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Saudi regime uses execution to terrify dissent: Analyst

Press TV – July 25, 2017

The growing number of executions Saudi Arabia, especially those targeting anti-government opponents, shows that Riyadh is using the tactic to terrify the dissent, an analyst tells Press TV.

“The monarchy has been using executions to terrify the population,” Ali al-Ahmed, an expert on Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, said in an interview on Tuesday, adding that the tactic has been mostly aimed at the most active population in the Shia-dominated regions east of Saudi Arabia.

Ahmed said the West and the governments in the Middle East have failed to provide enough support to Shias in Qatif to enable them to stand against the Saudi aggression.

“The international community has no standards whatsoever when it comes to supporting the ruling family of Saudi Arabia against its own people who wants freedom,” he said, adding that the West’s inaction is the main reason why the Saudi authorities feel free to execute activists and continue to crack down on people in eastern regions. … Full article

Tillerson to Remain at State Department Despite Reports of Resignation

Sputnik – 26.07.2017

WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will remain in office contrary to reports that he was going to resign, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press briefing.

“The Secretary has been very clear he intends to stay here at the State Department,” Nauert said on Tuesday.

On Monday, CNN reported that Tillerson was considering resigning from the State Department before the end of the year due to growing frustration with President Donald Trump’s administration.

The report claimed Tillerson was at odds with the White House over several issues including department staffing and Iran policy.

ZOA Calls For Tillerson’s Resignation

By Jacob Kornbluh · Jewish Insider · July 24, 2017

Amid reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is growing frustrated with the White House, even considering stepping down, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) on Monday called on Tillerson to resign. The group accused Tillerson of contradicting pro-Israel statements made by President Donald Trump and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

“In light of the U.S. State Department’s new, bigoted, biased, anti-Semitic, Israel-hating error-ridden terrorism report, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) calls on Secretary of State Tillerson to resign,” the ZOA said in a statement.

The ZOA — headed by Morton Klein — took issue with the State Department’s annual terrorism report listing Israeli settlement construction, violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, and the perception that Israel’s government was changing the status quo on the Temple Mount as “continued drivers of violence.” … Full article

Israeli settlers attempt to take control of Palestinian house in Hebron

Ma’an – July 25, 2017

HEBRON – Dozens of Israeli settlers raided a Palestinian house near the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron city of the southern occupied West Bank on Tuesday evening in an attempt to take control of the building, residents told Ma’an.

Residents of the Abu Rajab house have been embroiled in a legal battle with Israeli settlers for years, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his intention to encourage the establishment of a new illegal Israeli settlement there to be named “Beit Hamachpela.”

However, Israeli authorities have not granted permission to establish the settlement on the grounds that the settlers have failed to prove their alleged purchase of the Palestinian house, as the Palestinians have accused the settlers of forging the documents.

Hazem Abu Rajab al-Tamimi, a resident of the house, said that more than 50 settlers raided the house and that Israeli soldiers were assisting the settlers during the raid.

Al-Tamimi told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers and border guards have been deployed in front of the house for the past 48 hours before eventually allowing settlers to raid it on Tuesday. […]

Israeli NGO and settlement watchdog Peace Now released a statement corroborating that some 15 settler families entered the house without authorization.

“The long legal battle over who owns the property has not yet come to an end but that did not stop the settlers from invading it today,” the statement said.

Peace Now explained that the registration committee of the Israeli Civil Administration denied the settlers’ claims of purchase, which the settlers have appealed were waiting to appear before the committee again.

“Thus far, the settlers were unable to prove ownership, and the Palestinians argue that a purchase has not been made. Moreover, the settlers are claiming only partial ownership of the property. Furthermore, even if eventually the settlers will prove their ownership, this does not represent sufficient cause for the establishment of a new settlement in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron,” Peace Now said.

“The establishment of a new settlement in Beit HaMachpela will severely hinder Palestinian freedom of movement and add to the rising tensions in the area,” the statement continued.

“We demand that the government orders the immediate evacuation of the settlers who invaded Beit HaMachpela. After their claims of ownership had been denied, the settlers have decided to take the law into their own hands and establish an illegal settlement that might ignite the region. We call upon the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense to follow the law and the Israeli interest and evacuate the trespassers without delay.” … Full article

MK calls for building synagogue in Al-Aqsa

MEMO | July 25, 2017

Extremist Israeli Jewish MK from the Jewish Home party, Bezalel Smotrich, has called for building a synagogue inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard, Al-Resalah newspaper reported yesterday.

The Palestinian newspaper said that the Israeli TV Channel 7 reported Smotrich saying that the best Zionist response to the Palestinian rejection to the Israeli measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque is to let them understand that they had paid a “high price” for their acts.

He said that the best response would be to build a synagogue in the yards of Al-Aqsa Mosque in response to the attack on the settlement of Halamish, where three Israeli settlers were killed.

“I would set up a synagogue on the Temple Mount today, this morning.”

“The Zionist response would largely be to make the other side understand and feel that they have lost. They must understand that they gain nothing from terrorism. They are the only ones who will lose, and this will happen on three levels,” Smotrich told Arutz Sheva. “If I am the Prime Minister – this morning I would close the Temple Mount to Arab prayer and establish a Synagogue for Jews.”

Palestinians have been rejecting Israel’s latest security measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque which include metal detectors and advanced surveillance cameras. The metal detectors were removed late last night however more cameras were setup at the mosque. Mass protests have been held against the latest Israeli policies with occupation forces responding in a heavy handed manner. Seven Palestinians were killed in the ten days since 14 July and 1,090 were injured.

