By Dan Glazebrook | Middle East Eye | June 24, 2015
The Yemen peace talks in Geneva broke down last week before they even got underway – indeed, the delegations never even made it into the same room, let alone reaching an agreement. That this was so came as no great surprise either to observers or participants of the disastrous war in Yemen. But in all the talk of ‘mutual recriminations’ and ‘intransigence on both sides’, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that these talks failed because the aggressors – that is, the Saudi-led and British-US sponsored ‘coalition’ bombing the country – wanted them to fail.
The central fact is that the ceasefire proposed by UN Secretary-general Ban-Ki Moon – a basic condition for peace talks everywhere – was blocked by the Saudis. The Houthis, naturally enough, refused to negotiate whilst the Saudis were still bombing. The Saudis refused to stop bombing until the Houthis withdrew from all the cities they captured during the war. In other words, whilst the Houthis sought a mutual ceasefire, the Saudis demanded nothing less than abject surrender as the precondition for negotiations. Given that the Houthis have suffered very few territorial losses since the Saudis began bombing in March, this was obviously never going to happen. … continue
By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • June 30, 2015
It now appears that the longest drawn out negotiations in history since the Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War will again be prorogued. I am, of course, referring to the P5+1 talks in Vienna seeking to come up with a peaceful resolution to the problem of Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program. Today represents the third deadline as the negotiations have already been extended twice, ostensibly to permit further discussion of details of timing for the lifting of sanctions as well as verification and inspection procedures.
I refer to a “nonexistent” program as the frequently cited intelligence suggesting that a weapon was being developed has turned out to be based on forgeries provided by the Israelis. Currently, both the CIA and Mossad agree that no such program exists though both Washington and Tel Aviv persist in suggesting that Iran might change its mind and therefore must not even be able to develop relevant technologies in the future.
In theory an agreement should have been reached long ago as the two basic elements are well understood: Iran wants an end to sanctions and the United States plus its negotiating partners want a verifiable end to existing and potential programs in Iran that could possibly produce a nuclear weapon. The devil would appear to be in the details but that is not necessarily the case as the real problem is political. The talks have in fact been subject to a relentless media campaign by Israel and its friends in the U.S. to derail any possible agreement, to include a number of appearances by none other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before both the United Nations and the U.S. Congress. Netanyahu has been warning that an Iranian weapon is imminent since 1996 and he has even produced a cartoon showing a bomb with a ticking fuse to illustrate his thinking on the issue. … continue
Press TV – June 29, 2015
Footage has been released online purportedly showing members of an extremist Hindu organization thrash a Muslim man in India’s northern and most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.
Videos posted on social media networks show radicals from the Bajrang Dal organization, whose ideology is based on fundamentalist Hindutva, verbally abusing the victim as a fanatic mercilessly beats the man, identified as Riyaz, with a belt in the city of Muzaffarnagar, situated approximately 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital, New Delhi, and in front of a large number of onlookers.
The ill-fated Muslim man is being tormented on the accusations that he was attempting to slaughter a cow in Shamli district of the city. Riyaz, however, has dismissed the claims and said he was just present at the site, where the cow was allegedly being slaughtered.
The video further shows Indian police forces arresting the victim, while taking no actions against Bajrang Dal extremists.
Meanwhile, local civil groups have blamed Samajwadi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party – the two major Indian political parties – of rekindling sectarian strife in Muzaffarnagar. … continue
Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp |June 30, 2015
Now, with the seizure of a Swedish boat in international waters, The New York Times can no longer ignore Flotilla III, the latest attempt to break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. So we find a story today that ends the paper’s silence on this weeks-long saga that began in Gothenburg last month.
Times readers learned nothing of the Marianne and her three companion vessels as the international organizers of the flotilla announced their plans and gathered crews throughout the spring. Even when one of the boats was sabotaged last week or when a Palestinian member of the Knesset announced that he was joining the group, none of these events appeared in the Times.
Those who checked out The Washington Post, Newsweek, CBS News or Israeli media would have known that Flotilla III was on its way to Gaza, with the Swedish vessel approaching the strip and the others far behind. The Times, however, avoided any mention of the effort until today, when the Israeli navy announced that it had seized the Marianne and was taking her to the port of Ashdod. (The other vessels by then had turned back toward Europe.)
Now the Times has published an article by Diaa Hadid on the seizure, and her piece gives precedence to Israeli spin… continue
Jerusalem – Hebrew newspaper Haaretz today revealed that Israel and Jordan have been involved in negotiations for a number of months concerning reopening Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount to non-Muslim visitors.
Haaretz further clarified that there would be procedures put in place in order to prevent visitors being refused entry on the grounds of their religion.
Al-Aqsa Mosque has been closed to non-Muslims since the outbreak of the third Intifada in 2000, before which Jewish and Christian people were also allowed to enter freely.
Although Palestinians hold custodianship of the holy site through Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, head imam and manager of al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel claims sovereignty over all of Temple Mount.
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) are permitted to patrol the site despite control of the mosque officially being held by the Islamic Waqf Trust, who are independent of the Israeli government.
Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday morning, a young Palestinian man in occupied East Jerusalem, less than 12 hours following his release, after he spent six and a half months in an Israeli prison for “incitement on Facebook.” Soldiers also kidnapped his father.
The WAFA News Agency said the soldiers kidnapped Tareq Khaled al-Kurd, 21 years of age, and his father, after storming their home in the Sa’deyya neighborhood, in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Both Tareq and his father were moved to an interrogation center, near the Hebron Gate, and have been questioned for the public celebrations, in the Old City, that followed the son’s release.
Tareq spent six and a half months, for what the Israeli police and security devices called “incitement on his personal Facebook page.”
