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Current News and Analysis

Israeli army prevents farmers to pick olives in Burin

International Solidarity Movement | October 9, 2015

burin-600x450Burin, Occupied Palestine – This Friday morning, at approximately 10:30 am, a group of 6 soldiers came down the mountain from the illegal Israeli settlement, Arousa, in the village of Burin, to prevent the family of Ahmad Mustafa Najjar from picking their olives.

Early in the morning, a group of illegal Israeli settlers from Arousa came to the farm and began threatening and intimidating Ahmad’s family.

Ahmad’s uncle, Salah Najjar, telephoned Abu Mursi, from the District Coordination Office, to ask for help and managed to make settlers go away. Soon afterwards, a group of six soldiers arrived shouting aggressively and demanding the family to stop working.

The family protested and the commander argued they were not authorized to pick olives, despite the fact that the family owns the land and trees and, therefore, does not need to have a permit. International activists asked the commander and soldiers what was the reason to stop them from picking olives from their own trees inside their privately owned land, and the commander and soldiers would not give an answer. … continue

Video: Israelis Shoot Motionless Arab Woman

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | October 9, 2015

In the age of phone cameras, we have become increasingly used to photos and videos of Palestinians in the West Bank being shot by soldiers in unjustifiable circumstances.

Think of 18-year-old Hadeel Hashlamon, who was killed late last month at a checkpoint in Hebron. A series of photos of her suggest, in the words of Amnesty International, that she was “executed” by the soldiers there. She was shot multiple times and left to bleed to death.

The army claimed she had a knife, which they photographed on the ground nearby. But whether she was carrying the knife or it was planted there, still an issue that has not been resolved, the more important point is this: she posed no threat, let alone a lethal one, to anyone when she was killed.

Now we have a disturbing video of a similar shooting but this time not in the occupied territories. This occurs inside Israel and the victim is an Israeli citizen — a member of the country’s Palestinian minority, which comprises a fifth of Israel’s population.

Israa Abed, a 30-year-old mother of three from Nazareth, was shot today at the central bus station in Afula, close to Nazareth. She was surrounded by many soldiers, police and what appear to be armed Israeli civilians. The soldiers there are probably passengers on the many buses that pass through Afula.

The Israeli media initially reported that she was shot while trying to stab a security guard. The video (below) shows that to be definitively not the case. She is shot after long moments of standing apparently terrified in the bus station, in what looks like a state of all-consuming panic, as more and more people point their guns at her. … continue

Baby amongst children removed over Islamist radicalization fears

RT | October 9, 2015

More than 20 children including one baby have been taken into care over fears they could be subject to extremist views and radical Islam at home.

Children from at least 11 families have been subjected to court orders, which remove children into state care.

The youngest child is a one-year-old from Rochdale whose family were caught attempting to flee to Syria via Turkey earlier in the year.

The figures come after one of the most senior judges in the UK released new guidelines on the increasing number of extremist cases which are taken to family courts.

In many cases judges use court orders to protect children who are considered vulnerable to extremist behavior. The orders can include making the children wards of court, place them in foster care or prevent them leaving the UK. … continue

Political blackmail is real: Why lawmakers should care about electronic privacy more than most

PrivacySOS | October 8, 2015

Most good spy stories involve political blackmail. In the first season of the popular television show HOMELAND, about the CIA’s post-9/11 terror wars, the bearded old CIA veteran Saul meets with a federal judge to get a court order to conduct surveillance on someone in the United States without probable cause. The judge appears to balk for a moment, until Saul cryptically reminds him about that thing. With a look that says, “You got me, you bastard,” the judge relents and signs the order. The CIA, we are meant to understand, knows something about this judge that the judge does not want the rest of the world to know.

Knowledge actually is power. … continue

Oh Oil, where is thy peak?

By F. William Engdahl – New Eastern Outlook – October 9, 2015

There are two great myths used in recent years to convince the world of imminent catastrophe unless we drastically change our living style in the direction of austerity. Both myths are based on scientific fraud and uncritical propagation by sympathetic mainstream and even some alternative media. One is the idea that world climate is warming, or at least “changing,” owing almost solely to us, to our man-made emissions. The second great myth, launched first in 1956 in Houston Texas by an employee of one of the world’s largest oil companies, was dusted off some 15 years ago at the start of the Dick Cheney-George W. Bush Administration. It’s called the theory of Peak Oil.

The good news is our coastal cities are not about to be washed away by melting icebergs or rising oceans, nor is our supply of conventional oil and gas–hydrocarbons–likely to run out for centuries or more. It has nothing to do with the highly damaging and very costly extraction of tight oil from shale rocks, but with the abundance of conventional oil around the world, the vast part of which has yet to be discovered or even mapped. … continue

Vice News, Sputnik and the Cold Nature of Proper-ganda

By Katerina Azarova – Sputnik – October 7, 2015

Sputnik’s coverage is often completely at odds with how the same story is reported in the West”, writes Vice News reporter Justin Ling. He was specifically addressing our coverage of the Canadian election, but the sentiment is spot on. Thanks for getting us, Justin. That’s precisely what we’re trying to do here.

