Aletho News


Current News and Analysis

Fresh Saudi airstrike leaves nearly two dozen civilians killed in SW Yemen

Press TV – April 20, 2018

Nearly two dozen civilians have lost their lives when Saudi fighter jets launched an aerial attack in Yemen’s southwestern province of Ta’izz as the Riyadh regime continues with its bombardment campaign against its impoverished neighbor.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told al-Masirah television network that Saudi warplanes targeted a vehicle as it was travelling along a road in the al-Arish of Mawza district on Friday afternoon.

The sources added that 20 people were killed in the airstrike.

Earlier in the day, three houses were reduced to rubble in the al-Dhaher district of the mountainous northwestern province of Sa’ada, when Saudi military aircraft carried out three airstrikes against the area. … Full article

Modi’s homage to Herzl comes to haunt him

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | April 20, 2018

The Israelis are in a bloody mess. They don’t know how to handle it – Palestinians in their thousands taking a leaf out of Gandhi and protesting non-violently against their colonial masters ignoring their fearsome reputation for brutality. And, to boot, women are at the barricades leading the Great Return March. Bravo! … continue

Israeli Colonists Cut 100 Olive Trees Near Nablus

IMEMC News – April 20, 2018

A group of extremist Israeli colonists uprooted, Friday, at least 100 olive trees from an Orchard in Burin village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The assailants, who came from a nearby illegal colony, invaded an orchard owned by Mohammad Raja, and cut 100 trees; many of them were planted more than 60 years ago, in addition to cutting several almond trees.

The attacked land is the only source of livelihood to Mohammad and his family.

Yahia Qadous, the head of Burin Village Council, said the colonizers also wrote racist graffiti, including “Death To Arabs”, on big rocks in the orchard.

He added that the attack is part of numerous similar violations targeting many orchards, homes and property in the village.

In related news, several extremist Israeli colonists, living in an illegal colony which was built on private Palestinian lands, invaded the village of Burqa, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, wrote racist graffiti and punctured tires of many cars.

4 Palestinians killed, dozens injured on 4th Friday of Return March

Palestine Information Center – April 20, 2018

GAZA – Four Palestinians were killed and 645 injured by Israeli gunfire while taking part in the 4th Friday of the Great March of Return in Gaza.

Spokesman for Gaza’s Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qedra announced that Ahmad Aqel, 25, Ahmad al-Athamna, 24, Mohammed Ayyoub, 15, and Sa’d Abu Taha were killed after being shot by Israeli snipers during the protests.

About 645 Palestinians were injured including 29 children and 13 women, according to the Ministry.

The latest deaths brought the number of the Palestinians killed since the launch of the Great March of Return on 30th March to 39, two of whom are being detained by the Israeli forces. Nearly 4,279 have been injured so far.

The PIC reporter said that the Palestinian youths managed to remove a large part of the border fence erected east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Dozens of tires were set on fire during the protests, while some Hebrew media sources reported that fires erupted in some fields neighboring the Gaza Strip after a group of youths flew kites with flaming rags dangling from their tails over the border areas.

Meanwhile, Israeli planes dropped leaflets near al-Awda (return) camps along the border fence warning the Palestinian people against participating in the March of Return and claiming that Hamas exploits them to carry out “terrorist attacks”.

Soldiers Injure Youth With Live Fire Near Nablus

IMEMC News – April 20, 2018

Israeli soldiers shot, Friday, a Palestinian child with live fire, and caused many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in the al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The soldiers assaulted the Palestinians who marched in their village, protesting the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, and the escalating violations against them, their property and holy sites.

Medical sources said the soldiers shot the child, 16, with a live round in his leg, before he was rushed to Salfit governmental hospital.

The soldiers also fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

Students at New York’s prestigious Barnard College vote to divest from Israel

MEMO | April 20, 2018

Students at Barnard College, a prestigious liberal arts institution based in New York, have voted in favour of divestment from companies complicit in Israeli occupation.