Israel to replace contested Al-Aqsa metal detectors with ‘smart’ surveillance

Ma’an – July 25, 2017

BETHLEHEM – The Israeli security cabinet decided during a meeting late on Monday night to remove metal detectors, which had recently been installed at the entrances of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, only to replace them with more advanced surveillance technology in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. […]

“It’s not about technology, it’s about control,” a resident of Jerusalem told Ma’an. “It’s about who controls the gate of the mosque, which means who controls the mosque.” […]

Jamal Zahalqa, a member of the Knesset and a leader of the Joint List representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, told Ma’an that removal of the metal detectors was one victory amid a larger struggle in East Jerusalem, and that Palestinians would continue to refuse to enter Al-Aqsa until Israel pulls back all of its measures at the holy site.

“(Israeli Prime Minister) Mr. Netanyahu has carried out a provocative action and caused hardship with the metal detectors, and now the so-called smart cameras are a new provocation,” he said. “Al-Aqsa should be under full control of the Waqf, Israel has no right to control the entrance.” … Full article

Fear and Trepidation in Tel Aviv: Is Israel Losing the Syria War?

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | July 25, 2017

Israel, which has played a precarious role in the Syrian war since 2011, is furious to learn that the future of the conflict is not to its liking.

The six-year-old Syria war is moving to a new stage, perhaps its final. The Syrian regime is consolidating its control over most of the populated centers, while Daesh is losing ground fast – and everywhere.

Areas evacuated by the rapidly disintegrated militant group are up for grabs. There are many hotly contested regions sought over by the government of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus and its allies, on the one hand, and the various anti-Assad opposition groups and their supporters, on the other.

With Daesh largely vanquished in Iraq – at an extremely high death toll of 40,000 people in Mosul alone – warring parties there are moving west. Shia militias, emboldened by the Iraq victory, have been pushing westward as far as the Iraq-Syria border, converging with forces loyal to the Syrian government on the other side.

Concurrently, first steps at a permanent ceasefire are bearing fruit, compared to many failed attempts in the past.

Following a ceasefire agreement between the United States and Russia on 7 July at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, three provinces in southwestern Syria – bordering Jordan and Israeli-occupied Golan Heights – are now relatively quiet. The agreement is likely to be extended elsewhere.

The Israeli government has made it clear to the US that it is displeased with the agreement, and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been leading strong efforts to undermine the ceasefire. … continue

Nusra Front Emir Seeks Mediation to Guarantee Safe Passage: Report

Al-Manar | July 25, 2017

Emir of Takfiri Nusra Front Abu Malek Al-Talli is seeking mediation in a bid to guarantee a safe passage for him and his militants from Arsal outskirts, a report said on Tuesday.

Lebanese Al-Akhbar reported that Al-Talli called on several parts to mediate in order to guarantee a safe passage from Arsal outskirts, where Hezbollah fighters have been launshing a wide-scale operation since Friday to cleanse the area from Takfiri insurgents.

The daily quoted sources as saying that Al-Talli contacted Arsal-based Sheikh Mutafa Hariri, known as Abu Taqiyya, calling on him to head to the outskirts of Arsal in a bid to talk to him and find a way to get out of the battle.

The sources said that such a move “indicates that Al-Talli knows very well that the battle is over, and that he is looking for ways to save his life and the lives of his militants.”

Earlier on Monday, Hezbollah fighters took control of Wadi Al-Khayl, Nusra’s stronghold in Arsal outskirts, where Al-Talli had been operating along with his militants.

Al-Manar Camera Inspects Nusra Commander’s Post in Arsal Outskirts

Al-Manar – July 25, 2017

Al-Manar camera inspected Nusra Fornt commander Abu Malik Al-Talle’s post in Wadi Al-Khayl in Arsal outskirts on Tuesday after Hezbollah soldiers liberated the area from the terrorists.

Al-Manar TV footage shows the well-equipped post which was provided with all the life facilities needed by the terrorist commander to carry out his takfiri ‘duties’ in the area.

The video shows the medical and food stuffs provided by various sides, including the Qatari government, the electric appliances, the razors used by Al-Talle to shave before escaping from the post and more.

‘Police easily startled’: Warning signs erected near spot of fatal Minneapolis shooting

RT | July 25, 2017

Fake street signs warning Twin City residents to beware of police have been erected following the killing of an unarmed woman by a Minneapolis officer.

Posted in several locations across Minneapolis and St. Paul, the signs read: “Warning: Twin Cities Police easily startled.”

The signs are said to be mocking the excuse given by officer Matthew Harrity who said he and his partner, Mohamed Noor, were “startled” by a noise before shooting Justine Damond outside her home on July 15.

The “unauthorized” signs were taken down by authorities shortly after they were erected, police said. […]

A woman, supposedly Damond, slapped the back of the patrol car before walking up to the driver’s side of the vehicle, according to an investigation carried out by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). … Full article

Trident nuclear submarine replacement plans ‘unachievable’ – spending watchdog

RT | July 25, 2017

Multi-billion pound projects to upgrade and renew Britain’s nuclear arsenal have been branded “unachievable” by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) in its report to the Treasury and Cabinet Office.

The watchdog’s report, which was picked up by the Ferret investigative website, found that major projects relating to the nuclear deterrent are poorly managed, over budget, and subject to technical difficulties.

Those projects are the £1.7 billion (US$2.2bn) nuclear reactor manufacturing program and the program to build four nuclear-armed and seven nuclear-powered submarines at a cost of £31 billion and £9 billion respectively.

The reactor manufacturing project, based at Rolls Royce in Derby, picked up the worst possible IPA rating after being marked as “red,” with the author’s warning that “successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable.”

“There are major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable. … continue

America’s Militarized Police

Made in Israel?