Vice, which started out as a Canadian magazine and grew into an international media empire, is known for its in-depth, yet highly comprehensible coverage of international news. So it’s flattering, I guess, that they would pay attention to our articles, albeit a little confusing as to why.

After diligently mentioning all the right buzzwords — “Kremlin” and “propaganda” – in the very first paragraphs, Justin moves on to say that Sputnik is “directly run by the Russian government” – but claims that information is “scrubbed daily from the news outlet’s Wikipedia page”. And it is bizzare.

Now, I know, and you know, that journalists rely on Wikipedia for a quick fact check or background details to a story. But I would never expect a reporter of Ling’s stature to be using Wikipedia as a news source. (No offence, Wikipedia).

I’ll admit, curiosity got the better of me and I, too, checked out Sputnik’s Wiki page. … continue

Duma rejects proposal of daily national anthem singing in schools

RT | October 9, 2015

The Lower House Committee for constitutional law has turned down the proposal of the nationalist parliamentary party LDPR to make every Russian school start the classes with joint performance of Russia’s national anthem.

The author of the initiative, MP Maksim Shingarkin, has claimed that it would help to make the younger generation respect Russia’s state symbols, as well as make the anthem more popular.

However, the committee rejected the motion without even discussing it, reported TASS. … Full article

On British role in Syria and plans for FT reported ‘safe zones’

By Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom | RT | October 8, 2015

Will Damascus request the British to assist in the same way, I don’t know. But there is another way for the British, and, in fact, everybody else, to carry out airstrikes against ISIS and other terrorists legitimately. It means a UN Security Council mandate, provided in response to the request of the Syrian Government. That is what we are now working on in New York. That is how the British could have their finger in the bombing pie in Syria. Russia is far from pulling this blanket upon herself. We want to work together.

There are other advantages of this course, besides establishing clear-cut objectives and terms of such collective intervention by the international community in Syria. We could agree, in the text of this resolution, on realistic and flexible enough modalities of a political settlement in Syria, which would allow those who left their country to come back and take part in its post-war reconstruction. The latter, by the way, could be a major source of economic growth in the region. What is equally important, this settlement will make it unnecessary for the EU to provide asylum to refugees from Syria.

I’ve read the said FT material. Some would say that it is very much in line with the backstabbing tradition of Western politics. … continue

The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots

By Cesar Chelala | CounterPunch | October 9, 2015

… As the United Nations is trying to negotiate the future use of autonomous weapons, the U.S. and U.K. representatives want to support weaker rules that would prohibit future technology but not killer robots developed during the negotiating period. That delay would allow existing semi-autonomous prototypes to continue being used.

The need for a pre-emptive ban on the development and use of this kind of weapon is urgent. As Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions stated recently, “If there is not a pre-emptive ban on the high-level autonomous weapons, then once the genie is out of the bottle it will be extremely difficult to get it back in.” – Read full article

Israeli stabs, injures 4 Palestinians in Dimona

Ma’an | October 9, 2015

BETHLEHEM – An Israeli suspect stabbed and injured four Palestinians in the city of Dimona insouthernIsrael on Friday, Israeli media reported.

The unidentified Israeli reportedly first attacked a 35-year-old Bedouin laborer before fleeing the scene and stabbing another three Palestinian Bedouin workers, all reported to be in their 50s, Israeli news site Ynet said.

Three of the victims are employees of the Israeli state’s Dimona municipality.

Two of the men received moderate to serious injuries and were taken to Soroka hospital for treatment, while the two others were lightly injured.

The Israeli suspect, said to be 17, was detained.

The stabbing attack comes after reports that a mob of Israelis attacked Palestinians in the central plaza of the city of Netanya late Thursday, with crowds of Israelis throwing chairs at Palestinians and chanting “Death to Arabs” and “Netanya residents are taking care of Arabs.”

On Thursday, at least seven Israelis were injured in stab attacks by Palestinians, with one Palestinian suspect shot dead at the scene of an attack in Tel Aviv.

Later, a Palestinian man, Wissam Faraj, 20, was shot dead during a raid in Shufat refugee camp to search the home of a man who had earlier attacked an Orthodox Israeli in Jerusalem.

Fierce clashes were reported across the occupied West Bank for the seventh consecutive day on Thursday, with at least 800 Palestinians injured by Israeli military forces since Saturday, including over 60 with live fire.

Video: Palestinian woman shot after alleged stab attack in Afula

Ma’an | October 9, 2015

BETHLEHEM – A Palestinian woman was shot and injured after an alleged stabbing attempt in Afula on Friday, Israel’s army and police said.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said a Palestinian woman attempted to stab an Israeli security guard and was shot at the scene.

