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Belgium’s Wallonia rejects ‘undemocratic’ EU ultimatum on CETA

RT | October 24, 2016

Wallonia is not going to be pressured into agreeing the EU-Canada trade deal according to the leader of the French-speaking Belgian region Paul Magnette. The EU has given Belgium an ultimatum to end its objection to the agreement by Monday.

“Every time you try to put an ultimatum it makes a calm debate and a democratic debate impossible,” Magnette said at a meeting in Brussels.

“We don’t need an ultimatum,” he told reporters. “We will not decide anything under an ultimatum or under pressure.”

On Sunday the leader of the Wallonia region told the Belga news agency the ultimatum from the EU “is not compatible with the exercise of democratic rights.”

“We are not against a treaty with Canada,” Magnette said. “But we won’t have one that jeopardizes social and environmental standards and the protection of public services and we want absolutely no private arbitration mechanisms.” … continue

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

Sputnik – 24.10.2016

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

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

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

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

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

RT | October 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sputnik | 24.10.2016

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

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

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

Press TV – October 22, 2016

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

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

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

Sadly, Nobody Likes America These Days

By Jean Perier – New Eastern Outlook – 23.10.2016

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

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

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

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

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

RT | October 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Israeli artillery shelling hits northern Gaza

Palestine Information Center – October 24, 2016

Israeli Occupation Forces shelled a Palestinian resistance monitoring site in Beit Hanoun north of Gaza Strip on Monday.

The PIC reporter affirmed that no injuries were reported during the shelling.

The Israeli attack came shortly after Israeli media sources claimed that a Code Red siren was heard in the Sha’ar Hanegev settlement, near Gaza Strip. … Full article

Israeli Soldiers Invade The Office Of The Popular Committee Against The Wall In Hebron

IMEMC News | October 23, 2016

popular-committee-office-hebron-300x300Several Israeli soldiers invaded, Sunday, the office of the Palestinian Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, in Hebron’s Old city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Younis ‘Arar, the head of the popular committee in Hebron, said the soldiers invaded the building, and were demanding that people inside the building remove posters and pictures opposing Israeli military violations, and constant attacks carried out by extremist Israeli colonists in the city. […]

He added that the soldiers recently broke into offices of several nongovernmental organizations, in addition to a number of private and governmental institutions.

On Sunday at dawn, the soldiers invaded several districts in the occupied West Bank, searched many homes and kidnapped at least six Palestinians. The soldiers also confiscated large sums of cash in Qalqilia and Hebron, and kidnapped twenty Palestinians in East Jerusalem. … Full article

Israeli soldiers open fire on Palestinians near settlement, hitting one, Israeli media says

Ma’an – October 23, 2016

BETHLEHEM – Israeli forces reportedly fired at three Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets, hitting one, on Saturday as they approached a fence surrounding the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, according to Hebrew-language news sites, however a spokesperson from the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma’an they were not aware of the incident.

According to Israeli news site Ynet, three Palestinians “approached and touched the fence surrounding the settlement” and Israeli soldiers stationed there opened fire, hitting one in the leg.

RT in UK: A brief history of establishment hysteria

RT | October 22, 2016

580b434cc4618839088b45f5The NatWest account closure is only the latest entry in the channel’s saga in the UK.

Over the last couple of years, certain voices in the UK media – and the wider establishment –  have been feeding a wave of hysteria over the channel’s presence in the British market. Here are the highlights:

October 2014 – Posters for RT’s “Second Opinion” ad campaign are rejected for outdoor posting by several London platforms for having what they called “political undertones.” Instead, RT puts up a “redacted” version of the posters, which use the example of the Iraq War to draw attention to the importance of diversity in the news media.

November 2014 – The network officially launches RT UK, a dedicated channel broadcasting from its own studios in London. The British mainstream media, predictably, freaks out.

December 2014 – John Whittingdale, chair of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, lamented “It is frightening, the extent to which we are losing the information war,” with Peter Horrocks, a former top executive of the BBC’s global news operation, explaining to The Guardian that the Beeb was losing ground to RT because it is “financially outgunned.”  The problem with Horrock’s contention is that it simply isn’t true. That year, the BBC World Service ALONE was allocated a 2014 budget of £245 million ($382 million at that time), primarily for radio and online services.  RT, with its much costlier TV signal distribution, received 15.38 billion rubles ($271 million then).