By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | June 30, 2015
It seems as if Israel is about to regurgitate the script which reads that it is debating whether or not to retain its membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Following the publication of the council’s inquiry report on last year’s Operation Protective Edge, which deemed that both Israel and Palestinian resistance factions may have committed war crimes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, during a closed meeting held on Monday, that a re-evaluation of Israel’s membership of the UN organisation will take place. “As a result of the report, we will consider whether to remain or to leave the council,” he was quoted by the Times of Israel.
The UNHRC report, which Israel slammed as biased, employed the usual diplomatic jargon that absolved, rather than accused, the settler-colonial state of war-crimes, despite the extensive destruction, targeted killings and massacres committed by the Israeli military in Gaza last summer (and on previous occasions). … continue
Al Khalil, Occupied Palestine – At 18:30 PM on the 29th of June 2015, masked settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Beit Hadassah attacked Palestinian houses and souq (market) with a water hose and stones.
Shadi Sider, a Palestinian man, had to be hospitalized due to a stone thrown by a settler that hit him in the knee. The settlers attacked the Sider family home, the water went inside the living room, completely soaking the interior including a computer.
During the attack, an Israeli settler arrived with an assault rifle. Israeli soldiers were present throughout the entire incident, they stood and watched but never intervened to stop the settler violence. They were standing above the Palestinian market, which they occupy.
Six children, all under the age of five years old, were present in the family home at the time of the attack; stones were also thrown at the property. This is not the first time that the family home has been attacked by settlers. Just last Saturday, the settlers sprayed water at the same home and threw stones. The Sider family home overlooks the settler basketball court and illegal settlement of Beit Hadassah.
Twenty Israeli soldiers were present in the souq after the incident today. They came into the Sider home, looked around, and left without speaking to Shadi Sider’s wife, whose home was just attacked by settlers. Time and time again settlers have attacked the Sider family home yet none of them are ever reprimanded for doing so.
Video provided to ISM by the Sider family.
By Richard Sudan | RT | June 29, 2015
Three of the four boats in the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla have turned back as the flagship Marianne was intercepted by the Israeli military and rerouted to Ashdod port. If Israel was a democracy it would grant this boat safe passage to Gaza.
These activists are peaceful people sailing in international waters, and are attempting to bring aid, and to donate a fishing boat to the people of Gaza, who are at the mercy of one of the most ruthless and sophisticated armed forces in the world. An attempt to stop them while they are in international waters, itself constitutes a breach of international law. Israel commits war crimes which are acknowledged by the United Nations and many human rights organizations. Let’s consider who the real terrorists in this scenario are. It isn’t the people struggling to have a decent quality of life in the most densely populated piece of land in the world. The idea that Palestinians could present a threat to such a powerful state as Israel is simply ludicrous. Israel holds the political, military, and economic power and controls the information narrative.
We should never forget when thinking about the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, that when Israeli forces stormed the Mavi Marmara in 2010, in an act of piracy, they killed nine people with one person later dying from injuries. The authorities have acted as if no crime was ever committed and as if Israel has nothing to answer for. That is state-sponsored violence with complete impunity.
Our boat is the last to set sail. However, we were told Sunday that our boat for now remains in Athens, and is not moving. At the moment, that’s all I can say.
For this reason, at the time of writing, we are preparing to deviate from the original plan and are making alternate plans to reach our ultimate destination. I would like to be specific at this point but… continue
A man under investigation for allegedly beheading his boss and trying to blow up a gas factory in France claimed that his actions were not religiously motivated, a source close to the investigation told Reuters.
Yassin Salhi, 35, told the police he was not a jihadist and committed the attack the day after a spat with his wife, and several days after a quarrel with his boss, Herve Cornara. […]
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls spoke about the necessity of combating Islamic extremism after the incident.
“We cannot lose this war, because it is essentially a war of civilization,” he told radio Europe 1. “It is our society, our civilization and our values that we must defend,” he added.
Neighbors described Salhi as a calm and non-religious man who lived in a Lyon suburb with his wife and three children, aged from six to nine. … Full article
By ROBERTO J. GONZÁLEZ | CounterPunch | June 29, 2015
The most expensive social science program in history–the US Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS)–has quietly come to an end. During its eight years of existence, the controversial program cost tax payers more than $725 million. The Pentagon distributed much of the funding to two large defense firms that became the HTS’s principal contractors: BAE Systems and CGI Federal.
HTS supporters frequently claimed that the program would increase cultural understanding between US forces and Iraqis and Afghans–and therefore reduce American and civilian casualties. The program’s leaders insisted that embedded social scientists were delivering sociocultural knowledge to commanders, but the reality was more complex. HTS personnel conducted a range of activities including data collection, intelligence gathering, and psychological operations. In at least one case, an HTS employee supported interrogations in Afghanistan (Weinberger 2011).
The program also served a more insidious function: It became a propaganda tool for convincing the American public–especially those with liberal tendencies–that the US-led occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan were benevolent missions in which smart, fresh-faced young college graduates were playing a role. It appeared to demonstrate how US forces were engaged in a kinder, gentler form of occupation. Department of Defense photos portrayed HTS personnel sitting on rugs while drinking tea with Afghan elders, or distributing sweets to euphoric Iraqi children. Here was a war that Americans could feel good about fighting. … continue
By Mitchell Thompson | Disinformation | June 28, 2015
With the case of the Canadian-brokered General Dynamics light armored vehicle sale to the Saudi Arabian government, Canada’s manufacturing sector has become complicit in human rights abuses abroad.
The question of benefit could be framed like this: is General Dynamics employing more people than its equipment is killing?