On 18 April, the Barnard College Student Government Association (SGA) announced that 64.3 per cent of voters had backed divestment, with a record high turnout for SGA elections.

The referendum asked: “Should Barnard SGA write a letter of support to the College Administration encouraging Barnard to divest from eight multinational companies (Hyundai Heavy Industries, Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Elbit Systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Bank Hapoalim, Mekorot) that profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians?” … Full article

On the Criminal Referral of Comey, Clinton et al: Will the Constitution Hold and the Media Continue to Suppress the Story?

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | April 19, 2018

Ray McGovern reports on a major development in the Russia-gate story that has been ignored by corporate media: a criminal referral to the DOJ against Hillary Clinton, James Comey and others, exposing yet again how established media suppresses news it doesn’t like–about as egregious an example of unethical journalism as there is. – Read article

Last chance for Russiagate? Democrats file lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks

RT | April 20, 2018

In a last-ditch effort to keep the Trump/Russia collusion story alive, the Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit on Friday against the Trump campaign, the Russian government, and WikiLeaks.

The suit alleges that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to hack the DNC’s computer network and publish the committee’s emails via WikiLeaks, reported the Washington Post.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement. … continue

Each “Click” Brings Us One Step Closer to the “Bang!”

The Saker • Unz Review • April 20, 2018

Trump pulled the trigger, but instead of a “bang!” what the world heard was a demure “click”. Considering that we are talking about playing a most dangerous game of potentially nuclear Russian AngloZionist roulette, the “click” is very good news indeed. But, to use the words of Nikki Haley, the US “gun” is still “locked and loaded”.

There are a number of versions out there about what really happened, but I think that the most likely explanation for that “click” is a combination of two events… continue

US still paying White Helmets despite $200mn-aid freeze for Syria recovery, State Dept confirms

RT | April 20, 2018

As the US is reviewing funding aimed at helping war-ravaged Syria rebuild, it’s not neglecting the White Helmets – a controversial militant-linked group instrumental to the media campaign against Assad and Russia.

At a Thursday press briefing, journalists asked US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert for an update on the late-March freeze of $200 million earmarked for the recovery of Syria – and if that means Washington will be withholding payments to the White Helmets. … continue

Russian diplomat says Britain deserves title of world’s worst genocide perpetrator

TASS | April 19, 2018

MOSCOW – Britain may well be described as the holder of the world’s genocide record, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday in response to claims by UK ambassador in Moscow Laurie Bristow to the effect Russia was allegedly behind a number of contract killings.

“Britain is the world’s worst genocider,” she said. “The thought of how many millions of innocent people were put to death in the British colonies is terrifying.”

Zakharova recalled that according to various estimates, British colonists exterminated up to 90%-95% of the aborigines in the process of colonizing Australia.

In the 1870s, Britain conducted genocide against the Zulus in Cape Colony, and in 1954-1961, against the Kikuyu people in Kenya, she recalled.

“In retaliation for the killing of 32 white colonists the British authorities exterminated 300,000 members of the Kikuyu people and drove another 1.5 million into concentration camps,” she said.

In all, Zakharova made public 17 pages of archive information describing Britain’s unseemly actions in the world scene over many years.

The Animus Toward Russia Is Nothing New

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | April 19, 2018

An article in Newsweek last November shows that the U.S. national-security establishment’s animus toward Russia is nothing new. It was the guiding light for the Pentagon and the CIA during the entire Cold War.continue

The Guardian, “Russian bots” and the dehumanisation of dissent

By Kit | OffGuardian | April 20, 2018

Heather Stewart, The Guardian’s chief stenographer political editor, has copied and pasted a press release written a new article all about “Russian bots”. The trouble is she doesn’t seem to know what either of these words actually means. … continue

OPCW work on Skripal poisoning lacks transparency – Russian envoy to UK

RT | April 20, 2018

The investigation of OPCW experts into the poisoning of ex-Russian double agent Sergei Skripal lacks transparency as it wasn’t conducted in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Russian envoy to the UK said.