January 2015 – The British Army announces it is creating a special force of “Facebook warriors” – a 1,500-strong brigade of professional soldiers to promote UK narratives on social media platforms. According to the Guardian, part of the justification for the move was that Russia’s point of view is resonating with the UK audience. … continue

The Times, RT and an obsessed neocon stalker

By Neil Clark | RT | October 23, 2016

The Times used to be regarded as Britain’s newspaper of record. But in recent years, the historic title, once renowned for its sober and balanced coverage, has morphed into a crude neo-con propaganda organ.

It’s shilling endlessly for US-led wars and ‘interventions’ and attacking – often in the most obnoxious way possible – those who dare to question the War Party narrative. Needless to say, RT – which urges its viewers to ‘Question More’ (a very dangerous thing in an age of Imperial Truth Enforcement) – has been in the Times’ line of fire.

In fact, over one weekend at the end of July and the beginning of August – a time when most normal people turn their mind to things like ice cream, sun loungers and beaches – the Murdoch-owned newspaper ran at least six articles on RT (and attack pieces on Russia’s Sputnik news agency too, making it a total of seven Russian-media-focused hit-pieces in just two and a half days).

These pieces are not just about criticizing RT, which of course everyone has the right to do. They also seem to be about trying to exert pressure on regulatory bodies to go after RT and take action against a channel that doesn’t toe the neo-con editorial line.

One of the articles was an opinion piece claiming that RT was a “fake news channel” which had “no place on our screens”. … continue

America’s election system, designed to give only the theater of democracy, none of the substance

Yes, there will be election fraud, and on a grand scale

By John Chuckman | Aletho News | October 23, 2016

… Despite an unprecedented spectacle of the press acting as a national public disinformation system united in one goal, to discredit Trump, including even polls deliberately engineered with sampling errors to give a false view of what is happening, and a massive effort to build Hillary up into something she is not, a decent human being, the momentum for Trump continues.

Even if you don’t have reliable numbers, you can just feel it from the very desperation of the establishment. The President spends much of his time flying around making insipid speeches for his party, the newspapers leap to publish every unconfirmed negative report about Trump or such absolute trivia as this or that movie star or pop star saying what an awful man Trump is. … Read full article

The Revealed Cynicism of ‘Benevolent Hegemony’

By Mark Citadel – Katehon – 19.10.2016

Since the collapse of the USSR, and the inception of the unipolar world order with the United States at its center, the term ‘benevolent hegemony’ has entered the lexicon of international relations and geopolitics. The full fleshing out of this idea was revealed in the 1996 essay by American neoconservatives Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, ‘Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy’. Its essence is an excuse for the United States to pursue whichever diplomatic and military means are believed to forward the goals of an American Empire, on the basis that unlike past empires, this one is not based on the prestige of the American people, or indeed any given leader, but instead on a set of ‘universal values and principles’ which are supposedly positive for all who live under them. One need only look at the neoconservatives themselves and come to the conclusion that they certainly do not represent the interests of the American people, as their international operations rarely have any positive impact for working men and women, and in fact very often engender negative consequences for them. Nor could it be said that neoconservatives aid the prestige of a given leader, as their legacy of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan destroyed the presidential legacy of George W. Bush, and notably his British ally Tony Blair.

This is excusable of course, because it has never been claimed by the neoconservative establishment that their policies are crafted with these people in mind. They are in aid of an ideology, and because most Westerners suffer under the delusion that this ideology is itself benevolent, then the means that America uses to propagate and expand its influence must also be benevolent. Slowly however, this facade is beginning to peel away.

Tom Rogan, a foreign policy analyst for the neoconservative publication National Review recently penned an article describing ‘Three Ways the US Can Save Syria.’ Obviously this is in response to the fact that America is being defeated in the country, the Syrian Army’s gradual recapture of Aleppo being just the latest blow to the terrorist rebel groups agitating against the legitimate government. If President Assad ends the insurgency of terrorists, then the American Empire loses not only in terms of its original geopolitical goals which spurred its meddling, but in terms of international prestige, especially among the nations of the Middle East. In light of this, Rogan’s urgent recommendations make sense, but in his zeal he gives the world a very clear picture of what ‘benevolent hegemony’ looks like. … continue

America’s Ironic “Two-Faced” War on Terror

By Joseph Thomas – New Eastern Outlook – 23.10.2016

Rarely ever does hypocrisy align so succinctly as it does within the pages of American policy and media coverage. US policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, recently provided an extreme example of this in a paper titled, “A convenient terrorism threat,” penned by Daniel Byman. […]

Byman’s latest paper even at face value is disingenuous, full of intentional mischaracterisations meant to direct attention away from the US and its closest allies’ own sponsorship of terrorism amid a very much feigned “War on Terror.” Understanding that Byman quite literally signed his name to a policy paper promoting the arming and backing of a US State Department designated foreign terrorist organisation makes his recent paper all the more outrageous.