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • July 25, 2017

The horrific execution by police of an Australian woman in her pajamas that took place last week in Minneapolis has again produced a torrent of criticism over killings initiated by law enforcement in situations in which the officers are in no way threatened. America has always been a violent place relative to much of the rest of the world, but even so there has been a noticeable shift in how, since the trauma of 9/11, some policemen believe themselves to be superior to and detached from the society they are supposed to be protecting. And the public is reciprocating, seeing the police frequently as a force that is no longer there to serve the people and instead something that should be feared. Even in the upper middle class predominantly white county that I live in, residents not infrequently discuss the increasingly visible and aggressive police presence. It is widely believed that arguing with cops or showing even the slightest attitude in contacts with them is done at one’s peril.

Even in low crime parts of the country, the police are able to deploy fully armed and equipped swat teams that are more military than civilian in their threatening demeanor as well in the body armor and weapons they carry. Many cities and counties now have surplus military armored vans for crowd control even if they have no crowds. Armed drones are increasingly becoming part of the law enforcement arsenal and it sometimes appears as if the police are copying the military as a model of “how to do it.”

The various levels of government that make up the United States seem to be preparing for some kind of insurrection, which may indeed be the case somewhere down the road if the frustrations of the public are not somehow dealt with. But there is another factor that has, in my opinion, become a key element in the militarization of the police in the United States. That would be the role of the security organs of the state of Israel in training American cops, a lucrative business that has developed since 9/11 and which inter alia gives the “students” a whole different perspective on the connection of the police with those who are being policed, making the relationship much more one of an occupier and the occupied. … continue

Impressions of Iran

By Robert Fantina | Aletho News | July 25, 2017

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity of visiting Iran. I spent time in the capital city of Tehran, the country’s largest city, and Mashhad, a large city in the northern part of Iran. I saw what I expected to see: each was a bustling city. The downtown area of each was crowded and busy, not unlike other cities I’ve visited in different parts of the world.

Where I gained the impression that Iran was a prosperous, modern nation before my visit, I don’t know. Prior to my departure, when I announced to friends and acquaintances that I would soon be visiting Iran, I was met with shocked reactions. Here are some of the questions I was asked at that time… continue

Move to End CIA Support for Syria Rebels Cuts US Losses – Ex-EU Adviser

Sputnik – 25.07.2017

President Donald Trump’s move to end the CIA training program for Syrian rebels finally cuts US losses and acknowledges the failure of efforts to topple President Bashar Assad, former European Union adviser Paolo von Schirach told Sputnik.

On Friday, US Special Operations Command head Raymond Thomas said at a security forum that the administration ended the CIA train-and-arm initiative after assessing the nature of the program and its viability in light of US objectives.

“The chance of overthrowing Assad via military actions is a dream,” Schirach said. “US efforts to force regime change in Damascus by supporting the domestic Syrian opposition through military assistance have failed.”

Schirach, who is also the president of the Global Policy Institute and professor of international affairs at BAU University in Washington, said the decision to end the CIA training program marked a belated recognition by US policymakers that they were not going to be able to topple Assad and his government in Damascus, no matter how many weapons and support they funneled to the rebels.

Trump’s decision showed US policymakers had abandoned a six year effort by the Obama administration to build up military rebel forces in Syria, Schirach claimed. … continue

Russian Military Denies Reports of Airstrike in Syria’s East Ghouta Safe Zone

Sputnik – 25.07.2017

DAMASCUS – The Russian reconciliation center in Syria denied Tuesday the reports of an airstrike on July 24 in the de-escalation zone in eastern Ghouta.

The agreement on operation of a de-escalation zone, envisaging full ceasefire, came into force in eastern Ghouta on Monday. Earlier Tuesday, media reports emerged claiming that an airstrike killed at least eight people in an attack on the town of Arbin the previous evening.

“Western media reports citing the UK-financed White Helmets and the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on an alleged airstrike on evening of July 24 in the eastern Ghouta deescalation zone are a complete lie aimed at discrediting the peace process,” a spokesperson of the center said.

According to the spokesperson, local opposition groups “confirmed there were no airstrikes or combat in this de-escalation zone.”

On Saturday, Russian Defense Ministry announced the signing of an agreement on the order Eastern Ghouta de-escalation in Syria following the results of the talks held in Cairo with Syrian opposition, mediated by the Egyptian side. The agreements define the borders of the deescalation zone, the deployment sites and powers of the deescalation control forces, as well as the routes for delivering humanitarian aid and clear passage to the population. On Monday, the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces reported that Russia has set up two checkpoints and four observation posts in the zone.

Chinese interception of US spy plane ‘legal, necessary & professional’ – Beijing

RT | July 25, 2017

The interception of a US spy plane by two Chinese jets over the Yellow Sea was “legal, necessary, [and] professional,” Beijing said, adding that such flights by Washington threaten China’s national security.

“Close-in reconnaissance by US aircraft threatens China’s national security, harms Sino-US maritime and air military safety, endangers the personal safety of both sides’ pilots and is the root cause of unexpected incidents,” Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said.

The actions of the Chinese jets’ pilots were “legal, necessary and professional” and conducted “in accordance with the law and the rules,” he added.

The statement comes after US officials told local media that an American surveillance plane was intercepted by two Chinese jets on Sunday. … Full article

Philippines urges US to return church bells

Press TV – July 25, 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has demanded the United States return church bells seized by American forces in a bloody campaign more than a century ago, in another blast at his country’s traditional ally.

American forces took three bells from the Catholic church of Balangiga town on the eastern island of Samar in 1901 as war booty in what historians said was a particularly brutal military operation in the new US colony.