The Globe and Mail reported that Ed Fast, Canada’s Minister of International trade said, the deal will help the manufacturing area in London to “become the epicentre of a cross-Canada supply chain directly benefiting more than 500 local Canadian firms… Our government will continue to support our exporters and manufacturers to create jobs, as part of our government’s most ambitious pro-trade, pro-export plan in Canadian history.”
That export plan, justified by job-creation involves the sale of light armoured vehicles, manufactured in Canada that the Globe and Mail describes as having “effective firepower to defeat soft and armored targets… options for mounted guns include a 25-mm cannon and 7.62-mm machine guns and smoke grenade launchers.” … continue
At least 15 civilians, including women and children, were killed and several others injured when Saudi fighter jets launched a fresh round of airstrikes against various areas in Yemen as Riyadh pushed ahead with its atrocious onslaught against its impoverished southern neighbor.
Saudi military aircraft conducted attacks against a residential area in Sarwah district of Yemen’s central province of Ma’rib, situated approximately 120 kilometers (74 miles) east of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on Monday. Nine members of a family lost their lives and three others sustained injuries, the Arabic-language al-Masirah satellite television network reported.
Six civilians, among them two women and three children, were also killed as Saudi warplanes struck Shibam Kawkaban district in the western Yemeni province of al-Mahwit, situated 53 kilometers (29 miles) northwest of of Sana’a.
Moreover, Saudi jets carried out more than twenty aerial attacks against Sahar and Majz districts of Yemen’s northwestern province of Sa’ada, though there were no immediate reports of casualties and the extent of the damage inflicted. … Full article
The Coup and Its Aftermath
By ERIC DRAITSER and RAMIRO S. FUNEZ | CounterPunch | June 29, 2015
June 28 marked the six year anniversary of the military coup in Honduras – the day that a democratically elected left wing government was ousted by a US-backed, US-trained cabal of generals and right wing politicians and landowners. It could correctly be called a “Quiet Coup” primarily because it took place with very little fanfare from the corporate media which, to the extent that it covered it at all, did so mostly from a distorted perspective which spread more misinformation than truth. Today, six years (and many innocent lives, and billions of dollars) later, this shameful moment in recent history still remains largely forgotten.
Perhaps it was the lingering euphoria felt by liberals and so-called progressives in the months after Obama’s election and inauguration. Perhaps it was the still new economic crisis and subsequent bailout and financial turmoil. Perhaps it was plain old imperialistic, neocolonial disregard for Latin America and the rights of the people unfortunate enough to be living in “America’s backyard.” Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the Obama administration and those who supported it, then and now, are complicit in an ongoing political, economic, and social tragedy in Honduras.
But why bring it up now, other than to mark the anniversary of the coup? For starters, because one of the primary participants and benefactors happens to be the likely Democratic Party presidential candidate: Hillary Clinton. Also, far from being a discrete episode of US imperialism’s sordid past, the coup and its legacy remain a driving force in Honduran politics and society today. The beneficiaries and participants are all still either in government or have shifted to the private sector, and continue to enrich themselves at the cost of the poor and working people of the country [though alleged coup orchestrator Miguel Fucase just died]. The coup government of Honduras continues to wage a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against minority communities to benefit itself and its patrons from the US and elsewhere. … continue
The BRICS Post | June 29, 2015
Fifty countries on Monday signed the articles of agreement for the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the first major global financial instrument independent from the Bretton Woods system.
Seven remaining countries out of the 57 that have applied to be founding members, Denmark, Kuwait, Malaysia, Philippines, Holland, South Africa and Thailand, are awaiting domestic approval.
“This will be a significant event. The constitution will lay a solid foundation for the establishment and operation of the AIIB,” said Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei.
The AIIB will have an authorized capital of $100 billion, divided into shares that have a value of $100,000. … continue
By Justin Gardner | The Free Thought Project | June 29, 2015
Milwaukee, WI — Wisconsin governor Scott Walker may be the darling of mainstream Republicans for next year’s presidential election, but “less taxation, less government” is an illusion under his current tenure. Milwaukee residents will soon be forced to pay an extra 15% tax surcharge that will go toward public financing of a new sports arena, under a plan put together by this champion of limited government.
The 15% surcharge will apply to Milwaukee County residents who are behind on their property taxes or court fines. Walker’s sports arena plan calls for the state to take over the collection of Milwaukee County’s old debt and use it to help pay for half the cost of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.
This blatant example of extortion and public-private cronyism is troubling to Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan Jr. … continue
By MICHAEL HUDSON | CounterPunch | June 29, 2015
Back in January upon coming into office, Syriza probably could not have won a referendum on whether to pay or not to pay. It didn’t have a full parliamentary majority, and had to rely on a nationalist party for Tsipras to become prime minister. (That party balked at cutting back Greek military spending, which was 3% of GDP, and which the troika had helpfully urged to be cut back in order to balance the government’s budget.)
Seeing how unyielding the opposition was, Syriza’s stance was: “We would like to pay. But there’s no money.”
This kept throwing the ball back into the troika’s court. The Institutions were so unyielding that Syriza’s approval rating in the polls rose by 13% by June. Greek voters became increasingly incensed at the Troika’s demand for further pension cuts and privatizations. … continue
By F. William Engdahl – New Eastern Outlook – 29.06.2015
It’s scarcely a day passes that there isn’t some fascinating new development bringing Russia and China closer in peaceful economic cooperation. The most recent such development involves what must be described as a win-win development in which Russia has agreed to lease prime Siberian agriculture lands to a Chinese company for the coming fifty years. It fits beautifully to plans for the development of the world’s largest infrastructure project, the planned New Silk Road Economic Belt, a network of new high-speed railway lines criss-crossing Eurasia from China to Mongolia to Russia and beyond ultimately to the EU.