What is also as troubling as it is ironic, is that Byman not only signed his name to calls for arming a listed terrorist organisation, he was also a staff member of the 9/11 Commission, according to his Georgetown University biography. A man involved in sorting out a terrorist attack who is also advocating closer cooperation with listed terrorist organisations is truly disturbing. … Read full article

A normal week in the British press

Irrusianality | October 22, 2016

Probably the most influential weekly political magazines in the United Kingdom are The Economist, The Spectator, and The New Statesman. All have published their latest editions in the last couple of days. Here are the results. Putin’s ‘winning in propaganda’ it says at the bottom of The Spectator’s cover. I think not. … continue

The Carnage and Inhumanity in Syria from Wielding a Mighty Pen

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 23.10.2016

An Associated Press story parroted by hundreds of mainstream media outlets today is symbolic of all that is wrong in world news today. Sarah El Deeb paints a heroic portrait of a jihadist stronghold with, calling the embattled city the “Jewel” of Syrian rebellion. With personal touches and misleading nuance, the AP writer condemns Russia and Assad’s Syrian army, while at the same time creating 270,000 holdouts at a modern Alamo. The piece is ludicrous in its clear propaganda speak.

Russia and Syria have been bombing the streets of eastern Aleppo into rubble, as Al Nusra and other extremists congealed against Assad’s legitimate government are holed up with tens of thousands of hostages at gun and knife-point. Ordinary residents held hostage, not even allowed to leave as humanitarian corridors open up, are lumped in with the “head choppers” and snipers, and the suicide bombers Washington and its allies have sponsored.

The writer makes use of an infant born in Aleppo, the child of Ibrahim al-Haj, in order to add credibility to utter contrivance. Mother’s milk, starvation, and an uncertain future from the AP are provocative indeed. … continue

The Vietnam War and Our Latest war on Yemen Have One Thing in Common: Nonexistent Attacks

By Joe Clifford | Dissident Voice | October 22, 2016

The missile attack on a US ship off the coast of Yemen was a major news event, but the subsequent follow up story, that it may never have happened, was either ignored by mainstream media or intentionally covered up. The whole thing has the same odor as the Gulf of Tonkin incident that never occurred.

Does history repeat itself? Sure does seem like it. That is if you compare America’s entry into the Vietnam civil war, with America’s latest entry into the war in Yemen.

Don’t be mistaken. We have been at war with Yemen for a year now. America sided with the most oppressive government in the world, Saudi Arabia, in attacking and pounding Yemeni schools, funeral parlors, and hospitals, for well over a year. This war could not have happened without a wink and a nod from the US, and the arming of the Saudis’ with US weapons. In addition to providing the Saudi’s with weapons, we also provide mid-air refueling and have delivered 40 million pounds of jet fuel over the past 18 months, thus enabling the devastating bombings of civilian facilities. The US used a cease fire in Yemen to re-arm the Saudi’s, who were running out of bombs and weapons, we provided the targeting information, ground maintenance of aircraft, and, of course, the wink and nod to go ahead, which unleashed this humanitarian disaster. … continue

UK training Saudi pilots amid reports of war crimes in Yemen

Press TV – October 22, 2016

Britain has been providing military training to the Saudi Arabian Air Force, while the country is carrying out atrocities in neighboring Yemen, a report says.

manar-00052390014695327187The UK’s Liberal Democrats revealed that the British government is providing the training in both Saudi Arabia and Britain itself, The Independent revealed on Saturday.

The party’s Foreign Affairs spokesman, Tom Brake, obtained a parliamentary letter from UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, in which he acknowledged that the British government provides the training to Saudi pilots bombing civilians in Yemen.

Brake denounced the move as “shameful,” calling on the Ministry of Defense to end the training immediately.

“The Government must end its complicity in this murderous campaign,” he said. “It is shameful that the UK government is not only arming Saudi pilots, it is training them as well.” … Full article

Brazil’s Ex-President Favored as Next Leader for Extraordinary Political Record

Sputnik – 23.10.2016

A recent poll suggest that Brazil’s ex-president Lula da Silva would be the most likely candidate to win the 2018 presidential elections, bringing the Worker’s Party back to power. Commenting on the results, Brazilian politician Fátima Bezerra told Sputnik it is due to the “extraordinary political capital’ he gained during his terms in the office.