The probe by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team “was conducted under control” of the British side, Russian Envoy to the UK Alexander Yakovenko said at a press conference in London.

The OPCW team only checked samples which were given to them by UK officials. “They checked only the sites designated by the UK beforehand,” he said. The official stressed that the chemical weapons inspectors identified the substance after it had already been named by top UK officials.

“What we discovered is that the OPCW experts’ work in the UK was not in accordance with the CWC standard procedures, but in bilateral format with the UK, which lacks transparency,” he said. … Full article

Skripals poisoning ‘highly likely’ staged by British intelligence – Russian Foreign Ministry

RT | April 19, 2018

The UK’s behavior after the Skripal incident suggests that the attack was organized by the British spy agencies or was at least beneficial for them, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.

“It was highly likely that the false-flag incident with the poisoning of the Russian citizens in Salisbury was beneficial for, or perhaps organized by, the British intelligence services in order to mar Russia and its political leadership,” Zakharova told a news conference in Moscow on Thursday, markedly using the same phrase regarding probability as London officials and their allies.

Such a false-flag operation would perfectly fit into the “general Russophobe course of the [UK] Conservative government to demonize our country,” the spokeswoman stated, adding that the UK has “frequently committed such acts in the past.”

The “National Defense Strategy of the UK and the banquet speech of PM Theresa May at the end of last year,” also contribute to such version of events, according to Zakharova. The document and May’s speech have clearly envisioned “countering Russia” as one of the main priorities for the UK.

London’s actions in the aftermath of the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4 in the town of Sailsbury have raised many questions in Moscow. Russia says the UK did everything possible to disrupt the investigation and conceal facts, while squarely pinning the blame on Moscow. Russia has vehemently denied the allegations and repeatedly urged the UK to show some proof, or at least make information on the incident publicly available.

“The firm refusal to cooperate with Russia on the Salisbury poisoning investigation, London’s violations of the consular convention, reluctance to cooperate with the OPCW and concealment of the basic data to conduct a transparent investigation are the shining proofs of that,” Zakharova concluded.

CNN reporter inhales deadly ‘chemical weapons’ on camera: ‘Yeah that stings’

The global Fake News leader’s Arwa Damon sampled a little sarin in the course of her humanitarian propaganda piece on Syria

By Ricky Twisdale | The Duran | April 20, 2018

CNN, the world leader in hard hitting, real news (do you sense any irony?), has produced this stupendous report from a refugee camp in Northern Syria, with people it says “survived” the “chemical attack” in Douma earlier this month.

The US, Britain and France alleged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pointlessly attacked his own people in Douma with sarin nerve agent, prompting the three nations to launch air strikes on Syria on the night of April 13-14th.

CNN correspondent Arwa Damon was at the camp to interview the “survivors” – as well as sample a little sarin herself.

The report (below) shows Damon and others, handling backpacks, clothing and toys allegedly exposed to Syrian government chemical weapons. … continue

‘Zero real evidence’ Assad behind chemical attack – US congressman

RT | April 19, 2018

US government officials offered “zero real evidence” that the Syrian government was behind the alleged chemical attack in Douma, relying instead on information circulating online, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) said.

In their briefing to Congress, the director of national intelligence and the secretaries of defense and state reference “info circulating online,” Massie tweeted on Thursday, adding that this means they either don’t have conclusive proof or they chose not to provide it to Congress. “Either way, not good,” he added.

Massie and his colleague Justin Amash (R-Michigan) are two of the most prominent House Republicans to oppose the US, UK and French missile attack on Syria last week. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has also spoken out against US intervention in Syria. … Full article

Five civilians killed as Saudi warplanes bombard Yemen’s Hudaydah

Press TV – April 19, 2018

At least five civilians have been killed and several others injured when Saudi fighter jets carried out a string of airstrikes against a residential neighborhood in Yemen’s western coastal province of Hudaydah as the Riyadh regime continues with its bombardment campaign against its impoverished neighbor.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told al-Masirah television network that Saudi military aircraft had launched three aerial assaults against an area in the al-Hali district of the province, located 150 kilometers southwest of the capital Sana’a, on Thursday afternoon.