“Give us back those Balangiga bells. They are not yours. They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage,” Duterte said at his annual State of the Nation Address on Monday.

“Those bells are reminders of the gallantry and heroism of our forebears who resisted the American colonizers and sacrificed their lives in the process.”

Two of the bells are installed at a memorial for US war dead in Wyoming, while the third is with US forces in South Korea.

Some US politicians oppose the dismantling of the memorial.

US embassy spokeswoman Molly Koscina gave a non-committal reply on Tuesday to Duterte’s demands.

“We are aware that the bells of Balangiga have deep significance for a number of people, both in the United States and in the Philippines,” she said in an email to AFP.

Duterte on Monday repeated a Filipino account of the campaign that the commanding general, Jacob Smith, ordered Samar be turned into a “howling wilderness” and that all Filipino males aged 10 or above be killed.

A 1902 US court-martial convicted Smith of a minor offence in relation to the Samar campaign, while 39 other Americans were separately found guilty of torturing and shooting Filipino prisoners there, the US Army War College research paper said.

However none of them were jailed, according to the paper. … Full article

Q & A: The National Constituent Assembly in Venezuela

Venezuela Solidarity Campaign | Venezuelanalysis | July 24, 2017

Elections for a National Constituent Assembly are being held in Venezuela on July 30th. Here are some common questions – with the answers – that are being asked about the Assembly. … continue

Former CIA Director Calls For A Coup If Trump Fires Mueller

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | July 24, 2017

In the most vocal opposition to president Donald Trump yet, former CIA Director John Brennan said that if the White House tries to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, government officials should refuse to follow the president orders, as they would be – in his view – “inconsistent” with the duties of the executive branch.

“I think it’s the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out. I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue. That Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this government is at stake and something needs to be done for the good of the future,” Brennan told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum, effectively calling for a coup against the president should Trump give the order to fire Mueller. … continue

Policing for Profit: Jeff Sessions & Co.’s Thinly Veiled Plot to Rob Us Blind

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute | July 24, 2017

Let’s not mince words.

Jeff Sessions, the nation’s top law enforcement official, would not recognize the Constitution if he ran right smack into it.

Whether the head of the Trump Administration’s Justice Department enjoys being the architect of a police state or is just painfully, criminally clueless, Sessions has done a great job thus far of sidestepping the Constitution at every turn.

Most recently, under the guise of “fighting crime,” Sessions gave police the green light to rob, pilfer, steal, thieve, swipe, purloin, filch and liberate American taxpayers of even more of their hard-earned valuables (especially if it happens to be significant amounts of cash) using any means, fair or foul. … continue

Red Cross: Yemen Cholera Deaths Expected to Double by Year’s End

Sputnik – July 25, 2017

The forecast for Yemen’s cholera epidemic looks grim, as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warns that by the end of 2017 the number of cholera cases will double, reaching 600,000.

President of ICRC Peter Maurer called the massive outbreak “alarming and growing” on Sunday while on a five-day visit to the country. Zee News quoted him saying, “The great tragedy is that this cholera outbreak is a preventable man-made humanitarian catastrophe.”

He explained that devastation of Yemen’s health system and infrastructure by the ongoing civil war is directly responsible for the health crisis. Maurer said, “I find this needless suffering absolutely infuriating. The world is sleep-walking into yet more tragedy.”

On July 21 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that since the outbreak began in April there had already been 1,828 cholera-related deaths reported.

Since there is a blockade on certain areas imposed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, the ICRC is trying to negotiate with different sides of the Yemen conflict to allow its members freedom of movement to places they want to visit, according to Committee spokeswoman in Sanaa Soumaya Beltifa.

The Red Cross reports that since conflict first broke out in September 2014 more than three million people have fled their homes, while 20 million people in Yemen still need humanitarian assistance.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that Yemen is on the brink of famine, and cholera is typically more severe for people who are malnourished. … Full article

Palestinian shot in the head by Israeli forces during clashes in Hizma in critical condition

Ma’an – July 24, 2017

JERUSALEM – A Palestinian was shot and seriously injured in the head with live fire by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted Monday evening in the town of Hizma, northeast of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement that the Palestinian male, whose identity remained unknown, was transferred to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where he was undergoing surgery and reported to be in critical condition.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured over the past week during clashes and demonstrations against new Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. … Full article

Palestinians, B’nai Brith and Canada’s New Democratic Party

Niki Ashton injects vital ideas and principles into the NDP leadership campaign

By Prof. Tony Hall | American Herald Tribune | July 24, 2017

Like many NATO countries, Canada has suffered from an impoverishment of free and open debate when it comes to the issue of relations with the Israeli government and the Palestinian people. In country after country the Israeli lobby dominates not only governing parties but opposition parties as well.

The Canadian Parliament has epitomized the pattern. Elected federal officials have conspicuously failed to reflect the anxieties felt by many Canadians of conscience who have managed to become well informed on Palestinian-Israeli relations. There has been little in Canadian parliamentary debates or in mainstream media reports to reflect the views of those most attuned to the unmitigated suffering of Palestinian people under the jack-booted authoritarianism of Israeli domination.

In recent years the Liberals and Conservatives and the New Democrats (NDP) have maintained a blind eye towards Israeli assaults on the Palestinian people especially in Gaza and in the Occupied Territories seized through Israeli conquest a half century ago. Typically Canadian parliamentarians parrot one another across party lines on the sanctity of the “Israeli right of self-defence.” Concurrently our elected representatives mostly fail to notice that Palestinians share with all peoples a basic human right to protect themselves against systematic bouts of dispossession, disempowerment, mass incarcerations, and industrial-scale military murders sometimes heartlessly described as “cutting the grass.” … continue

Baghdad seeking ‘substantial’ Russian military & political presence in Iraq – vice-president

RT | July 24, 2017

Russian military and political presence in Iraq would bring balance to the whole Middle Eastern and North African region, Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi vice-president, said during his visit to Moscow.