Israeli media said she was seriously injured.

A video of the incident shows the Palestinian woman surrounded by Israeli security forces at the bus station and appearing to hold an object in her hand.

Amid shouting, the security forces open fire multiple times at the woman, who drops to the ground. She appears to pose no threat to the heavily armed forces when she was shot. … Full article

Casualty Count: 794 Palestinians, 7 Israelis—NY Times Obsesses on Israeli Victims

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | October 8, 2015

Isabel Kershner in The New York Times tells us that Palestinians are running amok, lashing out at Israelis not only in the West Bank but now in Israel as well. Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed to quell this “wave of terrorism,” she reports, and Israelis are “unnerved” by the spread of incidents.

Kershner describes three alleged stabbing attempts, dwelling at length on one of them; recaps an earlier incident that left two Israelis dead; and in the final paragraphs of her story informs us that “at least two” Palestinians were killed, one of them a 13-year-old boy “described as a bystander.”

Nowhere do we learn that the major victims of violence in this turbulent conflict are Palestinians, not Israelis, as revealed in a recent United Nations report: In one week, ending Oct. 5, Israeli security forces injured 794 Palestinians, while Palestinians injured a total of seven Israelis. (As of Oct. 5, 30 Palestinians had been killed in 2015 compared with eight Israelis.)

This is an injury ratio of more than 100 to one, a shocking disparity, but the Times story shows concern only for Israeli injuries and fears. We find no accounts there of what the Palestinian victims experienced as they faced the aggression of heavily armed security forces. … continue

Five killed, Including a Child; 25 Injured as Israeli Troops attack Gaza Protests

IMEMC News & Agencies | October 9, 2015

Five Palestinian civilians, including a 15-year-old boy, were reported killed on Friday midday by Israeli troops’ live gunfire in two separate protests organized in Gaza City and Khan Younis, south.

Three youths were killed and at least 20, injured as clashes erupted in the area surrounding the Nahal Oz military base located to the east of Gaza city.

Israeli troops also opened live gunfire at Palestinians protesting Israeli violations and attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank. … Full article

Saudi airstrike kills five, including a child in Yemen

Press TV | October 9, 2015

A Saudi airstrike in western Yemen has killed a child and four other people, local media report.

The five lost their lives when Saudi warplanes bombed a residential area in al-Hudaydah Province on Friday. […]

Meanwhile, Stephen O’Brien, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, has demanded an impartial probe into the recent deadly aerial raid on a wedding ceremony. “I call for a swift, transparent and impartial investigation into this incident.” … Full article

MoJ to continue selling services to Saudi prisons

Saudi juveniles now in ‘solitary confinement’ far from families, says father

Reprieve | October 9, 2015

The father of Ali al-Nimr, a Saudi juvenile facing execution for his role in protests, has spoken of his uncertainty and concern about the fate of his son, as it emerged Ali and a second juvenile are now being held in solitary confinement in a prison in Riyadh.

56178264c46188154b8b4623Speaking last night, Mohammed al-Nimr said that the family hadn’t seen their son since 15th September, saying: “I’m very worried now, because they’ve moved my son to a prison in Riyadh, and he’s in solitary confinement – I fear he could be executed at any moment.” He added that Ali was among several other young men sentenced to death in the wake of protests, including Dawoud al-Marhoon, whose sentence of beheading was upheld last week.

Both Ali and Dawoud were 17 when they were arrested in the wake of protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Both received death sentences after being tortured into ‘confessions’ used to convict them in the country’s secretive Specialized Criminal Court. Executions are shrouded in secrecy in Saudi Arabia, and it is possible that both juveniles could now be executed at any time, without prior notification to their families. … continue

Cell Phone Video Clears Canadian Man of Assault Charges Despite Phone Going Missing in Police Custody

By Alexandra J. Gratereaux | PINAC | October 8, 2015

These days, a simple cell phone can make the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.

At least it did for Abdi Sheik-Qasim, who was cleared of assault charges thanks to a video he recorded of the interaction he had last year with two Toronto-based cops.

The best part?

Despite the phone going missing while in police custody, it instantly uploaded a duplicate copy of the 10-second video clip directly to Sheik-Qasim’s email, giving him the proof necessary to clear his name.

“It saved my life, or at least a lot of headaches,” Sheik-Qasim told The Toronto Star, who broke the news last week. “I would have probably been in jail right now.” … continue

North Carolina police officer who killed black man quits, gets $180,000

Press TV | October 9, 2015

Local authorities in the US city of Charlotte, North Carolina have decided to pay some $180,000 to a police officer who fatally shot a black man to death and then resigned.

The police officer, named Randall Kerrick, was charged with fatally shooting Jonathan Ferrell, an African American college football player in 2013, according to city officials.

In August, Kerrick admitted that he fired at least 12 bullets at his victim.

Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter and had been suspended without pay since September 18, 2013. However, due to the jury’s inability to reach a verdict, the case ended in a mistrial.

On Friday, CNN reported that the city of Charlotte-Mecklenburg has reached an agreement with Kerrick to pay him thousands of dollars for the case.

The separate payments include close to $113,000 in back pay and unused vacation days, as well as a hefty $50,000 in attorney’s fees and other Social Security and retirement contributions required by the law. […]

Data by the Washington Post shows that a total of 601 people were shot dead by US police officers in the first eight months of 2015. – Full article

Connecticut Cops Blast Own Empty Car in Fear For Lives, Face State Firearms Charges

By Grant Stern | PINAC | October 8, 2015

Two Connecticut cops were hanging out together off-duty when suddenly, they feared for their lives, drew their firearms and hosed down a suspicious car in their driveway.

Too bad the car was empty.

And belonged to one of the officers.

Then the Darien Police Department did something even more shocking.

Darien police asked the Connecticut State Police to investigate the incident, leading to charges against the two officers for second-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree breach of peace and unlawful discharge of a firearm under state law. … continue

Neither Served, Nor Protected

By Holly Dickson | ACLU | October 7, 2015

web15-blog-jus-arkansas-1160x768When 16-year-old Matthew Robinson and his mother, Eva, took their dog out for a walk one September evening four years ago, they never once thought they’d end up in a federal courtroom. Yet that’s where they have been as their terrifying case against two police officers was put in the hands of a jury this week in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Tased, beaten, and terrorized – the Robinsons were not suspected of any crime when they were stopped by police beside their home in Dover, Arkansas. The catalyst for the stop was innocent: Matthew looked and waved at Dover Deputy Marshall Steven Payton as he drove by. Payton admitted this behavior is perfectly legal, yet said he found it suspicious. That led to Matthew being beaten, tased multiple times, kicked, searched, and arrested while his mother was also beaten, handcuffed, choked, and arrested. Her glasses were broken as her face was repeatedly slammed into the hood of a patrol car.

Dover Deputy Marshall Steven Payton testified that he detained the Robinsons and their dog in the back of his patrol car, with the intent to take them to jail solely to identify them. … continue

UK police get 8 ‘radicalization’ referrals a day

RT | October 8, 2015

Eight people per day on average are being referred to police on suspicion of extremism under the government’s new counter-radicalization scheme, according to figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

This summer 796 people were referred to the UK’s Channel program, which is meant to target people deemed vulnerable to radicalization. The NPCC numbers, obtained by the Press Association following a freedom of information request, show that 312 of those referred were minors.

Channel is part of the government’s Prevent counter-extremism initiative. The scheme’s purpose is to prevent terrorism and curtail extremism, defined by the government as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values.”

Specifically, Channel seeks to provide guidance and counseling to individuals suspected of being vulnerable to extremism.

Under the program, universities, schools, local councils and other public bodies are legally required to alert the police when they suspect that someone may be under the influence of extremism. Of those referred, some 20 percent are required to undergo counseling after assessment. … Full article

Tehran Has No Info on Cruise Missiles Which Allegedly Landed in Iran

Sputnik – 08.10.2015

Iranian defense ministry believes reports on “fallen Russian cruise missiles” are part of the intensified western propaganda war, according to a source.

Tehran has denied US reports that four of Russia’s cruise missiles targeting ISIL actually fell to the ground in Iran, with the country’s defense ministry calling the accusations “psychological war.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry also refutes US media reports of an alleged incident involving cruise missiles which were fired at ISIL positions in Syria on October 7, stating that all missiles hit their designated targets.

“No matter how unpleasant and unexpected for our colleagues in the Pentagon and Langley was yesterday’s high-precision strike on Islamic State infrastructure in Syria, the fact remains that all missiles launched from our ships have found their targets,” ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

On Thursday, CNN reported that four of the 26 missiles fired from Russian warships in the Caspian Sea went off target and crashed in Iran. That report was based on anonymous Pentagon sources, who despite claiming to have evidence of the targeting malfunction, could not identify where, precisely, the missiles landed. … Full article

MH-17 Yet Again, Poring Over the Data (and Translations); Serious Factual Errors by Time and Western Media

By Mike “Mish” Shedlock | Global Economic Trend Analysis | October 7, 2015

For most, the shoot-down of flight MH-17 over Ukraine is a forgotten memory. Western media has continually trumped up one of three stories.

  1. Russian-backed rebels did it
  2. Russia did it
  3. Russian-backed rebels did it with Russia’s help

The extent to which Western media fabricated all sorts of lies to make those claims is still not widely known or understood.

Reader Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who speaks and reads Russian, and who works for the US government (but speaks only for himself), just recently decided to review some video footage and translations offered by Time Magazine on July 17: Russia Is Blocking Justice for the Victims of Flight 17.