The sources added that five people had lost their lives in the attacks, while a number of others sustained injuries.

Earlier in the day, Saudi warplanes struck Sa’ada airport as well as Kahlan military base, situated 3 kilometers northeast of the mountainous northwestern city of Sa’ada, with cluster bombs.

There were no immediate reports about the extent of damage caused in the airstrikes. … Full article

Abolish the FBI, America’s KGB

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | April 18, 2018

In his ongoing fight with President Trump, former FBI Director James Comey is now speculating that the reason that President Trump hasn’t adopted the fierce anti-Russia mindset of the U.S. national-security establishment is because the Russians might have secret dirt on the president and are blackmailing him into establishing normal relations between the United States and Russia.

There is another possibility — one also involving blackmail of the president — that unfortunately Comey doesn’t seem to consider: that the U.S. national-security establishment, including the FBI, has acquired secret dirt on the president and has blackmailed him into embracing and supporting their forever wars and their permanent control over the U.S. government and the American people.

Before one cries “Conspiracy theory, Jacob!” let us keep in mind two thingscontinue

Following Questionable Election, Honduran Government Debuts New Censorship Law

By Tim Cushing | TechDirt | April 19, 2018

The masterplan for censorship: follow up a highly-questionable election with a “cybersecurity” law granting the government power to shut down critics and dissenting views. That’s what’s happening in Honduras, following the reinstallation of Juan Orlando Hernandez as president following an election “filled with irregularities.”

The new law mandates the policing of “hate speech,” as defined by a government that would love to see its critics deprived of an online platform. Whatever the government declares to be hateful must be taken down within 24 hours. Failure triggers fines and third-party platforms will be held responsible for content created by users. … continue

Israel issues 41 administrative orders to Palestinian prisoners since April 1

Ma’an – April 18, 2018

Israeli authorities have issued administrative detention orders to 41 Palestinians since the beginning of April, according to a statement on Wednesday from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).

According to PPS, nine of the 41 orders were issued against Palestinians who were recently detained for the first time or recently re-detained.

Israel uses administrative detention almost exclusively against Palestinians. The widely condemned Israeli policy allows for a detainee to be sentenced for up to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Rights groups have claimed that Israel’s administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there were 6,050 Palestinians in Israeli prisons as of March, with 427 being held in administrative detention.

Leahy Law would cut aid to Israel, but no one wants to enforce it

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | April 19, 2018

Killing of Palestinians is not new. It has been going on for decades, unabated, uncriticized, and bankrolled by the US. We have laws on our books – the Leahy Laws – that enable us to withhold aid to countries that commit such human rights abuses, but in spite of overwhelming proof of abuse by Israel, our politicians refuse to cut off military support. … continue

Hasbara memo: “When Israelis murder Palestinians, it’s a tragedy — for Israelis.”

By Richard Hugus | April 19, 2018

Since the start of the latest massacre in Gaza — the killing with live fire of almost 40 and wounding of almost 3,000 unarmed Palestinian protestors during the March of Return — propaganda in service of Israel has been mobilized to cover up the blatant crime. Three days after the March began, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston issued an unbelievably twisted statement on the attacks. What follows is their statement, with comments inserted in italics… continue

May Let off Lightly after Launching Air-Strike Without Parliament’s Permission

So will the UK Government make a habit of by-passing MPs when contemplating future military action?

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | April 19, 2018

On Monday Theresa May came to the House of Commons to answer questions about the air-strikes she and her Cabinet authorised against Syrian targets last Saturday.

It’s a wonder she didn’t arrive by abseiling onto the roof of Parliament from a helicopter. Or, in the style of the Iron Lady, driving through the gates at the helm of a Challenger tank, chiffon scarf fluttering in the Westminster breeze.