The recent poll suggests that Brazilian ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known simply as Lula, would be the most likely candidate to win 2018 presidential elections, according to the Vox Populi Institute. … Full article

Selective Assassinations of Chavistas by paramilitaries, renegade police and criminal gangs continue

By Arturo Rosales | Axis of Logic | October 12, 2016

The assassination of followers of the late President Chavez continues to increase at a steady pace. From 2013 – when President Maduro was democratically elected – to the present, many local political leaders, public servants, journalists, bodyguards of left wing politicians, military personnel and operatives of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) have been unfortunate enough to fall into the opposition’s murderous claws.

The ultra-right wing opposition that currently has control of the National Assembly continues with its aim of resurrecting the Fourth Republic in Venezuela. With opposition figures such as the governor of Miranda state, Capriles Radonski, telling his supporters “to take their anger to the streets” and Voluntad Popular’s Leopoldo Lopez whose plan called “The Exit” sparked violent street protests by paid thugs from February to June 2014 costing 43 lives, we can see that unconstitutional political means to gain power are at play here.

Added to these actions by the ultra right wing are assassinations of body guards of revolutionary leaders that are simulated as a robbery or violent street crime, then the right wing media plays its part by putting it all down to “insecurity” caused by an inept government. … continue

Venezuela Opposition Cries Foul After Recall Suspended, Calls for Coup Against Maduro

teleSUR | October 21, 2016

The ominous calls came as courts temporarily froze the referendum process to investigate thousands of fraudulent signatures submitted in the first phase.

Leader’s from Venezuela’s opposition appeared to call for a coup against President Nicolas Maduro, after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the presidential recall referendum would be temporarily suspended due to fraud committed in the first phase of the process.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said Friday that President Maduro is “in disobedience of the constitution” and called on both the National Assembly and Armed Forces to “make a decision” and have people “respect the constitution.”

The former Venezuelan presidential candidate also said Maduro had vacated his position as president, prompting fears that a coup might be looming. … continue

Miracle or Mirage? Manufacturing Hunger and Poverty in Ethiopia

Oakland Institute

miracle-mirageAs months of protest and civil unrest hurl Ethiopia into a severe political crisis, a new report from the Oakland Institute debunks the myth that the country is the new “African Lion.” Miracle or Mirage? Manufacturing Hunger and Poverty in Ethiopia exposes how authoritarian development schemes have perpetuated cycles of poverty, food insecurity, and marginalized the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

A key government objective is to make Ethiopia one of the largest sugar producers in the world. Several sugar expansion plans are underway, including the colossal Kuraz Project in the Lower Omo Valley, which will include up to five sugar factories and 150,000 hectares of sugarcane plantations that rely on Gibe III Dam for irrigation. Studies show that Gibe III could reduce the Omo River flow by as much as 70 percent, threatening the livelihoods of 200,000 Ethiopians and 300,000 Kenyans who depend on the downstream water flow for herding, fishing, and flood-recession agriculture.

Miracle or Mirage? offers lessons from the deadly impact of sugar and cotton plantations in the Awash Valley in the Afar Region, established in the 1950s. The projects drastically reduced land and water availability for people and cattle, undermined food security, destroyed key drought coping mechanisms, and stirred up violent conflicts between different groups over the remaining resources. The establishment of plantations was a critical factor in the 1972-1973 famine, resulting in the deaths of nearly 200,000 Afar people. … continue

Israeli police bar Palestinians from renewing cemetery in Galilee

Palestine Information Center – October 22, 2016

The Israeli occupation police on Friday prevented Palestinian volunteers from carrying out restoration work at the cemetery of Ramiya village in the Galilee.

Local sources reported that a team of volunteers were embarking on renewing the graves when policemen showed up and ordered them to stop and leave.

They added that the police force arrested one of the volunteers.

Ramiya was home to a population of 1000, with its territory stretching 98 acres, but today, about 150 persons remain on land stretching only 10 acres.

The rest was appropriated during the biggest Israeli land grab in 1976. Even the area on which 45 families remain to this day is classified as Jewish National Fund property.

The village is not recognized and still without connection to any electricity or water grids.

Israeli settlers occupy Palestinian land in Jordan Valley

MEMO | October 22, 2016

Israeli Jewish settlers from the illegal settlements of Salit and Miskiot in the Jordan Valley occupied wide swathes of Palestinian lands, reported yesterday.

Mutaz Bsharat, responsible for assessing settler activity in the West Bank city of Tubas, said that the settlers from Salit and Miskiot “seized more than 300 dunams [about 75 acres] from Himat Khilla area during the past two days,” noting that they laid down foundations for barracks and settlement units in addition to installing water pipes.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government will join a project carried out by El-Ad to search for Jewish remains in the rubble extracted from under the Al-Aqsa Mosque 17 years ago.