The Chinese government officials in recent years are very fond of talking about “win-win” developments in business and politics. Now a genuine win-win development is emerging for both China and Russia in Siberia near the borders of Mongolia and China in the region known since 2008 as Zabaikalsky krai or region.
The region has a very sparse population of just over 1 million Russians on a land area of some 432,000 square kilometers. It also holds some of the richest, most fertile farmland in the world. China for its part is hurt by increasing desertification, water problems and other pressures on its food production security. China also has population and money to invest in worthwhile projects, something the more remote regions of the Russian Federation have had serious deficits of during the Cold War and especially since the destructive Yeltsin years. … continue
RT | June 29, 2015
The prime minister of Norway, Erna Solberg has described NATO’s defense spending plans as “nonsense.” The alliance wants members to spend two percent of their GDP on defense, but Oslo, one of the world’s richest countries, says it won’t meet the target.
“If I am allowed to speak, I think the percentage goal is nonsense,” she said in an interview with the Norwegian Armed Forces’ Forum Magazine, as cited by the Local. “The aim of the NATO countries must be the greatest possible defense capability, not a percentage goal in itself,” she added.
Solberg added that while meeting the two percent target may be easier for countries enjoying strong economic growth, it would be harder for those within the alliance whose economies are shrinking. … continue
By Mostafa Mohie | Mada Masr | June 28, 2015
The families of detained journalist Mohamed Saber al-Battawy and photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, started a sit-in on Sunday at the Journalists Syndicate until the release of their relatives.
Battawy’s wife, Rofaida al-Safty, told Mada Masr, “We don’t know why my husband has been detained, we and his lawyers haven’t seen him yet, despite the fact that he has been prosecuted and received a 15-day detention order pending investigation.”
Safty explained that on June 17 at dawn, “a masked force broke into the house and confiscated personal documents, books and Battawy’s hard drive.” Safty wasn’t home when this happened, but Battawy’s father was with him and recounted the details to her.
When Battawy’s father asked about where his son would be taken, he was told “Toukh Police Station,” but Safty didn’t find him there or at any other station within Qalyubiya Governorate, and his arrest was denied by those she asked.
“We called around, notified the syndicate, as well as state-owned Akhbar al-Youm media oulet, and filed a complaint with the general prosecutor and interior minister. We even called the human rights division within the ministry, who asked us to call again, but when we did, their phone was off, Safty recounted. … continue
Following an assessment on Saturday that long-time hunger striker Khader Adnan was near death, Israeli authorities finally reached a deal with the ailing prisoner and agreed to release him on July 12th.
Taking to Palestinians and Israeli activists who gathered just meters outside of Adnan’s hospital room in the Assaf HaRofeh Israeli Medical Center, Adnan’s lawyer confirmed the agreement, and said “Adnan has taken his first sip of milk after 54 days of hunger striking, following an official written agreement for his release on July 12, 2015.”
“Khader Adnan is sending his greeting to you all, every man and woman, every person who supported him, and those who gathered here; he was very moved when you were chanting for him and for his release,” the lawyer said, “He sends his regards to the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, and historic Palestine, and every person who supported his struggle, he wishes to see you all in his home in ‘Arraba Jenin, once he is released.”
Following the agreement, Adnan’s wife said she managed to visit her husband, who appeared to be very week physically due to his extended hunger strike, but was filled with determination and steadfastness.
“His steadfastness has led to this deal for his release, a deal based on his legitimate demands,” she added, “This was the first day that we managed to visit Adnan, and stand by him, we want to thank all solidarity activists, and every Palestinian.”
“I saw his pain, all the suffering he has been going through during his strike,” she stated, “He ended his strike victorious despite all the suffering, his health condition is still serious but at least now he has ended his strike, this is a victory for all of us”.
The 54-day hunger strike by Khader Adnan, and other similar long-time hunger strikes, has drawn attention to the Israeli practice of holding Palestinian prisoners without charges, often for years on end, under a practice euphemistically known as ‘administrative detention’.
While the Israeli authorities did not agree to end the practice of administrative detention (one of the demands of the hunger strikers), they did agree to release Adnan unconditionally, and not to detain him again.
Adnan has been hospitalized for the past three weeks, and has refused all food, drink, and in recent days even water.
His family was allowed to visit him on Sunday for the first time in the 54 days since his hunger strike began, and his wife was reportedly “horrified” by his near-death condition. She decided to remain outside the prison hospital rather than returning home, and stage a 24-hour a day vigil until her husband’s release. […]
The deal reached between Adnan’s lawyers and Israeli authorities comes just days after an Israeli Cabinet committee decided to allow force-feeding of hunger striking prisoners. The order allowing force-feeding came largely in response to Adnan’s hunger strike, and was extremely controversial when it passed.
The Israeli Medical Association refused to support the measure, saying its doctors would not participate in force-feeding, which is considered torture under international law.
Khader Adnan agreed to start taking fluids and then food after the deal was reached for his release. Israeli authorities have abducted Adnan nine separate times, each time holding him without charge.
They claim that he has some connection with the resistance group Islamic Jihad, but have never offered evidence. … Full article
Press TV | June 29, 2015
A Jewish institute has proposed “outing” of anti-Israel professors from universities in the United States in order to reduce anti-Israel activity on American college campuses.
The Jewish People Policy Institute said in its 2014-2015 annual assessment that there are over 300 anti-Israel groups at American universities and they are responsible for resolutions passed by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
According to the report published on Sunday, severe anti-Israel activity “is limited to around 20 campuses, mainly in California and in some elite eastern schools.”