Her party whips had been busy. An army of Conservative puppets danced to a rehearsed tune with plenty of carefully scripted questions. The situation was a minefield but nobody planted a truly high explosive charge in Mrs May’s path. Just a handful of harmless thunderflashes were lobbed. She was not held to account. And she came through it looking much more confident than when she faced the press on Saturday. … continue

The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again!

By W. Patrick Lang • Unz Review • April 19, 2018

In 2004 I published an article in the journal, Middle East Policy that was entitled “Drinking the Koolaid.” The article reviewed the process by which the neocon element in the Bush Administration seized control of the process of policy formation and drove the United States in the direction of invasion of Iraq and the destruction of the apparatus of the Iraqi state. They did this through manipulation of the collective mental image Americans had of Iraq and the supposed menace posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Not all the people who participated in this process were neocon in their allegiance but there were enough of them in the Bush Administration to dominate the process. Neoconism as it has evolved in American politics is a close approximation of the imperialist political faction that existed in the time of President William McKinley and the Spanish-American War. Barbara Tuchman described this faction well in “The Proud Tower.”

Such people, then and now, fervently believe in the Manifest Destiny of the United States as mankind’s best hope of a utopian future and concomitantly in the responsibility of the United States to lead mankind toward that future. Neocons believe that inside every Iraqi, Filipino or Syrian there is an American waiting to be freed from the bonds of tradition, local culture and general backwardness. For people with this mindset the explanation for the continuance of old ways lies in the oppressive and exploitative nature of rulers who block the “progress” that is needed. The solution for the imperialists and neocons is simple. Local rulers must be removed as the principal obstacle to popular emulation of Western and especially American culture and political forms. In the run up to the invasion of Iraq I was often told by leading neocon figures that the Muslims and particularly the Iraqis had no culture worth keeping and that once we had created new facts, (a Karl Rove quote) these people would quickly abandon their old ways and beliefs as they sought to become something like Americans. This notion has one major flaw. It is not necessarily correct.continue

Russia’s OPCW envoy exposes ‘eight UK lies’ in Skripal case

RT | April 19, 2018

The UK’s narrative in the Skripal case is a “story woven with lies,” with London continuously trying to “deceive” the international community, Russia’s OPCW envoy said, highlighting eight examples of such misinformation.

“We’ve tried to show that everything our British colleagues produce is a story woven with lies,” Russia’s permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Aleksandr Shulgin told reporters on Wednesday, following the organization’s meeting on the Skripal case.

“And, unlike the British, who aren’t used to taking responsibility for their words and unfounded accusations, we showed specific facts why we believe our British partners, to put it mildly, are ‘deceiving’ everyone.” The official provided eight examples of UK-pushed misinformation, surrounding the March 4 events, when the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the town of Salisbury. … continue

London systematically destroying evidence in Skripal case – Russia’s UN envoy

RT | April 19, 2018

The UK continues to conceal and destroy evidence relating to the Salisbury incident and have crossed all boundaries in their rhetoric by alleging President Putin’s personal involvement, Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia has said.

“The British authorities are engaged in the systematic destruction of evidence,” Nebenzia told the United Nations Security Council, which held a session, called by UK on Wednesday, to discuss the OPCW report and other developments in the Skripal case.

“Skripal’s pets were killed. No samples were obviously taken. The places attended by the Skripals – a bar, a restaurant, a bench, park ground, etc – are all being cleared,” the diplomat said, pointing out that, despite some loud statements about the alleged contamination of the area, “people continue to live in Salisbury as if nothing happened.”

The envoy also reminded the council members that Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who, according to London, are now both recovering from the poisoning by a deadly military grade nerve agent A-234 (‘Novichok’), are kept hidden from the public eye ever since the March 4 incident. In the meantime, London categorically refuses to provide Russia any access to the investigation, and so far has left 45 out of 47 questions addressed to British authorities about the case unanswered. … continue

Senior Civil Servants Still Deeply Sceptical of Russian Responsibility for Skripal Poisoning

By Craig Murray | April 18, 2018

Well-placed FCO sources tell me it remains the case that senior civil servants in both the FCO and Home Office remain very sceptical of Russian guilt in the Skripal case. It remains the case that Porton Down scientists have identified the chemical as a “novichok-style” nerve agent but still cannot tie its production to Russia – there are many other possibilities. The effort to identify the actual perpetrator is making no headway, with the police having eliminated by alibi the Russian air passenger on the same flight as Julia Skripal identified as suspicious by MI5 purely on grounds of the brevity of their stay.