“It’s well known that Russia has historically strong relations with Iraq, therefore we would like Russia to have a substantial presence in our country, both politically and militarily,” al-Maliki said during his meeting with the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, Valentina Matviyenko.

“This way, a balance would be established that would benefit the region, its peoples and its countries,” he added.

The vice president said that Baghdad wants to boost relations with Moscow as it believes “in Russia’s role in solving most of the key international issues as well as improving stability and balance in our region and worldwide.”

Matviyenko, in turn, praised the commitment of the current Iraqi authorities to widening their cooperation with Moscow.

“Russia is also determined to expand its interaction with Iraq both politically and economically as well as in the military-technical sphere, and, of course, on the parliamentary level,” she said. … continue

When the Gatekeepers of Press Freedom Deride Trump or Putin…

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 24.07.2017

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” – Malcolm X

Seven hundred and nineteen words is what it takes for an experienced journalist at The Atlantic to earn his comeuppance hating Donald Trump, and fueling the anti-Putin narrative. When a second meeting between the two world leaders at the G20 comes out, the mainstream “fake news” outlets turn tabloid embellishing a non-event. Since CNN was proven to be running game for ratings, the creative floodgates seem to have opened for the rest of corporate controlled media.

The Atlantic piece in question, written by Trump hater David A. Graham, tells us the story of how Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met a second time after a dinner for G20 notables. Graham admits from the start, “it’s not known what they discussed”, but the lack of facts does not avert wondering propaganda evangelism from The Atlantic. The magazine led by the super Zionist and ultra-lefty, Jeffrey Goldberg the Obama doctrine preacher. History will remember Goldberg for his New Yorker piece entitled “The Great Terror”, which argued of the threat posed to America by Saddam Hussein, and which assisted (as other narratives did) the Bush White House in engaging in regime change there. I’ll leave off on my expectations and anticipations for when the chickens might come home to roost on Goldberg and The Atlantic here. Suffice it to say The Atlantic does not have “the truth” in it. Now on to the Trump-Putin secret meeting of super villains. … continue

Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence

Consortium News | July 24, 2017

In a memo to President Trump, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, cite new forensic studies to challenge the claim of the key Jan. 6 “assessment” that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails last year. … continue

Trump Should Veto Congress’ Foolish New Sanctions Bill

By Ron Paul | July 24, 2017

This week’s expected House vote to add more sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea is a prime example of how little thought goes into US foreign policy. Sanctions have become kind of an automatic action the US government takes when it simply doesn’t know what else to do.

No matter what the problem, no matter where on earth it occurs, the answer from Washington is always sanctions. Sanctions are supposed to force governments to change policies and do what Washington tells them or face the wrath of their people. So the goal of sanctions is to make life as miserable as possible for civilians so they will try to overthrow their governments. Foreign leaders and the elites do not suffer under sanctions. This policy would be immoral even if it did work, but it does not.

Why is Congress so eager for more sanctions on Russia? The neocons and the media have designated Russia as the official enemy and the military industrial complex and other special interests want to continue getting rich terrifying Americans into believing the propaganda. … continue

Statins have ‘no consistent evidence’ of improving heart attack patients’ survival

By Alexandra Thompson | Daily Mail | July 14, 2017

Statins have ‘no consistent evidence’ of improving heart attack patients’ survival, researchers from around the world conclude.

Taking a daily statin for five years after a heart attack extends your life by just four days, new research reveals.

The researchers add that statins’ supposed benefits are based on ‘cherry-picked science’ and are unjustly promoted by pharmaceutical giants.

Heart attack survivors should instead aim to improve their health through diet and exercise, according to the researchers.

Statins are the most prescribed drug in the UK. Commonly reported side effects include headache, muscle pain and nausea. They can also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. … continue

‘We were influenced by Pope Francis,’ say men who vandalized Australian war memorial

RT | July 24, 2017

Four Australians who were found guilty of vandalism for removing a brass sword from a war memorial told a court that their actions were inspired by Pope Francis, referencing a message in which the pontiff said that religion cannot be used to justify war.

The men were convicted on Monday of vandalizing the memorial – which consists of a stone crucifix and a brass “sword of sacrifice” – in Brisbane’s Toowong cemetery on Ash Wednesday, March 1.

One of the defendants, 61-year-old James Joseph Dowling, told the Brisbane magistrates court ahead of the Monday ruling that Pope Francis had “influenced” them to remove the sword from the monument.

“We were influenced by Pope Francis’s words… where he said religion can never be used to justify war, and peace alone is holy,” Dowling said, as quoted by the Australian Associated Press.

“To actually go as far as to remove Jesus from the cross and replace it with a sword was the ultimate desecration of this symbol of our faith.” … continue

Okinawa files new lawsuit to block relocation of US Marines base – local media

RT | July 24, 2017

The Japanese prefecture of Okinawa filed a new lawsuit against the government demanding a halt to construction work for the relocation of the US Futenma base, local media report. The relocation has been the target of protests among locals.

The prefectural authorities say that Tokyo is acting illegally without permission from the Okinawa governor, as seen in a copy of the lawsuit sent on Monday and obtained by the Okinawa Times.

The relocation of the base involves damaging seabed rock, which would harm the fishing grounds, the lawsuit states. Earlier in July, an Okinawa Prefectural Assembly committee asked for legal action against damage to the fishing grounds caused by the relocation.