“We recommend exposing ‘activist’ faculty members who use their academic lecterns to advance an anti-Israel agenda,” said the report.
It suggested enlisting Jewish donors in efforts “to prevent the misuse of academic freedom in promoting a politicized anti-Israel platform.”
Other suggestions are promoting “additional departments for Israeli studies programs on campuses” and increasing “cooperative endeavors with Israeli universities.”
The group gave the report to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. … Full article
MEMO | June 29, 2015
Activists in Britain are planning to block an Israel-linked arms factory to mark one year since Israel’s devastating assault on the Gaza Strip.
In what organisers are billing as “the biggest, most beautiful action” ever seen at a UK arms factory, buses of activists from around the country will descend on Shenstone in the West Midlands on July 6 for “a day of creative action in solidarity with Palestine.”
Last August, during Israel’s attack on Gaza, activists occupied the roof of the UAV Engines Ltd factory in Shenstone, which is owned by the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. The drone engine factory was shut for two days as a result, which activists claim cost the company more than £180,000.
Elbit-produced drones are used by the Israeli military, and were used to conduct attacks during ‘Operation Protective Edge’.
A year on, and activists plan to ‘Block the factory’ on July 6, “transforming the space around the arms factory… into a fun, creative and child-friendly environment.” … continue
Palestine Information Center | June 29, 2015
GAZA – The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) stated that Freedom Flotilla 3 will continue to sail towards Gaza shores despite the Israeli act of piracy against Marianne boat that leads the flotilla.
Member of the ECESG Rami Abdo said in a press conference on Monday that the three additional ships will set sail within 48 hours.
Abdo called on the Arab countries and the international community to take firm positions against the Israeli act of piracy in the Mediterranean. … Full article
By Stephen Lendman | June 29, 2015
Gaza has been lawlessly blockaded for nine years – entirely for political, not security reasons. Israel wants its 1.8 million people slowly suffocated.
Flotilla III is the latest humanitarian mission bringing vital aid – symbolic of how much more is needed and a call for world leaders to intervene responsibly for suffering Gazans, victimized by Israeli viciousness.
The latest news from Ship to Gaza Sweden reads as follows… continue
By Eva Decesare | The Free Thought Project | June 27, 2015
Detroit, MI — Or so says the official policy of the Detroit Police Department. Yet, on Wednesday, Detroit police continued a high-speed chase into a busy neighborhood, resulting in two small children being killed and others injured.
Brother and sister Michaelangelo and Makiah Jackson, ages 6 and 3 respectively, were playing in front of their home when a police car appeared, chasing what appeared to be a red Challenger. According to eyewitnesses, the police car bumped the Challenger, and the car “flew up in the air.” Witnesses heard tire squeals, as if the car was attempting to stop, but by then it was going too fast and had lost control and hit the two small children, killing them instantly.
A friend of the family described the horrible scene… continue
Our leaders and media push time-worn nonsense about American innocence, while taking aggressive moves. Look out
Have you picked up on the new trope du jour? We are all encouraged to bask in our innocence as we lament the advent of a new Cold War. The thought has been in the wind for more than a year, of course, at least among some of us. But we witness a significant turn, and I hope this same some of us are paying attention.
As of this week, leaders who know nothing about leading, thinkers who do not think and opinion-shaping poseurs such as Tom Friedman are confident enough in their case to sally forth with it: The Cold War returns, the Russians have restarted it and we must do the right thing—the right thing being to bring NATO troops and materiel up to Russia’s borders, pandering to the paranoia of the former Soviet satellites as if they alone have access to some truth not available to the rest of us. … continue
By Danielle Ryan | Russia Insider | June 23, 2015
The scale of the migrant crisis Europe is facing today cannot be understated. It is truly unprecedented. What is habitually understated, however — and in fact almost completely ignored by mainstream media — are the real roots of the crisis.
The debate around migration into the EU is happening nearly entirely without reference to the causes of the recent influx of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. The elephant in the room is NATO and nobody really wants to talk about it.
Hundreds of articles, laden down with numbers and proposals and predictions fail to make any direct link between cause and effect. News anchors sit seemingly baffled, mouths agape, at the apocalyptic-like pictures they are seeing land on their desks, and yet few are willing to draw the appropriate conclusions. But it is such a basic and logical connection that it’s hard to believe it is not being made very loudly and very persistently.
Maybe it’s just that these journalists are so conditioned to framing U.S. and NATO policy in a positive light that the links don’t even really occur to them. Or maybe they’re simply embarrassed and trying to shift focus from their long-recorded support for various military interventions in these countries.
Either way, the result is that the story is framed in such a way that it makes the timing of the crisis sound almost random. We’re witnessing a conversation about how to ‘deal’ with boats full of Libyans making their way across the Mediterranean — as if Libya was a country that had just self-imploded yesterday, and for no discernible reason.
A fierce debate is raging over ‘what to do’ about these migrants — and in a way that’s understandable because that is the more immediate problem — but the debate we really need to be having is about the policies, NATO’s policies, which were the catalyst. … continue
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Two Palestinian citizens sustained wounds overnight Saturday after they were attacked by a horde of Israeli extremist settlers in al-Khalil and Occupied Jerusalem.
57-year-old Ziad Mohamed Younes Mukhamra sustained critical injuries after he was aggressively attacked by Israeli settlers in al-Khalil’s town of Yatta.
Coordinator for the anti-settlement committee in al-Khalil, Rateb al-Jabour, said a group of settlers residing in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Yair violently attacked Mukhamra in an attempt to kill him, resulting in serious injuries to the head and all over the body.