That senior civil servants do not regard Russian responsibility as a fact is graphically revealed in this minute from head of the civil service, Sir Jeremy Heywood, sent to officials following the attack on Syria. Note the very careful use of language:

Their work was instrumental in ensuring widespread international support for the Government’s position on Russian responsibility for the Salisbury attack

This is very deliberate use of language by Sir Jeremy. Exactly as I explained with the phrase “of a type developed by Russia” about the nerve agent, you have to parse extremely carefully what is written by the senior civil service. They do not write extra phrases for no reason. … Full article

Russia exposes British lies on Skripal, but trail leads to US

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | April 19, 2018

The sensational case of the poisoning of the ex-MI6 agent and former Russian military intelligence colonel Sergei Skripal on March 4 in Salisbury, in the UK, is becoming more and more curious. Under a blinding spotlight from Moscow, the British allegation regarding a Russian hand in the poisoning of Skripal is getting exposed. An engrossing plot in big-power politics is also unfolding. There is stuff here for a Le Carre novel. … continue

Out of 26 Major Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Zero Opposed

By Adam Johnson | FAIR | April 18, 2018

A survey by FAIR of the top 100 papers in the US by circulation found not a single editorial board opposed to Trump’s April 13 airstrikes on Syria. Twenty supported the strikes, while six were ambiguous as to whether or not the bombing was advisable. The remaining 74 issued no opinion about Trump’s latest escalation of the Syrian war.

This is fairly consistent with editorial support for Trump’s April 2017 airstrikes against the Syrian government, which saw only one editorial out of 47 oppose the bombing… continue

Emails reveal White Helmets tried to lobby ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters

RT | April 19, 2018

Emails have emerged revealing how the controversial Syrian activist group the White Helmets tried to lobby Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters with Saudi money. […]

In an email from October 2016, Roger Waters is invited to a fundraiser organized by Saudi billionaire Hani Farsi to honor the work of the White helmets. In it, he is also encouraged to watch a documentary about the group.

And it didn’t stop there – just days before his recent concert in Barcelona, Waters was contacted by a French journalist working for the White Helmets. The reporter asked Waters for a few moments on stage to deliver a message to the children of Syria. … Full article

Lebanese Journalist Names Washington’s Goal Number One in Syria

Sputnik – April 19, 2018

Sputnik spoke to Lebanese journalist and commentator Sharmine Narwani to find out more about situation in Syria and Washington’s goals and actions there. … continue

Why Each US President Ends Up As Ruthless Interventionist These Days

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 19.04.2018

In the wake of last week’s cruise missile attack on Syria, there was a joke going around the internet saying that it doesn’t matter who Americans vote for, they always wind up getting John McCain as President of the United States. The humor derives from the fact that the past three presidents all ran for office committed to reducing America’s interventionism overseas but once in office they reversed course and expanded US military commitments worldwide, turning them into facsimiles of John McCain, who has never seen a war he didn’t like. … continue

Nearly dozen civilians killed in new US-led strikes on Syria’s Hasakah

Press TV – April 19, 2018

Nearly a dozen civilians have lost their lives when the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group carried out a series of airstrikes on Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah.

Local sources said eleven people were killed in the US-led aerial attacks against a Daesh-controlled prison in Abu Hamezah village on Thursday, Arabic-language Baladi news network reported. … Full article

BBC presenter declares ‘info war against Russia’ after ex-navy chief questions Syria ‘evidence’

RT | April 18, 2018

During a live interview, a BBC news presenter declared “we’re in an information war with Russia” after a former Royal Navy chief questioned the “extraordinary” claims surrounding an alleged chemical attack in Syria.