Netanyahu’s announcement was made during a speech he delivered at the inauguration ceremony of the Antiquities Village in Jerusalem, near the Museum of Israel.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu attacked UNESCO’s decision last week which denied Jewish links to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its Western Wall.

He claimed that Israel is the sole place where Mosques and Churches are not being demolished by extremists, ignoring the systematic destruction of hundreds of mosques, the partition of the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and closing it and other mosques from time to time.

US-led coalition strike killed dozens of civilian mourners 30km from Kirkuk – Russian MoD

RT | October 22, 2016

The Russian Ministry of Defense says that the US-led coalition is responsible for striking mourners in the Iraqi city of Daquq on Friday, killing dozens of civilians, including women and children.

The coalition jets apparently identified the mourning procession as Islamic State terrorists, said General Igor Konashenkov, spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry. […]

Konashenkov noted that such incidents bear the mark of war crimes.

“These deadly attacks on civilian areas, which have all the marks of war crimes, are becoming almost a daily routine for the international coalition.” … Full article

‘Acceptable evil’: Western definition of terror fight differs between Aleppo & Mosul

Guardian Cites Terrorist Leader to Claim No Terrorists Are in Aleppo

ANTIMEDIA | October 21, 2016

On Wednesday, the Guardian released an article titled “U.S. and U.K. reject Russian offer of ‘pause’ in airstrikes on Syria.” Aside from the fact it’s riddled with the outlet’s usual pro-U.S.-U.K. and anti-Russian propaganda, the article sank to the lowest of possible lows in an attempt to present the Russian military as an aggressor in Aleppo in which there are allegedly no terrorist groups — only moderate fighting forces.

How? By citing the leader of a terrorist group.

Al-Farouk Abu Bakr, an Aleppo commander in the “powerful Islamist group” Ahrar al-Sham said, speaking from Aleppo:

“‘When we took up arms at the start of the revolution to defend our abandoned people we promised God that we would not lay them down until the downfall of this criminal regime,’ he said, referring to President Bashar al-Assad’s government.”

“There are no terrorists in Aleppo.” [emphasis added]

There are many issues with the Guardian’s publication of this statement. … continue

If EU leaders can be so wrong on Russia & Syria, no wonder the bloc is in crisis

By Finian Cunningham | RT | October 21, 2016

Russophobic rants by some European Union leaders and their willful distortion of events in Syria is a reflection of why the 28-member bloc is careering toward disaster. We are witnessing a crisis of appallingly inept leadership.

German, British and French leaders were among the most hawkish voices at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels this week, denouncing what they claimed were Russian “war crimes” in Syria and calling for additional economic sanctions on both Moscow and Damascus.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Russian-backed Syrian air strikes were “inhumane and cruel,” while Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May took the “most shrill prize” with her condemnation of Moscow’s “sickening atrocities.”

French President Francois Hollande echoed their calls for the EU to slap more sanctions on Russia – in addition to those the bloc has implemented over the Ukraine conflict. … continue

Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell

By Diana Johnstone | CounterPunch | October 21, 2016

It has become crystal clear.

For the record, here it is.

She has big ambitions, which she does not spell out for fear of frightening part of the electorate, but which are perfectly understood by her closest aides and biggest donors.

She wants to achieve regime change in Russia.

She enjoys the support of most of the State Department and much of the Pentagon, and Congress is ready to go. … continue

Most Americans want Hillary indicted for email scandal – poll

RT | October 22, 2016

Over half of American voters surveyed in a recent poll disagree with the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton over her emails scandal.

A survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on October 18 and 19 by the polling company Rasmussen Reports. Voters were asked whether they agreed with the FBI’s decision not to file criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, despite acknowledging that she had been reckless and potentially exposed classified information to hostile countries. The results were released on Friday.

Out of the voters surveyed, 65 percent broadly agreed that Clinton had broken the law by storing confidential emails on her private server, but only 53 percent believe the FBI should have filed charges, while 39 percent agreed with the decision not to. … Full article

Duterte’s China visit a ‘turning point’

The BRICS Post | October 21, 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made good on a promise he made in August to steer relations with China toward mutual benefit and bilateral cooperation.

During his visit to Beijing on Thursday Duterte said that he was still committed to discussing the South China Sea territorial dispute in a bilateral fashion with his Chinese counterparts.

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed the Philippine initiative and warmly shook hands with Duterte saying that both countries had emerged from a relationship of “winds and rains”. … continue

Filipino protesters urge US troops withdrawal

Press TV – October 22, 2016

Hundreds of left-wing activists and indigenous citizens have poured onto the streets of the Philippine capital, Manila, to call for the withdrawal of US troops from the Southeast Asian country.