Another group of Israeli vandals physically assaulted the youngster Ibrahim al-Alami in Occupied Jerusalem. The injured youth was transferred to hospital to be urgently treated for the inflicted wounds.
By Celine Hagbard | IMEMC News | June 28, 2015
On June 26th 2015, four boats of the 2015 the Freedom Flotilla III set sail toward Gaza to try to break Israel’s nine-year-long economic siege on Gaza. The ships are planning to sail from international waters directly into Palestinian waters, with no Israeli involvement. But just hours after setting sail, the captain of one of the ships took note of a military reconnaissance plane that appeared to be tracking the ships.
The captain of the lead ship, ‘The Marianne’, noticed military vessels and reconnaissance planes near Marianne on Saturday afternoon. The crew could not identify nationality for neither the vessels or the planes. The vessel and plane disappeared around 5pm, and the crew has not seen any sign of them since then.
According to a statement by the group, the Flotilla is due to reach Gaza in just a few days. Participants on board include about 50 human rights activists, journalists, artists, and political figures representing 17 countries. This is the third Freedom Flotilla, in addition to nine single boats that have undertaken to sail to Gaza, beginning in 2008 when several voyages reached Gaza City harbor and returned to Europe after their mission of bringing supplies and solidarity to the people of Gaza. … continue
Sputnik – 27.06.2015
Months after the Saudi government pledged to single-handedly meet the United Nations’ (UN) “flash appeal” for humanitarian aid to Yemen, Riyadh is making it clear that the donation doesn’t come without strings attached.
On April 12, as the Saudi-led air campaign rained bombs over Yemen, the UN issued an emergency flash appeal calling for $274 million in aid for the country to address the increasingly dire humanitarian condition. Less than 24 hours later, the call was met entirely by the very government that was leading the attacks against Yemen.
Overseen by the UN Office for Coordination of Human Affairs (UNOCHA), emergency funds are meant to be distributed quickly to where they are most needed. Over two months have passed since Riyadh pledged the full $274 million, however, and the money has yet to be delivered to Yemen.
A UN memo obtained exclusively by VICE news has revealed the reason for this delay is the restrictive conditions the Saudi government has placed on the aid disbursement. What’s more, the UN appears to have consented to these conditions.
On Tuesday, Riyadh announced that $244 million of the total amount pledged will be split between nine UN agencies. The next day, the UN’s undersecretary for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien sent a letter to the Interagency Standing Committee, a global humanitarian coordinating body for humanitarian agencies.
In the letter, O’Brien explained that the funds would go through the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Work (KSC). He also noted that KSC would dictate the terms of the fund distribution with each of the nine agencies. … continue
The president of a Bahraini non-governmental organization, which works to promote human rights in the Persian Gulf kingdom, says more than 3,500 people have been subjected to various kinds of torture at the country’s detention facilities since the beginning of pro-democracy rallies there.
Yusuf Rabi’, the head of Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, said on Saturday that 3,586 people have been tortured in Al Khalifa regime’s prisons, and the absence of persecution, investigation and trial of those accountable for the practice has so far resulted in the death of at least 20 inmates, Arabic-language Lualua satellite television network reported.
Rabi’ also called upon the United Nations to press Bahraini authorities over allowing the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez, to pay a visit to the country’s detention facilities, and also adopt necessary measures against the kingdom. … Full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has reiterated the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, saying the Islamic Republic has never sought atomic bombs.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has never been and will never be after building destructive and inhumane weapons,” President Rouhani said in a meeting with senior Iranian military officials in Tehran on Saturday.
He emphasized that attempts by enemies to push the bogus claim that Iran seeks nuclear weapons must be laid bare for the whole world to see.
“When the enemy attempts to present false perceptions of Iran to the world, we should, in return, make our utmost efforts to clear these wrong perceptions,” President Rouhani said. … Full article
By Thomas Gaist | WSWS | June 26, 2015
The NATO military alliance is preparing to implement a more aggressive nuclear weapons strategy in response to alleged “Russian aggression,” according to NATO sources cited by the Guardian Wednesday evening.
Proposed changes include provisions for greater involvement of nuclear forces in ongoing NATO military exercises along Russia’s borders and new guidelines for nuclear escalation against Russia, according to the NATO officials.
The alliance’s nuclear doctrine has been the subject of quiet, informal discussions “on the sidelines” of the ongoing NATO summit. The new policies will be formally articulated and confirmed at an upcoming conference of the alliance’s Nuclear Planning Group, which was rescheduled for an earlier date this week as word got around about the secretive planning. … continue
The number of Ukrainians who have fled to neighboring countries after the outbreak of the armed civil conflict in Donbass in spring 2014 has exceeded 900,000 and most of them have found shelter in Russia, of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said in a report on Friday.
Information from governmental sources in the host countries suggests that the overall number of refugees seeking shelter or looking for other legal forms of residence in neighboring states has reached 900,300 people and most of them, or 746,000 have headed for Russia.
Country of destination number two for them is Belarus where 81,200 refugees have arrived, the report indicated.
As for the European countries, some 4,600 Ukrainian refugees have come to Germany, 3,600 to Poland and 2,900 to Italy.
In addition, a total of 1.35 million Ukrainians have been compelled to abandon their homes and have received the status of internally displaced persons. … Full article
Sputnik – 28.06.2015
Ukraine continues to mass troops and heavy weapons on the border with Transnistria on the pretext that the self-proclaimed republic may launch a military campaign against Ukraine, Russian media reported on Saturday.
“It looks like the Kiev authorities want to picture themselves as encircled by enemies, ready to attack,” a representative of the Transnistrian KGB told Russia’s Zvezda TV channel.
