had opened fire at soldiers.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers stationed at a military post in Silwad identified a suspect on foot running toward them.

The Israeli soldiers “shot towards the suspect, resulting in his death,” the spokesperson said.

No injuries among Israeli soldiers were reported by the army.

Medics from the Palestinian Red Crescent who had arrived at the scene were reportedly prevented from accessing the site by Israeli forces.

Initial reports from Hebrew media, however, said the suspect had opened fire from inside a vehicle, and that a woman might have been inside the car with him.

According to reports, witnesses said that he was shot and critically injured while inside his vehicle, and was later pronounced dead.

When asked about the conflicting reports, and whether or not the suspect had been armed, the Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an the details of the incident were still being checked.

The suspect was later identified by local sources in the Ramallah area as 38-year-old Iyad Zakariya Hamed. He was married and a father of three.

Israeli news site Ynet quoted an anonymous Palestinian official as saying that Hamed suffered from mental illness and was not found to have any weapons on his person when searched, and no signs of gunfire were found on the guard post. … Full article

Bilal Kayed’s strike ends with agreement for his freedom; continued mobilization critical for fellow prisoners

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – August 26, 2016

bilalkayed-lucyorchardIn a press conference held on Thursday morning, 25 August, Sahar Francis, the executive director of Addameer, confirmed that Bilal Kayed had ended his hunger strike after 71 days following the conclusion of an agreement with Israeli occupation prison administration that he will be released in December 2016, with no renewal of administrative detention.

In the press conference, joined by Kayed’s brother Mahmoud Kayed, as well as Prisoners’ Affairs Committee chair Issa Qaraqe and Osama al-Saadi of the Joint List, Francis noted that occupation security officials had earlier stated that they demanded Kayed be deported to Jordan for four years and noted their intention of keeping him in administrative detention for years. Kayed is held in the intensive care unit at Barzilai hospital and was moved there on 19 August as he refused to consume sugar or vitamin B1. He suffers from blurred vision, difficulty breathing and severe pain throughout his body. He will receive treatment until his condition improves considerably and he is returned to health.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Bilal Kayed for his victory and achievement in the defense of Palestinian rights from the constant attempts of the Israeli occupation to expand, enlarge and intensify the scope of the imprisonment of Palestinian leaders and struggles. … continue

On ceasefire anniversary, UN agencies urge end to Gaza’s ‘de-development spiral’

MEMO | August 26, 2016

UN agencies have urged an end to what they describe as the Gaza Strip’s “de-development spiral”, in a report marking the two-year anniversary of the ceasefire that ended ‘Operation Protective Edge’.

In a statement released Friday, 16 heads of United Nations agencies in Palestine call for the “uninterrupted and predictable flow of material and increased funding to address humanitarian needs and boost economic prospects for Gaza’s 1.9 million residents.” … continue

Antiwar Coalition responds to attack by Terry Burke published in ‘In These Times’

Statement published on the United National Antiwar Coalition website, August 2016

… Terry Burke claims we are “U.S.-centric” for opposing our government’s attacks on Syria and attempts at regime change in that country. She claims that we have “ignored anti-Assad progressive Syrian voices.” But who has ignored what? Where in the U.S. corporate media are the voices of Syrians (both pro and anti-Assad) who want an end to the ISIS/Al-Qaida/U.S./NATO intervention in their country and have rallied to the side of their government to end it? The U.S. corporate media and some so-called progressives in the U.S. have focused on vilifying Assad rather than the U.S.-led war on Syria, which only leads to strengthening the forces who seek regime change and war. Should we add our voices to that chorus? Is that the best way to end U.S. intervention in Syria, which the overwhelming majority of Syrians oppose? We think not. … Read full statement

ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders

By David Swanson | War Is A Crime | August 26, 2016

ABC Television’s 20/20 will air a program on Friday called “The Girl Left Behind,” the main thrust of which is already apparent on ABC’s website.

The horribly tragic story is that of Kayla Mueller, an American held hostage and reportedly raped and tortured by ISIS before dying — it’s unclear how, possibly at the hands of ISIS, possibly killed by bombs dropped by U.S. ally Jordan.

Another hostage who was freed reported that ISIS blamed Kayla Mueller for U.S. actions in the Middle East. Among those actions, we learned this week, was imprisoning future ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at Abu Ghraib, not just at Camp Bucca as previously reported.

Mueller, like fellow ISIS victim James Foley, meant well and was in Syria to try to help people nonviolently. But U.S. policy has made it unsafe for Americans to travel to many places.