“The granting of fishing rights is considered a local government matter and it’s the prefecture that determines how to interpret those local government matters,” Kiichiro Jahana, the head of the executive office of the governor, told the assembly. … continue

Judge Clears Military Contractor in Sprawling Burn-Pits Case

By TIM RYAN | Courthouse News | July 20, 2017

A federal judge in Maryland on Wednesday dismissed a massive collection of cases brought against a government contractor by veterans and their family members who say the military’s use of open burn pits at bases during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan left them with serious illnesses.

The case against KBR, a government contractor and former Halliburton subsidiary, arrived in Maryland federal court in 2009, when the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation send 63 different complaints to the court for consolidation. Of the 63 complaints filed in federal courts, at least 44 sought a nationwide class certification.

The complaints all made the same basic claims – that KBR ran massive burn pits at operating bases in Afghanistan and Iraq into which its employees dumped tires, trucks and even medical waste.

The resulting towers of smoke left the soldiers on the bases with chronic respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses, as did the contractor’s alleged failure to provide clean water to troops on the ground, according to a class-action complaint filed in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland by Alan Metzgar and Paul Parker in 2009. … continue

Kremlin Comments on Claims of Russian Reinforcements Near Ukrainian Border

Sputnik – 24.07.2017

MOSCOW – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on Monday on the Ukrainian military’s claims of Russian reinforcements near its borders.

Russia is free to change the configuration of its Armed Forces within its territory as it sees fit, Peskov said Monday in response to the reports.

“Russia, first of all, is free to change the configuration of the armed forces on its territory in accordance with the degree to which it is deemed appropriate,” Peskov told reporters. … Full article

EU To Retaliate “Within Days” If US Imposes New Sanctions On Russia

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | July 24, 2017

In what appears set to be major diplomatic showdown between Washington D.C. and Brussels, on Sunday the White House said that President Trump was open to signing legislation toughening sanctions on Russia after Senate and House leaders reached agreement on a bill late last week. … continue

Safe Zone: Russia Informs US, Jordan, Israel of Deploying Checkpoints in Syria

Sputnik – 24.07.2017

MOSCOW – Russia has informed the United States, Jordan and Israel ahead of deploying two checkpoints and 10 observation points along the so-called contact line in Syria, the Russian military said Monday.

Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said that the Russian military police established the posts along the southwestern de-escalation zone on July 21 and July 22.

“We informed our colleagues from the United States, Jordan and Israel through military diplomatic channels in advance of the deployment of the Russian control forces around the perimeter of the de-escalation zone in southern Syria,” Rudskoy said.

The checkpoints and observation posts, he noted, are aimed at “supporting the ceasefire regime, facilitating unhindered access of humanitarian supplies, the return of refugees and temporarily displaced persons.”

Rudskoy added that the nearest Russian military post to the contact line is 13 kilometers, or 8 miles, from the disengagement zone of the Israeli and Syrian forces near the Golan Heights.

Israel: Amman embassy killer guard has diplomatic immunity

Press TV – July 24, 2017

Israel’s Foreign Ministry says its embassy security guard, who killed two Jordanians in the city of Amman, has diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention in response to Jordan demanding an investigation.

The security man shot dead a Jordanian who allegedly attacked him with a screwdriver at the Israeli embassy staff residence in Amman on Sunday and accidentally killed a second Jordanian.

The assailant was said to be delivering furniture to the building while the second victim was the property owner. The Israeli security guard only sustained light injuries in Sunday’s incident.

Jordanian authorities have refused to allow the guard to leave the country and demanded an investigation into the deadly shooting.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry, however, claimed in a statement on Monday that the guard had “acted in self-defense” and had immunity from questioning and prosecution.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in contact with the head of the embassy and the guard, the statement read.

“The Foreign Ministry and security officials are working via different channels with the government of Jordan,” it added.

A security source in Amman said the first Jordanian, 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh, succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The second, Bashar Hamarneh, a doctor who was in the residential quarter of the embassy at the time of the incident died of his injuries after midnight in hospital. … continue

The Israel Lobby: Time for a Second Edition

By Paul Craig Roberts | July 24, 2017

… If we think of a spectrum with influence at one end shading into control at the other, in the decade since The Israel Lobby was published Israel has moved closer to the control end of the spectrum. For example, we learn from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that a bill in the US House of Representatives “would require U.S. to consult with Israel before selling arms in Mideast”.

Last month the House of Representatives unanimously passed HR 672 titled “Combating European Anti-Semitism Act of 2017.” Former CIA official Philip Giraldi reports that “the bill requires the State Department to monitor what European nations and their police forces are doing about anti-Semitism.” In other words, the bill makes Washington an enforcer over Europe for Israel. There is a companion bill in the US Senate.

And then there is S. 722 backed by AIPAC, titled “An act to provide congressional review and to counter Iranian and Russian aggression.” Iranian and Russian “aggression” exist by assertion, not by fact. The bill more or less makes it impossible for President Trump to remove the sanctions and normalize relations. … Full article

Wine and the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | July 24, 2017

Two weeks ago the worst fear of Canadian opponents of neoliberal ‘free trade’ agreements came true.

Surprisingly, there has been almost no reaction from the political parties, unions, and other organizations that warned these agreements would be used to undermine Canadian law, even though this is exactly what happened.

After David Kattenburg repeatedly complained about inaccurate labels on two wines sold in Ontario, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) notified the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) that it “would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading” to declare Israel as the country of origin for wines produced in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Quoting from official Canadian policy, CFIA noted “the government of Canada does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967.” On July 11 the LCBO sent out a letter to all sacramental wine vendors that stated CFIA’s conclusion that products from two wineries contained grapes “grown, fermented, processed, blended and finished in the West Bank occupied territory” and should no longer be sold until accurately labelled.