Dreizin emailed Time about factual errors in the article a few days ago. He sent this letter to Time. … continue

NYT: Putin is “enemy No. 1 in the Sunni Muslim world”

Sputnik – 08.10.2015

In the US information war aimed against the Russian air campaign in Syria, perhaps no outlet has been more misleading than the New York Times.

Writing for America’s newspaper of record, columnist Thomas Friedman wrote fairly candidly of his opinion on Russia’s Syria campaign.

“Putin stupidly went into Syria looking for a cheap sugar high to show his people that Russia is still a world power,” Friedman wrote in the NYT last week. “Watch him become public enemy No. 1 in the Sunni Muslim world. ‘Yo, Vladimir, how’s that working for you?’”

As Patrick L. Smith points out, writing for Salon, “most of ‘the Sunni Muslim world’ is as appalled by the Islamic State as the non-Sunni Muslim world.”

But Friedman’s unfounded statements shouldn’t be altogether surprising, given his employer’s history of toeing the line of the US government. … continue

Pentagon funding bill on Obama’s desk: $600 mln to Syrian rebels, $300 mln to Kiev

RT | October 8, 2015

The defense funding bill for 2016 includes some lavish support to rebels in Syria and lethal aid to the current Ukrainian government. Although President Barack Obama is at loggerheads with lawmakers over some of the provisions, they are likely to remain. […]

While the White House and the lawmakers are in dispute over the details, they appear to be in agreement on continuing to send military aid to the regime in Ukraine and the elusive “moderate rebels” in Syria.

Some $600 million has been earmarked for a program to support “appropriately vetted” Syrian rebels, fighting against both the government in Damascus and Islamic State.

Section 1225 of the NDAA allocates $531.5 million directly to the Syria Train and Equip program, and directs an additional $25.8 million to the US Army and $42.8 million to the US Air Force, to cover the costs of their participation. […]

The text of the bill as reconciled between the House of Representatives and the Senate lays out the conditions for the aid, including the provision that the Pentagon must prevent the weapons, ammunition and supplies given to the rebels from falling into the hands of IS, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda, the Khorasan Group, “any other violent extremist organization,” as well as “Syrian Arab Army or any group or organization supporting President Bashir [sic] Assad.”

Washington insists that the government of President Assad is the “root of all evil” in Syria and that regime change in Damascus should be pursued parallel to the struggle against Islamic State. […]

“Lethal assistance” to Ukraine

Section 1250 of the NDAA allocates $300 million to the “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative,” aimed at propping up the government in Kiev. The bill instructs the Pentagon to coordinate with the State Department to “provide appropriate security assistance and intelligence support, including training, equipment, and logistics support, supplies and services, to military and other security forces of the Government of Ukraine.”

Lawmakers have allocated no less than $50 million for “Lethal assistance such as anti-armor weapon systems, mortars, crew-served weapons and ammunition, grenade launchers and ammunition, and small arms and ammunition.”

US troops have been training Ukrainian government soldiers at Yavoriv, in western Ukraine, since this spring. However, this is the first time that Washington has authorized lethal aid for Kiev. The program also includes drones – described as “unmanned aerial tactical surveillance systems” – as well as electronic and cyber warfare capabilities and “actionable intelligence.” … Full article

Mexican Marines Place Community Under Siege, Disappear Two People

teleSUR | October 8, 2015

Mexican marines raided a small community in the northern state of Durango and opened fired on homes with no known reason, while two young males were forcibly disappeared, neighbors told Sinaloan newspaper RioDoce.

“The troops of the Ministry of the Navy arrived in the community of El Verano and began firing at houses,” the witness said, according to RioDoce.

The newspaper said the El Verano inhabitant told them that about 15 families live in the community, still “besieged” by the marines.

The unidentified person that spoke with RioDoce said they were unaware if there were any victims, but said they saw a funeral home hearse driving through the small community. […]

A witness, identified as Lorena Silvas, said, “There are many complaints by people of other small communities near the municipality of Tamazula near El Verano, and they say there too many abuses being committed by the marines.”

Silvas said there are reports of marines carrying out raids on homes without search warrants, where they “take with them everything they find.” … Read full article

Israeli forces raid Nablus home, confiscate over $5,000

Ma’an – October 8, 2015

NABLUS – Israeli forces confiscated some 20,000 shekels ($5,200) after raiding several homes from the Tell village in western Nablus early Thursday, locals said.

Locals told Ma’an that more than 15 Israeli military vehicles raided the village at 2:00 a.m., searching several homes before clashes erupted between Israeli forces and locals.

Tell resident Jamal Ahmad Ayyub Abu Asideh said that Israeli forces searched his home and confiscated 18,500 shekels ($4,800) and 210 Jordanian dinar ($300) from his house claiming that the money belongs to the Hamas movement.