“That we may have a war here tomorrow is hard to say, but we are not ruling out a Ukrainian provocation either… They could use for this purpose one of their many small private armies which refuse to take any orders from Kiev,” the official added.
On June 22, the deputy foreign minister of the Transnistrian Republic, Vitaly Ignatyev, said that Ukraine was moving its troops towards the borders of the self-proclaimed republic, sandwiched between Ukraine and Moldova.
“The situation here is very bad… Economic production is going down, foreign trade is shrinking, the security situation is equally alarming with our Moldovan partners holding military drills with NATO and the Ukrainian pressure mounting every day,” Ignatyev said.
He also mentioned the curbs Kiev has imposed on the transit of Transnistrian nationals and citizens of Russia, almost 200,000 of whom currently live in Transnistria. … continue
By Caleb Maupin – New Eastern Outlook – 28.06.2015
The presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders — an anti-Russia, Israel-supporting politician from Vermont — revives an archaic feud among leftists. The old debate about “sewer socialism” is back.
In the early part of the 20th century, there was a broad movement of people in the United States who advocated the overthrow of capitalism. Among them were many revolutionaries like Eugene Debs, William Z. Foster, Lucy Parsons, and Paul Robeson.
However, there was another current of people who called themselves “socialists” but had no interest in revolution. They were called “sewer socialists.” The term originated in reference to Victor L. Berger, a “socialist” who ran on a platform of improving the city’s sewer system and eventually became the mayor of Milwaukee. The sewer socialists did not want to overthrow capitalism, but simply to be elected to local public office and improve government policy. They wanted to make a global system built on exploitation of people all over the world a little more comfortable for those living within the western economic centers. … continue
RT | June 28, 2015
Argentina has ordered the seizure of assets belonging to foreign drilling companies operating in the vicinity of Falklands / Malvinas Islands, saying they have failed to obtain the necessary permissions from Buenos Aires to conduct exploration.
A federal judge in Tierra del Fuego, Lilian Herraez, has ordered authorities to seize the assets of five companies drilling for oil in the Falklands worth $156 mn. The measure was ordered following a request of a prosecutor from the Office of Economic Crime and Money Laundering (PROCELAC).
According to the prosecution, the order to seize assets was issued for “illegal activities of exploration, search and eventual extraction of hydrocarbons in proximity to the Falkland Islands” because the companies in question failed to obtain permits issued by “the competent authority in Argentina.” … continue
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tweeted Sunday that he wants a “No” result in the referendum that his government called for July 5. He also made similar statements in a speech to parliament. The parliament also approved the motion to hold the referendum on the proposed bailout accord with foreign creditors on Sunday morning after his speech.
“We will ask for a short extension of the program so the referendum can be held without pressure,” Tsipras said at the press conference Friday, adding that the government would respond to authoritarianism and austerity with “democracy, calmness and decisiveness.”
On Sunday, Tsipras tweeted the referendum was a way to “honor” Greece’s sovereignty and “for the people to express their will.” […]
“We have negotiated with our partners in earnest — with determination, decisiveness and dignity.
We’ve been faced with the insistence, namely by the IMF, that we water down our proposals for taxing the wealthy … We were asked to once again place the burden on the shoulders of pensioners and workers,” Tsipras continued.
“With a clear “NO”, we send a message that Greece is not going to surrender,” Tsipras concluded. … Full article
By Craig Murray | June 27, 2015
Just ten years ago, Ghana had the most reliable electricity supply in all of Africa and the highest percentage of households connected to the grid in all of Africa – including South Africa. The Volta River Authority, the power producer and distributor was, in my very considerable experience, the best run and most efficient public utility in all of Africa. Indeed it was truly world class, and Ghana was proud of it.
Obviously the sight of truly successful public owned and run enterprise was too much of a threat to the neo-liberal ideologues of the IMF and World Bank. When Ghana needed some temporary financial assistance (against a generally healthy background) the IMF insisted that VRA be broken up. Right wing neoliberal dogma was applied to the Ghanaian electricity market. Electricity was separated between production and distribution, and private sector Independent Power Producers introduced.
The result is disaster. There are more power cuts in Ghana than ever in its entire history as an independent state. Today Ghana is actually, at this moment, producing just 900 MW of electricity – half what it could produce ten years ago. This is not the fault of the NDC or the NPP. It is the fault of the IMF.
Those private sector Independent Power Producers actually provide less than 20% of electricity generation into the grid – yet scoop up over 60% of the revenues! The electricity bills of Ghana’s people go to provide profits to fat cat foreign corporations and of course the western banks who finance them. … continue
By Eric Zuesse | RINF | June 27, 2015
Malaysia, frustrated by the refusal of the official international investigation-team to produce any clear evidence yet of whom to blame for the downing of the MH17 Malaysian airliner over the Ukrainian civil-war zone on 17 July 2014, has finally forced the team to request the UN to investigate. They’ve forced the original four nations on the team to accept UN adjudication of any final report. This will enable a court-proceeding to make the ultimate determination of guilt (upon which judgment penalties and compensation will be assessed), and this court-determination would inevitably allow whatever party is being blamed by the five-member official investigating team, to present its own evidence in the case, so that the court will make the ultimate determination — the official investigating team will not be performing that crucial judgmental function. … continue
teleSUR | June 27, 2015
Tens of thousands of Hondurans took to the streets in torchlit marches for the fifth week straight on Friday night to demand the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez and an independent investigation into the multi-million dollar corruption scandal embroiling the government.
Massive marches took place simultaneously in the capital city Tegucigalpa and business capital San Pedro Sula.
In Tegucigalpa, the march moved from a working class neighborhood past a commercial area to the presidential palace, with some 25,000 protesters shouting slogans telling President Hernandez to “get out” of government. Opposition groups also rallied in other cities.