But, in response to pressure from the Israeli embassy, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai Brith, CFIA quickly reversed its decision. … continue

‘Palestinians reject Israel’s system of apartheid and racial discrimination’

RT | July 24, 2017

The escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t religious, it’s about the rights of Palestinian people to be free from the longest occupation in modern history, says Mustafa Barghouti, the General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative. … continue

Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa compound amid flare-up

Press TV – July 24, 2017

Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound under the heavy escort of security forces at a time of boiling tensions over Tel Aviv’s siege of Islam’s third holiest site.

Footage circulated across social media on Monday showed the Israelis ambling around comfortably at the sensitive place as Palestinian worshipers squatted outside the compound.

The Israeli security forces regularly allow extremists to enter the compound under police protection, while restricting Palestinian access.

Israeli forces also dispersed protesters staging a sit-in protest in front of the metal detectors the regime has set up at the entrance to restrict Palestinian access. […]

Earlier, Israeli forces closed off the Huwara gate in the city, triggering clashes with Palestinian youths, which injured two of the protesters, and led to the arrests of two others. – Full article

Jewish settlers attack Palestinian citizens overnight in West Bank

Palestine Information Center – July 23, 2017

WEST BANK – Hordes of extremist Jewish settlers, some of them armed, carried out attacks against Palestinian citizens in different areas of the West Bank on Saturday night.

In Nablus, local sources told the Palestinian Information Center that dozens of settlers gathered at the main entrance to Huwara town, chanted racist slurs, blocked the Jit-Huwara road and hurled stones at Palestinian cars.

A group of settlers also attacked Palestinian homes in Asira al-Qibliya town, southwest of Nablus, while other settlers stoned Palestinian cars traveling on a road between Nablus and Qalqilya, particularly near Kedumim settlement.

Different areas of Ramallah also saw similar stone-throwing attacks by settlers from Beit El settlement. Several cars sustained damage.

In al-Khalil, settlers threw stones at Palestinian cars near Beit Einun junction and Kiryat Arba settlement.

Israel detains 42 Palestinians, including parliamentarian, in overnight raids

Ma’an – July 23, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Amid growing tension in the occupied Palestinian territory, with seven Palestinians and three Israelis killed in the past week, Israeli forces launched a massive detention campaign between Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

At least 42 Palestinians were detained in the raids, including a member of Palestinian parliament, two teenage girls, and a 75-year-old man, with the Israeli army targeting people allegedly affiliated to the Hamas movement in particular. […]

Israeli forces detained Hamas-affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Omar Mahmoud Matar, also known as Omar Abd al-Razaq, after raiding and searching his home in the town.

He has previously been detained by the Israeli army numerous times.

An Israeli army spokesperson said the army detained “a Hamas operative” in Salfit.

He joined least 12 other Palestinian parliamentarians in Israeli custody. … Full article

Palestinian activists banned from entering Jerusalem and using social media

Ma’an – July 23, 2017

JERUSALEM – A number of Palestinian activists and political leaders who were detained on the eve of massive protests in occupied East Jerusalem against Israeli security measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque were released on Sunday and temporarily banned from entering Jerusalem, using social media, and giving interviews.

The Israeli magistrate court in Jerusalem released head of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem Hatem Abd al-Qadir, Fatah’s Jerusalem secretary Adnan Ghaith, activist Nasser al-Hadmi, activist Nasser Ajaj, and activist Muhamnad al-Hawa.

They were all banned from entering Jerusalem for 10 days, ordered not to give interviews to journalists for 50 days, and ordered not to use social media for 30 days, according to lawyer for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Muhammad Mahmoud. … Full article

Facebook removes Intifada page

Palestine Information Center – July 23, 2017

GAZA – Facebook deleted the official page of the Jerusalem Intifada on Sunday for publishing news about the Israeli violations at al-Aqsa Mosque.

For its part, the administration of the Intifada page said that despite the attempts exerted to block the site, it will continue to expose the Israeli crimes and document the Intifada events whatever the cost.

The administration affirmed that blocking Palestinian Facebook pages falls in line with systematic efforts to silence the Palestinian voice and spread the false Israeli narrative instead.

The Intifada site aims to document the Jerusalem Intifada events, including the Israeli crimes, and seeks to be a first reference for researchers and those interested in reading about the history of the Palestinian Intifada.

The Fine Print: IMF Backs Down on Ukraine Land Reform Ultimatum, But at a Price

Sputnik – 23.07.2017

The International Monetary Fund has slightly relaxed its conditions for the provision of a new loan tranche to Ukraine, removing the demand that Kiev first revise the country’s laws on the privatization of agricultural land. Ukraine watchers Vladimir Zharikhin and Alexander Dudchak say that the IMF’s move is just a ploy designed to entrap Ukraine.

Last week, the IMF confirmed that it would not insist on the immediate implementation of land reform as a precondition for the provision of its next loan tranche to Ukraine in the fall.

Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, IMF spokesman William Murray confirmed that land reform would not be on the agenda for the program revision meeting next month. “Land reform remains an important condition under the program. However, given the need to design the reform well and reach consensus on key steps ahead, there was a need to reset its timing to later in the year,” he said.

The IMF had earlier insisted that Kiev make changes to its land laws to allow for its privatization. Ukrainian lawmakers have stubbornly and repeatedly rejected these demands.