During Friday’s rally, protesters burned a US flag and urged the government of President Rodrigo Duterte to terminate military agreements with Washington.

Holding a banner reading “End the reign of Imperialism! Fight for the right to self-determination,” the demonstrators expressed their support for Duterte’s independent foreign policy.

“We are calling on the president to remain steadfast in his pronouncements separating from the United States and pursuing an independent foreign policy, and an independent track towards development,” New Patriotic Alliance Secretary General Renato Reyes said

In a meeting with business leaders in Beijing earlier this week, Duterte announced that he would “separate” from the US and realign with China and Russia. … Full article

World hates America, Obama, says Donald Trump

Press TV – October 22, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said the world hates the United States, citing countries such as the Philippines which are aligning themselves with US adversaries.

“The world hates our president,” Trump told his supporters Friday in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. “The world hates us. You saw what happened with the Philippines after years and years and years; they’re now looking to Russia and China, because they don’t feel good about the weak America.”

During a diplomatic visit to China on Thursday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared “a separation from the United States both in military but economics also.” … Full article

“No Palestinians during the holiday”: Palestinian man harassed during Sukkot

International Solidarity Movement | October 21, 2016

201066472Hebron, Occupied Palestine – Late Thursday morning, as Palestinian schools in the Old City of occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) were dismissing their students early due to enhanced settler activity, Israeli forces harassed a Palestinian man and denied him his right of movement through the large parking lot near the base of al-Ibrahimi Mosque. The reason for this incident, as well as the increase in settler activity, was due to the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles. Throughout this entire week, Israeli Forces have increased their numbers stationed around the Mosque, and it was one of these members of the occupation forces that decided to harass this Palestinian civilian.

The man, a local tour guide in the Old City of al-Khalil, entered the parking lot in order to reach a group of Turkish tourists who had just arrived. Upon setting foot in the lot, two members of the Israeli Border Police approached him, with one using his hands to physically shove him away from the cordoned off entrance. As he tried to explain that he merely wanted to pass through to reach the tourists, the border policeman raised his voice and shouted at him to get back. When the man asked why he was not allowed to pass through when so many tourists were permitted to, the answer he received was, “You are Palestinian. No Palestinians pass through here during the holiday.” The man had no choice but to turn around and walk around the parking lot. … continue/video

Israel looks to buy three new nuke-capable subs

Palestine Information Center – October 21, 2106

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of $1.3 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday

The planned purchase aims to replace within the next decade the oldest submarines in its existing Dolphin fleet, which began entering service in 1999, the Maariv daily reported.

Contacted by AFP, the “Defense Ministry” declined to comment on the report.

Israel already has five of the state-of-the-art German submarines, with a sixth due for delivery in 2017.

Foreign military sources and governments say the Dolphins can be equipped with missiles armed with nuclear warheads.

They believe Israel has between 100 and 200 warheads and missiles capable of delivering them.

The new submarines are said to be more advanced, longer, and equipped with better accessories, the newspaper added.

US-Led Coalition Fired Depleted-Uranium Munitions at Daesh Targets in Syria in 2015

Sputnik – 21.10.2016

The US-led coalition fighting Daesh terrorist group has used depleted-uranium bombs on at least two occasions in Syria, according to IRIN, which focuses on coverage of humanitarian news.

The US Central Command has confirmed the use of the munitions on November 18 and 23, 2015.

The munitions were chosen due to the nature of targets at the time, the news agency cited the Central Command as saying.

The timeline of the two attacks nearly a year ago correlates with an active phase of the US military’s Tidal Wave II campaign, aimed at disabling oil production infrastructure used by Daesh terrorists, according to media reports.

The use of bombs and other munitions containing depleted uranium is controversial because of health risks associated with exposure to the toxic metal.

Daesh puts up fierce resistance near Mosul

MEMO | October 21, 2016

Daesh fighters have been holding Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces at bay in several locations near Mosul today, as the operation to wrest control of Iraq’s second city from Daesh continues into its fifth day.

Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) claimed that they had managed to recapture three villages near Qayyarah, 30 kilometres south of Mosul. The villages were taken with the assistance of the US-led coalition and pro-government Sunni fighters and included Harara, Nana’a and Duwaizat.

Meanwhile, Daesh are continuing to hold off advancing Peshmerga fighters in the plains and villages around Bashiqa, 15 kilometres northeast of Mosul, inflicting heavy casualties on the Kurdish militias.