The forces detained his son Walid last week, he added. … Full article

Red Crescent: Israeli troops leave 1,289 Palestinians injured in 5 days

Palestine Information Center – October 8, 2015

RAMALLAH – At least 1,289 Palestinians have been left wounded in clashes with the Israeli occupation troops across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported Thursday.

According to official data released by the Red Crescent, 1,298 Palestinian civilians have been injured over the past five days, 76 among whom sustained live bullet wounds and 344 sustained rubber bullet injuries. … Full article

Israeli forces spray Beit El checkpoint area with skunk water

Ma’an – October 8, 2015

RAMALLAH – Israeli forces sprayed skunk water in northern al-Bireh on Thursday as a preemptive measure to prevent Palestinian protests in the area, locals said.

Israeli military forces used the putrid smelling water in the al-Balou area near the Beit El checkpoint, where clashes have taken place for the past six days.

The Birzeit University students’ council called for a march in the area on Thursday.

A day earlier in the same area, undercover Israeli forces dressed as Palestinian protesters detained three injured youths during clashes that erupted near the Beit El settlement checkpoint, northeast of al-Bireh, in an incident captured on camera by multiple journalists and bystanders. … Full article

Video: Israel lures protesters into trap

By Jonathon Cook | The Blog From Nazareth | October 8, 2015

This two-minute video, taken on October 7 in the West Bank near Ramallah, is worth studying carefully to understand how Israel has become so adept at managing the Palestinian population under occupation and at foiling their efforts at resistance.

We can see about 20 men, faces concealed, who look like they are Palestinian protesters throwing stones at the army. In fact, they are what are called “mistaravim”: Israeli security forces in disguise as Palestinian youths.

According to those who witnessed this incident (see update below), the mistaravim began throwing stones at the army in a piece of theatre to lure other Palestinians to the protest.

Then, as we can see in the video, when a few Palestinian protesters separate themselves from the main body of the crowd they are picked off by the mistaravim, like lions going after a gazelle.

Notice, once they have grabbed the main Palestinian in this video, they shoot him in the knee and take turns kicking him.

We can’t see what happens next, but the routine is well known. … continue

Yemen’s Houthis conditionally agree to UN-brokered peace plan

Press TV – October 8, 2015

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has expressed conditional support for a UN-brokered peace plan put forward in talks previously held in Oman.

The Ansarullah movement will agree to the seven-point peace plan, which also requires adherence to UN Resolution 2216, if other parties to the conflict also commit to the initiative, Yemen’s Saba Net news agency quoted Ansarullah spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam as saying on Wednesday.

The resolution, which was adopted in April, calls for the withdrawal of Ansarullah fighters from the areas under their control and for them to lay down arms.

Abdulsalam also called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council to back Yemen’s peace process.

Yemen’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, has not yet commented on Houthi’s new position. He had earlier ruled out engaging in talks with the Houthis before they accept the UN resolution.

Yemen’s General People’s Congress (GPC), the party of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, has also accepted the peace plan. … continue

That Awkward Moment When One Nobel Peace Prize Winner Bombs Another

By Dan Sanchez | ANTIMEDIA | October 6, 2015

… Doctors Without Borders won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. President Obama was awarded his in 2009. As Commander-in-Chief of the military that bombed the Doctors Without Borders hospital, this makes Obama perhaps the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to bomb another Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Or maybe not? Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, and he masterminded the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos for President Nixon around that time. Shortly thereafter, it came to light that in that campaign, hospitals were routinely targeted for bombing. As The Nation recently reported:

“A letter from former Army captain Rowan Malphurs said that in 1969 and 1970, he analyzed aerial photographs where B-52 bombs (the ones ordered by Kissinger) fell on Cambodia: “I saw on several occasions where possible hospitals had been bombed…. On another occasion I observed a red cross on a building that was partially destroyed by bombs.”

By then, the Red Cross had already been awarded its three Nobel Peace Prizes. … Read full article

US Rules Out Independent Investigation Into Afghan Hospital Attack

Sputnik – 07.10.2015

WASHINGTON — The United States rejects calls for independent international investigation into the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan after the group had demanded one, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.

“The Secretary [of Defense Ashton Carter] prefers the Defense Department to investigate this. The Secretary has the utmost trust and confidence in the Defense Department‘s ongoing investigation,” Kirby said. […]

Too Little Too Late: Obama Apologizes

US President Barack Obama spoke by telephone with MSF International President Joanne Liu on Wednesday and apologized to her for the attack, but Liu continued to insist that the United States permit an independent outside inquiry into the attack.

“Even war has rules,” Liu stated. “This was just not an attack on our hospital. It was an attack on the Geneva Conventions. This cannot be tolerated.”

MSF has described the attack as a war crime and has urged Obama, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, to agree to a humanitarian commission established under the Geneva Conventions. – Full article

US Clears Gitmo ‘Forever Prisoner’ Mohammed Kamin for Release

Sputnik – 07.10.2015

WASHINGTON — The US government’s interagency Periodic Review Board has officially cleared for release Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mohammed Kamin, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) reported on Wednesday.