Other IMF loan conditions remain unchanged, and include pension reform, measures to accelerate privatization, and increased efforts against corruption, including the creation of an independent anti-corruption court. IMF conditions also include the requirement that Kiev continues with fiscal reform and restructuring of the energy sector, programs which have led to severe cuts in public spending, and skyrocketing utilities prices. … continue

US has record future supply of clean energy

Potential Gas Committee | July 19, 2017

GOLDEN, COLORADO — The Potential Gas Committee (PGC) today released the results of its latest biennial assessment of the nation’s natural gas resources, which indicates that the United States possesses a total technically recoverable resource base of 2,817 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) as of year-end 2016. This is the highest resource evaluation in the Committee’s 52-year history, exceeding the previous high assessment (from 2014) by 302 Tcf (increase of 12%). The increase resulted from reassessments of shale gas resources in the Atlantic, Gulf Coast, Mid-Continent and Rocky Mountain areas.

“The latest assessment by PGC confirms that the U.S. has abundant resources of natural gas. These resources are present in various reservoirs both onshore and offshore,” said Dr. Alexei V. Milkov, Professor of Geology and Geological Engineering and Director of the Potential Gas Agency (PGA) at the Colorado School of Mines. … Full article

Vatican archbishop: All should accept that global warming is a fact

By Lisa Bourne | LifeSiteNews | July 19, 2017

ROME – The head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences has again inferred that denial of the controversial concept of manmade climate change equates to flat earth mentality.

“From the scientific point of view, the sentence that the earth is warmed by human activity is as true as the sentence: The earth is round!” said Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo. […]

After asserting in his address that global warming was caused by human activity and twice claiming that Pope Francis’ teaching on it via Laudato Si’ was magisterial, other panel presenters at the conference challenged Archbishop Sorondo.

Acton Institute founder and president Father Robert Sirico explained citing the Catechism that the Church’s mission was spiritual and not political, economic or social.

“The Church does not claim to speak with the same authority on matters of economics and science as it does when pronouncing on matters of faith and morals,” he said.

Later during the question and answer session when asked about the weight of the pope’s opinions regarding global warming in Laudato Si’, Archbishop Sorondo said the “judgment must be considered magisterium – it is not an opinion.”

“It is under ordinary magisterium,” he said, “that abortion is a grievous sin – this is ordinary magisterium because there is not the revelation of it.” So there is an assumption of “moral doctrine,” he continued, that even though the majority opinion is contrary, we accept that “abortion is a grievous sin” is magisterium.

Journalist Riccardo Cascioli objected to the archbishop implying that Catholics must submit to pronouncements on scientific theories versus faith and morals, prompting a stern retort from Sorondo.

“When the Pope has assumed this, it is magisterium of the church whether you like it or not,” he stated. “It is the magisterium of the church just as abortion is a grievous sin – equal … it is magisterium of the church … whether you like it or not.” – Full article

Don’t believe the American Heart Assn. — butter, steak and coconut oil aren’t likely to kill you

By Nina Teicholz | Los Angeles Times | July 23, 2017

Last month, the American Heart Association once again went after butter, steak and especially coconut oil with this familiar warning: The saturated fats in these foods cause heart disease. The organization’s “presidential advisory” was a fresh look at the science and came in response to a growing number of researchers, including myself, who have poured over this same data in recent years and beg to differ. A rigorous review of the evidence shows that when it comes to heart attacks or mortality, saturated fats are not guilty.

To me, the AHA advisory released in June was mystifying. How could its scientists examine the same studies as I had, yet double down on an anti-saturated fat position? […]

That the AHA should be so resistant to updating its view of saturated fats, despite so much legitimate science, could simply reflect the association’s unwavering devotion to a belief it has promoted for decades. Or it could be due to its significant, longstanding reliance on funding from interested industries, such as the vegetable-oil manufacturer Procter & Gamble, maker of Crisco, which virtually launched the AHA as a nation-wide powerhouse in 1948 by designating the then-needy group to receive all the funds from a radio contest it sponsored (about $17 million). More recently, Bayer, the owner of LibertyLink soybeans, pledged up to $500,000 to the AHA, perhaps encouraged by the group’s continued support of soybean oil, by far the dominant ingredient in the “vegetable oil” consumed in America today. … Read full article

Iran & Iraq sign defense deal to step up military cooperation

RT | July 23, 2017

Iran and Iraq have sealed an agreement to boost military cooperation and to battle against “terrorism and extremism”, Iranian media has reported.

The memorandum of understanding on defense and cooperation was signed Sunday during a meeting between Iraqi Defense minister Major General Erfan al-Hiyali and his Iranian counterpart Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan.

A delegation of high-ranking Iraqi military officials had arrived in Tehran Saturday.

“The expansion of cooperation and sharing experiences in the fields of fight against terrorism and extremism, border security, training, logistics, technical and military supports were included” in the memorandum, the IRNA news agency reported.

The two ministers further expressed hope that the agreement will lead to more serious and deep collaboration between Tehran and Baghdad.

The Iraqi defense minister also thanked Iran for its help in fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) adding, that the Iraqi Army will respond “to any aggression and occupation of its territory and will not permit formation of new seditions and breach of law aimed at partitioning of the country.”

Al-Hiyali also stressed the crucial role of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militia in the liberation of Mosul, stressing that “nobody is permitted to dismiss popular forces because they act based on law,” according to IRNA.

His remarks mirror those of Iraq’s Vice President Nouri al-Maliki in an interview given to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency earlier this week.

“The main credit [in the Mosul victory] goes to the Iraqi soldiers, people’s militia, Iraqi air force,” al-Maliki underlined.

He added that he “regrets and denies [Americans] claiming the victory [in Mosul] is their achievement” which Washington now plans to use as a way to establish military bases on Iraqi territory in order to maintain influence in the region.

“The Iraqi society is against foreign military bases on the country’s territory,” al-Maliki said, adding that he has already warned the US against “coming back to Iraq and setting up bases here.” … continue