Daesh fighters have managed to infiltrate behind Peshmerga lines across several sectors, disrupting their lines of communications and resupply. They have also made effective use of snipers and suicide bombers, as well as heavily booby-trapping villages that they later withdraw from.

The ISF announced that it had taken control of Bartella, 12 kilometres east of Mosul, yesterday but Daesh dispute this and claim that the area is still heavily contested.

In comments to Al Jazeera, General Talib Shaghati of the Counter Terrorism Service said that his forces were in complete control of Bartella and would continue their advance to recapture more villages closer to Mosul.

Daesh’s Amaq news agency, however, said that it had launched three suicide car bombing attacks against Iraqi units in Bartella, stressing that the area was still being fought over.

Reports indicate that the ISF have not been able to make any further advances west of Bartella, suggesting that Daesh is still in the area and fighting fiercely to stall the Iraqi advance towards Mosul.

Ukraine to stop paying Russia for nuclear waste disposal

RT | October 21, 2016

From next year Ukraine is not going to pay Russia $200 million annually to remove spent nuclear fuel from the country, according to Ukrainian Energy Minister Igor Nasalik.

The country will build its own spent nuclear fuel storage facility, the minister announced.

The storage site chosen is in the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power, but it is not designed to store nuclear waste for a long time.

The exclusion zone is a 30-kilometer radius from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant established by the USSR soon after the 1986 accident.

Construction of the new central used fuel storage facility is expected to start in March 2017, according to a director of a subsidiary of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator Energoatom.

European nuclear industry experts are concerned the Ukrainian project does not meet standards for nuclear safety and creates a risk of a radioactive accident.

In August, the former director of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant Mikhail Umanets warned of the rising number of emergency situations in Ukraine’s nuclear energy sector, stressing the country would face a “collapse” in the sector within seven years. … Full article

Venezuelan Supreme Court Orders New Inquiry into Disappeared During Fourth Republic

By Lucas Koerner | Venezuelanalysis | October 20, 2016

screen_shot_2014-11-25_at_17-39-44-jpg_1455458528Caracas – Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) issued a ruling Tuesday ordering the country’s the public prosecution to reopen investigations into the case of a law student disappeared in 1966.

Andres Pasquier Suarez, a law student at the Central University of Venezuela, was detained by Venezuela’s national guard on October 10, 1966 and subsequently handed over to the now defunct Armed Forces Information Service.

According to military records, the youth was transferred two days later to the Urica Anti-Guerrilla Camp from which he never returned.

A Maracaibo military tribunal charged with investigating the incident declared the case closed on March 15, 1968, finding that “no crime has been committed in any moment”.

Writing on behalf of the high court, TSJ President Gladys Gutierrez struck down the prior ruling as “contrary to the elemental principles of law and justice”, concluding that the military court had failed to conduct an impartial investigation of the disappearance.

The justice ordered the public prosecutor’s office to reopen the investigation and identify those responsible as mandated under article 19 of Venezuela’s Law to Prosecute Crimes, Disappearances, Tortures, and Other Human Rights Violations for Political Reasons during the Period 1958-1999.

Over the last 17 years, numerous inquiries have brought to light the magnitude of human rights violations committed under Venezuela’s pacted, two-party system known as the Fourth Republic.

This past July, the country’s official Truth and Justice Commission revealed that it had registered a total of 11,043 cases of torture, assassinations, and political disappearances between 1958 and 1998.

Venezuelans Turn to Maduro in Increasing Numbers

COHA | October 20, 2016

According to a recent poll released by the private, and independent firm, Hinterlaces, which was made public on Monday October 17, 2016, 51 percent of the Venezuelan population prefers that “the government of President Maduro take effective measures and resolve, at least in part, the economic problems of the country,” while 43 percent prefers “a government of the opposition ”.[i] Six percent did not answer or were undecided. … Full article

Pro-Clinton Ad Compares Trump to Chavez, Venezuela Responds

teleSUR | October 20, 2016

5807a60bc361884a228b4572The U.S. Democratic Party showed its true colors in a new ad that the Venezuelan government blasted as “racist arrogance” that puts the late Hugo Chavez in the same category as fascist dictators Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in an effort to cast Republican presidential rival Donald Trump as a dictator-in-waiting.

The Spanish-language ad, aimed at U.S. Latino voters ahead of the Nov. 8 election, features comments by Trump that Clinton should be jailed and his vow to sue media that spread “purposely negative, horrible and false” articles.

“Remind you of anyone?” the video asks before flashing images of the popular socialist Venezuelan leader Chavez.

The clips are selectively edited to portray Chavez as authoritarian but deliberately fail to mention that Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution won support at the ballot box in over a dozen elections which former Democratic President Jimmy Carter called “the best in the world.”