ABC will seek to pin blame for what happened to Mueller on Doctors Without Borders. She was kidnapped out of a Doctors Without Borders car, and that organization negotiated the freedom of its employees while refusing to help Mueller or even to trust her family enough to share with them information intended for them from ISIS.

But Doctors Without Borders was in Syria to help people and appears to have meant well. Blaming the doctors is easy to overdo here, and not just because the United States has been bombing its hospitals — acts that may not involve rape or torture, but do involve murder and maiming. The U.S. government could have helped Mueller by never having destroyed Iraq in the first place, never having sought to overthrow Syria, never having overthrown Libya, or never having flooded the region with weapons. Or the U.S. government could have negotiated with ISIS or allowed victims’ families to do so — something it now allows, too late for Kayla Mueller. Or the U.S. government could have announced new policies that ISIS would likely have accepted as ransom.

ISIS asked, in exchange for Mueller’s freedom, for the freedom of Aafia Siddiqui or $5 million Euros. If the U.S. government had, instead, offered an apology to the victims of its wars and prison camps, and massive reparations to the region, ISIS might very well have responded in kind. Instead, the U.S. government proceeded to bomb people, including many civilians, for a cost many times greater than $5 million Euros. … continue

Zarif rejects US claim of Iran arms shipment to Yemen

Press TV – August 26, 2016

Iran’s foreign minister has categorically denied the US claims that Tehran ships arms to Yemen, saying Washington itself knows better which international parties spread terrorism throughout the world.

Mohammad Javad Zarif was reacting to comments by US Secretary of State John Kerry who accused Tehran on Thursday of transferring “missiles and other sophisticated weapons” to “rebels” in Yemen.

“By such statements, the US administration has implicated itself in the Saudi regime’s war crimes and inhumane and infanticidal atrocities against the innocent and oppressed Yemeni people. It should undoubtedly accept responsibility and be answerable for all the inhuman crimes,” Zarif said.

Kerry made the accusations during a visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a brutal military campaign against Yemen for more than year.

The top US diplomat was in Jeddah where UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as well as representatives from Britain and Saudi Arabia’s Persian Gulf allies in the war had gathered to discuss the conflict.

“Mr. Kerry knows well better than anyone that the Saudi government has, over the past year and a half, been invariably and sternly frustrating all the efforts taken to bring about ceasefire in Yemen,” Zarif said. … continue

‘I Mediated Secret Talks Between Turkey and Syria’ – Former Intelligence Chief

Sputnik – 26.08.2016

In an interview with Sputnik, Ismail Hakki Pekin, former head of the intelligence unit of the Chief of Staff of the Turkish army, said that he took part in five behind-the-scenes meetings with representatives of the Syrian intelligence services. He did not conduct formal talks, but instead served as a mediator between Turkey and Syria.

“I took part in five meetings involving representatives of Turkey and Syria. We held the talks to assess the situation in general and determine whether bilateral relations could be restored,” he said. “Much in the same way that Turkey held negotiations with Russia.”

Two of the meetings took place in 2015 and three were held this year, he added. […]

For the last five years, Ankara has provided assistance to radical armed groups fighting to overthrow the government in Damascus and establish a caliphate.

Turkish leadership appears to have changed its foreign policy strategy when Binali Yildirim replaced Ahmet Davutoglu, the architect of Ankara’s failed approach to Syria, as the country’s prime minister.

Yildirim said that Turkey will focus on making friends, not enemies and improving relations with its embattled neighbor.

According to a recent report by Algerian newspaper al-Watan, there has been contact between the two governments mediated by the Algerian government. – Full article

Lots of Smoke Here, Hillary

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • August 26, 2016

Prediction: If Hillary Clinton wins, within a year of her inauguration, she will be under investigation by a special prosecutor on charges of political corruption, thereby continuing a family tradition.

For consider what the Associated Press reported this week:

The surest way for a person with private interests to get a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, or a phone call returned by her, it seems, was to dump a bundle of cash into the Clinton Foundation.

Of 154 outsiders whom Clinton phoned or met with in her first two years at State, 85 had made contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and their contributions, taken together, totaled $156 million.

Conclusion: Access to Secretary of State Clinton could be bought, but it was not cheap. Forty of the 85 donors gave $100,000 or more. Twenty of those whom Clinton met with or phoned dumped in $1 million or more. … continue

Unhinged Clinton blames Putin for rising popularity of right-wing leaders

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