“Clearing Mr. Kamin for release was the right decision. It is also the right decision for numerous other men who remain trapped in indefinite detention at Guantanamo,” CCR Senior Managing Attorney Shayana Kadidal said in a press release.

Kamin is a native of Afghanistan and has been in custody at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for more than 11 years without any specific charges against him.

Prior to being cleared by the Periodic Review Board, Kamin was deemed a “forever prisoner,” one designated for indefinite detention without clearance for release or transfer, even though he was not charged with a crime. … Full article

Prelude to Iguala: “Heavy-handed police tactics” used against Ayotzinapa students in 2011

National Security Archive | October 7, 2015

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne said that “evidence of heavy-handed police tactics” was “strong and disconcerting” after a 2011 clash with student protestors from Ayotzinapa normal school left two youths and a gas station employee dead and several others wounded, according to a declassified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

Authorities in the Mexican state of Guerrero “reacted defensively and insensitively by blaming the victims and denying any responsibility” for their part in what the Embassy cable called a “chaotic student protest” in which “both police and protestors resorted to violent tactics.”

The newly-declassified cable was obtained by the National Security Archive under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and was the focus of an article published today by the award-winning team of investigative journalists at Mexico’s Aristegui Noticias.

The deadly 2011 incident against students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Normal School in Ayotzinapa came less than three years before 43 students from the university were disappeared and six others were killed after being detained by police forces in Iguala, Guerrero on the night of September 25-26, 2014. More than a year later, the federal government’s theory about what happened that night lies in ruins, and the families of the victims are no closer to knowing the fates of their loved ones. … continue

TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal

By Joyce Nelson | CounterPunch | October 7, 2015

We still don’t know all the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal tentatively agreed to on Oct. 5 by negotiators from 12 Pacific Rim countries, but already critics are slamming it for many reasons, including its generous concessions to the pharmaceutical industry.

Doctors Without Borders claims the TPP will “go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries.” [1] That’s because the TPP will extend patent protection for brand-name drugs, thereby preventing similar generic drugs (which are far less costly) from entering the market. This will drive up the prices. … continue

US slams Russia for striking terrorists

Press TV | October 7, 2015

The United States has condemned Russia for striking the Western-backed militants in Syria and denied that it is cooperating with Moscow in this regard.

Speaking at a press conference in Rome, Italy, on Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter called the airstrikes against terrorists “a fundamental mistake”.

“I have said before that we believed that Russia has the wrong strategy — they continue to hit targets that are not ISIL. We believe this is a fundamental mistake,” Carter claimed, using an acronym for the Daesh terrorist group.

“Despite what the Russians say we have not agreed to cooperate with Russia so long as they continue to pursue a mistaken strategy and hit these targets,” he added.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry said it was considering proposals from the US to coordinate operations against ISIL terrorists. … continue

Iraq to officially request Russian military action against Daesh

Press TV | October 7, 2015

Iraq is planning to officially ask Russia for airstrikes against Daesh in a bid to purge the Takfiri militant group from the territories it controls in the west and north of the Arab country.

“We might be forced to ask Russia to launch airstrikes in Iraq soon. I think in the upcoming few days or weeks Iraq will be forced to ask Russia to launch airstrikes and that depends on their success in Syria,” the head of the Iraqi parliament’s defense and security committee, Hakim al-Zamili, said on Wednesday, urging Moscow to play a bigger role than the United States in fighting terrorists in Iraq.

Baghdad has long criticized the ineffectiveness of the aerial military campaign by Washington and its allies against alleged Daesh positions in Iraq. However, Moscow’s recent military intervention against the terrorists in Syria has raised hopes of a similar move in Iraq.

“We are seeking to see Russia have a bigger role in Iraq. … Yes, definitely a bigger role than the Americans,” Zamili said. … continue

Guantánamo reinstates genital searching policy to prevent lawyer-client meetings

Reprieve | October 7, 2015

This week, two clients of international human rights NGO Reprieve chose not to meet their attorneys at Guantánamo due to reinstated genital searches, raising fears that the searches are being used in a deliberate attempt to stop detainees from meeting with their lawyers.

Staff at Guantánamo told Reprieve attorney Cori Crider during her visit this week, that cleared detainee Samir Moqbel refused their meeting because he didn’t want to submit to the genital search.

Guantánamo staff explained in prior filings that the search involved invasive searches of the prisoner’s groin “by placing the guard’s hand as a wedge between the [detainee’s] scrotum and thigh . . . and using [a] flat hand to press against the groin to detect anything foreign attached to the body,” after which a guard “uses a flat hand to frisk the detainee’s buttocks to ensure no contraband is hidden there.”