“It is an expression of racist arrogance and irrationality from a party that does not serve its constituents,” Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said in a statement late Wednesday. … continue

Moscow summons Belgian ambassador, presents data on F-16s bombing of Syrian civilians

RT | October 21, 2016

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it has presented Alex Van Meeuwen, Belgium’s ambassador in Moscow, with evidence proving the involvement of Belgian Air Force jets in a recent airstrike on a Syrian village that killed four civilians.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Van Meeuwen on Friday.

“During the conversation with Van Meeuwen, First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov said that Moscow was puzzled by Belgium’s ongoing denial of the fact that the Belgian Air Force carried out an airstrike that killed civilians on the outskirts of Aleppo on October 18 of this year,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The Belgian diplomat [Van Meeuwen] was presented with evidence showing involvement of the Belgian Air Force in the airstrike on the village of Hassadjek. It was also mentioned that detailed info on the technical aspects of the flight of the two F-16 jets had been given to Belgium’s military attaché in Moscow by the Russian Ministry of Defense.”

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday that Brussels’ obstinate denial of involvement shows that Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput is either “deliberately deceiving people in Belgium and around the world, or his subordinates and the Americans are lying to the leadership of Belgium.” … Full article

Saudi airstrikes violate Yemen’s UN-brokered brief truce

ba33b002-29eb-4fee-96fc-540dbf7ec16cPress TV – October 21, 2016

Two separate deadly Saudi airstrikes against civilian sites in Yemen’s northwestern provinces of Amran and Sa’ada have broken the United Nations-brokered ceasefire in the war-ravaged Arabian Peninsula state.

Three people lost their lives on Thursday, when Saudi fighter jets struck a bridge in the Harf Sufyan district of Amran province, located 53 kilometers northwest of the capital Sana’a, Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported.

Another three people were killed in the Baqim district of Sa’ada when Saudi warplanes struck a residential building. … Full article

Israeli, Eastern European weapons suppliers fueling South Sudan war: UN

Press TV – October 21, 2016

A United Nations (UN) panel has found evidence of “well-established networks” of arms suppliers in Israel and Eastern Europe that are fueling the ongoing civil war in South Sudan.

A UN panel of experts said in a confidential report to the Security Council on Thursday that arms suppliers from Bulgaria and Israel were fueling the war in South Sudan by supplying weapons to the rebels in the African country, the world’s youngest.

“This evidence nevertheless illustrates the well-established networks through which weapons procurement is coordinated from suppliers in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and then transferred through middlemen in eastern Africa to South Sudan,” read the report, which was obtained by AFP.

According to the panel, arms deals dating back to 2014 or earlier involve Israeli and Bulgarian firms. … Full article

South Africa announces decision to quit International Criminal Court

Press TV – October 21, 2016

South Africa has joined Burundi in officially announcing its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying its laws are incompatible with obligations under the ICC.

The South African government gave a formal notice of its intention to pull out of the ICC on Friday.

South Africa “found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court,” the document, signed by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, read.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Michael Masutha told a media conference in the administrative capital, Pretoria, that the ICC’s obligations are inconsistent with laws giving sitting leaders diplomatic immunity.

“The Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002, is in conflict and inconsistent with the provisions of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act, 2001,” Masutha said.

South Africa says a bill over the matter, i.e. the withdrawal from ICC, will soon go to the country’s parliament.

The decision comes amid a dispute over last year’s visit by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to attend an African Union summit in Johannesburg. Bashir is wanted by the ICC over alleged war crimes. South Africa, however, said he had immunity as the head of a member state.

Nevertheless, the ICC criticized the South African government for its failure to arrest Bashir.

The announcement of the decision by South Africa to withdraw from the ICC sparked rapid criticism from the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW). … continue

Obama Ridicules Trump’s Call for Good Relations With Russia

Sputnik – 21.10.2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s call for improved relations with Russia during his third debate with rival Hillary Clinton was sneered at as having a “bromance” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Barack Obama said in a speech.

“Your [Republican] party’s nominee for president was kissing up to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, the former KGB officer,” Obama said while campaigning for Clinton at Miami Gardens in Florida on Thursday.

Obama ridiculed Republicans for supporting a presidential candidate who had repeatedly advocated having good relations with Russia and its leader.

“You [Republicans] are OK with your nominee having a bromance with Putin,” he added to cheers from his audience.

In his debate with Clinton on Wednesday night, Trump said he had never met Putin and repeated his previously expressed opinion that good relations between the United States and Russia were desirable. Trump has also called for cooperation with Russia in fighting the Islamic State terror group.