The latest round of marches comes just two days before the sixth anniversary of June 28, 2009 coup that ousted democratically elected President Manel Zelaya and sparked a national popular resistance movement that later gave rise to the opposition LIBRE party.
The marches also follow the government announcement this week that President Hernandez has initiated a dialogue process and measures to “combat corruption and impunity.”
But Honduras’ “indignant opposition” have condemned the bankruptcy of Honduran democracy and expressed their complete distrust in the government to execute a fair and adequate investigation, calling for independent probe.
The weekly anti-corruption marches were spurred by the massive US$200 million embezzlement scandal in the country’s Social Security Institute, known as IHSS, implicating President Hernandez and his National Party.
Hernandez has admitted to accepting funds from corrupt sources for his 2013 presidential campaign in which he narrowly defeated LIBRE party candidate Xiomara Castro amid widespread claims of electoral fraud and political violence.
But Hernandez has shirked responsibility, claiming he did not know where the money was coming from. He has also admitted to accepting only US$145,000, a fraction of the alleged US$90 million he is accused of funneling into his campaign.
Despite ongoing calls from popular movements to establish an independent U.N. accountability body to investigate government corruption, Honduran and U.N. officials have yet to respond.
The desired anti-impunity body, referred to as CICIH, would be similar to Guatemala’s CICIG, currently leading an independent probe into the massive corruption scandal gripping the neighboring Central American country. … Full article
Press TV – June 27, 2015
Iran has agreed to a $500 million credit line for Venezuela to finance joint investments there, President Nicolas Maduro has announced.
He made the announcement after meeting Iranian Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh in Caracas where the two sides signed six agreements to expand financial, economic, industrial and technological cooperation.
Among the agreements, there are plans for joint production of commodity goods, including detergents and other hygiene materials in Venezuela and Iran’s sales of medical drugs and surgical equipment to the country.
Maduro said the two countries had also agreed to a “comprehensive plan” to develop a joint program in nanotechnology in which Iran is among the top seven countries.
He said the deals would ensure a higher level of cooperation and deepen the bonds between the two nations.
Moreover, Iran agreed to transfer its expertise to Venezuela in combating an “economic war” on the Latin American country, Maduro said, apparently referring to Iran’s experience in facing years of US-led sanctions. … continue
On June 22, 2015, it was reported that the director-general of Rwanda’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, was arrested in London. One report, by Judi Rever in the Digital Journal, refers to Karenzi Karake accurately as “Kagame’s spy chief.” Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, rose to power as an intelligence chief himself — working for Yoweri Museveni, the ruler of Uganda, during the 1980s Bush War in that country. Kagame would not choose a spy chief lightly, and Karenzi Karake is absolutely in Kagame’s inner circle. … continue
By Cassandra Fairbanks | PINAC News | June 25, 2015
The rookie NYPD cop who shot and killed Akai Gurley in a stairwell last year waited almost 20 minutes to report the shooting, refusing to call for or provide medical assistance, as he bickered back and forth with his partner about who should be the one to call their sergeant.
Meanwhile, Gurley lay bleeding on a stairwell with a bullet wound to his chest, still breathing, while his girlfriend ran to a neighbor for help, according to a new document presented this week in the manslaughter trial of New York City police officer Peter Liang.
The statement of facts, presented by the district attorney in rebuttal to a motion from Liang’s defense attorney that the case be dismissed– offers the most detailed account of the shooting to date, describing the rookie officer being more concerned about keeping his job than keeping Gurley alive.
In the minutes after the shooting, Melissa Butler, never having been trained in CPR before, kneeled over her boyfriend, applying pressure to the wound and administrating CPR as her neighbor remained on the phone with the 911 operator relaying instructions.
The cops, despite being trained in CPR and required as police officers to administer it when needed, stepped around them as they made their way down the stairs, still arguing about who should call the sergeant. … continue
Al Khalil, Occupied Palestine – Yesterday, 26 of June 2015 approximately 21:30, nineteen year old Hatem Al Mohtaseb from Tel Rumeida, Hebron, was walking up the hill of Tel Rumeida when an Israeli soldier detained him and asked for his ID. After the soldier had finished checking the Palestinian ID, the Israeli soldier then threw the ID on the concrete and told him to pick it back up.
The Palestinian man told the soldier that he is not a dog and will not pick it up off the ground and suggested to the soldier that he pick it back up and hand the ID back to him, like he had given it to the soldier at the start. The soldier then refused and began to argue.
A nearby Palestinian then picked the ID up off the ground and gave it to Hatem Al Mohtaseb. International Solidarity Movement activists that were present then walked up the hill and were discussing with the Palestinian man what had just happened. The same soldier came up to Hatem Al Mohtaseb and told him to move from the spot where he was standing in his own neighborhood. Hatem Al Mohtaseb then refused to move and the soldier aggressively shouting in Hebrew, then attempted to arrest him but ISMers stood in the way and prevented the arrest.
The soldier then complained to several male settlers walking up the road to the nearby illegal settlement. One of the settlers came right up to the activists, calling them sick people and Europa Nazis before leaving. After this point the soldier’s commanding officer had arrived and after speaking to Hatem Al Mohtaseb he decided not to follow up on the arrest.
AFP – June 27, 2015
JERUSALEM – An Israeli minister on Friday urged French Jews to move to Israel after a suspected Islamist attacked a factory near Lyon and pinned a severed head to the gates.
“I call on the Jews of France – come home! Anti-Semitism is rising, terror is increasing,” immigration minister Zeev Elkin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party said in a statement.
“This is a national mission of the highest priority.” … continue
June – 2015
May – 2015