In 2013, during the height of a mass hunger strike at Guantánamo, the genital searches were the subject of litigation in US federal court, and were eventually discontinued by camp authorities. A judge who ordered the searches should be stopped wrote: “the choice between submitting to a search procedure that is religiously and culturally abhorrent or forgoing counsel effectively presents no choice for devout Muslims like petitioners.” … continue

Palestinian locals continue to ward off settler attacks in West Bank

Ma’an | October 7, 2015

B83xtyeCcAIV4biNABLUS – After days of attacks by Israeli settlers throughout occupied Palestinian territory, Palestinian residents continue attempts to prevent settler attacks in their towns and villages.

Overnight Tuesday, dozens of Israeli settlers gathered near the main entrance to Majdal Bani Fadil south of Nablus and attempted to attack the village, said Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank.

Daghlas told Ma’an that the settlers closed the road with rocks before local Palestinian men took to the street and clashed with the group, preventing an attack.

A similar attack by settlers was prevented in the Palestinian village of Jit, between Nablus and Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, as residents clashed with settlers at the village entrance. … Full article

Zionist Settlers Kill Palestinian Woman after trying to Remove Her Hijab

Al-Manar | October 7, 2015

Zionist settlers killed a Palestinian woman in al-Quds (Jerusalem) on Wednesday after trying to remove her Hijab.

Palestinian sources said that when two terrorist settlers tried to strip the woman of her Hijab, she defended herself by trying to stab him. Immediately, one of the settlers shot the woman from a close range.

The woman was heading to al-Aqsa Mosque, before being attacked by the settlers, eye witnesses said.

However, Israeli media didn’t mention that the settlers attacked the woman first.

According to Israeli Channel 10 news, the incident took place near the Lions Gate in the Old City, and the Israeli man sustained light injuries.

Tensions had been steadily mounting in al-Quds and across the West Bank in recent weeks due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinians seeking to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Violent confrontations took place in the West Bank over the weekend in which at least 230 Palestinians were wounded with around 90 of them with live ammunition.

Rafah crossing closed for 47 days

Palestine Information Center | October 7, 2015

GAZA – The Egyptian authorities continued to close the Rafah border crossing for 47 consecutive days, Palestinian Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

Since the beginning of the year, the Rafah border crossing has been closed for 259 days.

The Ministry has called on Egyptian authorities to urgently open the Rafah crossing and to help stop the deterioration of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The Ministry also asked for allowing the travel of thousands of people and the return of hundreds of others stranded on the Egyptian side of Rafah.

25,000 people are in dire need for travel including patients, students and holders of foreign passports.

Obama Boots Syrian Peace Chance

Consortium News | October 6, 2015

President Obama thinks he can appease the neocons and liberal hawks by talking tough about Syria and Russia but – in doing so – he is throwing away a promising opportunity to resolve the Syrian conflict, plus he still gets bashed by Official Washington’s pundits, writes Robert Parry. – Read article

US lies and excuses for bombing hospital

By Jonathon Cook | The Blog From Nazareth | October 7, 2015

Here is the US changing its story for the FOURTH time of why it launched an air strike on the Doctors without Borders hospital in the Afghan town of Kunduz at the weekend, massacring at least 22 patients and hospital staff.

As Glenn Greenwald has doggedly pointed out, the western media have been faithfully changing their account repeatedly and largely uncritically of what happened to keep in line with US claims. CNN and the New York Times have been particularly egregious offenders. The media monitoring group FAIR has also produced a revealing overview of the NYT’s coverage of the strikes on the hospital.

Almost all of the corporate media began by distancing the US from the attack, with some indicating that it was possible the hospital’s destruction simply coincided with US air strikes in that area. The BBC used the painfully evasive “Afghan air strike” in an early headline, suggesting the possibility of an illusory Afghan air force, to keep the US out of the picture.

Then, the US admitted it was responsible but claimed the strike was an accident. The problem, however, was that this story too was not credible: Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) had given the US and Afghan forces the GPS coordinates of the hospital and called the US military to tell them of the attack during the strike to no avail.

Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, exemplified the western liberal community’s torturous efforts to avoid considering US responsibility for such a serious war crime. He wanted us to think about Assad rather than Kunduz in this astonishing, deflectionary tweet (since deleted). … continue

Britain to order 4 new Trident nuclear submarines – Cameron

RT | October 7, 2015

Britain will order four new nuclear submarines, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

In a clear message to anti-Trident Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the PM said four new submarines would be ordered to replace the existing fleet, which will be retired.

In his first conference speech since the Tories won a parliamentary majority in May’s general election, Cameron used the occasion to present a strong opposition to Corbyn’s foreign policy stance, highlighting the importance of a strong nuclear deterrent.

He told a packed hall that the nuclear deterrent is the country’s “ultimate insurance policy,” adding that the government would commit to the NATO defense spending target of 2 percent of GDP.

October – 2015

September – 2015


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