Former Navy Admiral Lord West’s questioning of the mainstream narrative surrounding the alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma led the BBC’s Annita McVeigh to suggest that truthfully stating his position and posing questions risked “muddying the waters” in an ongoing “information war with Russia.”

Lord West had described how in his view the claim that Bashar Assad ordered the attack “doesn’t ring true,” asking “what benefit is there for his military?” He went on to say “we know that in the past some of the Islamic groups have used chemicals, and of course there would be huge benefit in them labelling an attack as coming from Assad.”

West went on to question the ‘evidence’ provided by groups like the White Helmets and the World Health Organization, both of which he described as “not neutral.”

The former First Sea Lord then described how in the past he had been put under pressure to support politically motivated narratives: “I had huge pressure put on me politically to try and say that our bombing campaign in Bosnia was achieving all sorts of things which it wasn’t. I was put under huge pressure, so I know the things that can happen.” … continue

Autonomous Drones Will Soon Decide Who To Kill

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | April 18, 2018

The United States Army wants to develop a system that can be quickly integrated and deployed into its weaponized drone fleet to automatically Detect, Recognize, Classify, Identify (DRCI) and target enemy combatants and vehicles using artificial intelligence (AI). This is an impressive leap forward, whereas humans still operate current military drones, this technology could foster a new era of autonomous drones conducting operations in hybrid wars — without human oversight.

The project is called “Automatic Target Recognition of Personnel and Vehicles from an Unmanned Aerial System Using Learning Algorithms,” — a very original name, which the details were recently released on the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)website. In other words, the Department of Defense (DoD) via the Army is requesting private and research institutions that have developed image targeting AI platforms to form partnerships with them for the eventual technology transfer.

Once the technology transfer is complete, these drones will use machine-learning algorithms, such as neural networks blended with artificial intelligence to create the ultimate militarization of AI. Currently, military drones have little onboard intelligence, besides sending a downlink of high definition video to a military analyst who manually decides whom to kill. … continue

Israel arrests Al-Aqsa Mosque guard

MEMO | April 18, 2018

Israeli occupation forces this morning arrested a guard at Al-Aqsa Mosque and summoned others in for questioning.

The guard, identified as Arafat Najeeb, was arrested on his way to the mosque via the Hitta Gate.

At the same time, Israeli intelligence issued interrogation writs against four other members of Al-Aqsa’s supervision staff.

Hamza Al-Nabali, Luay Abu Al-Saad, Khalil Al-Tarhouni and Fadi Aliyan were all summoned for questioning at the Qishleh detention centre, in occupied Jerusalem’s Old City.

Thirty-one-year-old Aliyan, from Al-Issawiya in Jerusalem, has previously been arrested by Israeli occupation forces. On 28 June 2016 he was held on charges of “assaulting a policeman” when Israeli settlers stormed the mosque and was later sentenced to 11 months in jail with a bail of 1,500 shekels ($400). His sentenced was issued one day after his arrest.

Durham Becomes First US City to Ban Police Exchanges with Israel

Palestine Chronicle – April 18, 2018

On Monday, April 16, 2018, the Durham city council in the US, became the first US city council to ban police exchanges with the Israeli policy.

“After 3.5 hours and 50 powerful and inspiring testimonies, the Durham city council has just unanimously passed a resolution to end Durham police training in Israel,” said Eran Efrati, one of the organizers of the Demilitarize from Durham2Palestine campaign, which stood behind the vote, in a Facebook post.

“After years of hard work, Durham becomes the first city in the US to ban American police forces exchanges with the Israeli military and police,” he added.

The campaign has launched a petition which was signed by 1,394 people, calling on the council to ban police exchanges with Israel. … Full article

Israel soldiers joined in as settlers assaulted Palestinians – then killed a local teen

MEMO | April 18, 2018

Israeli occupation forces accompanied Jewish settlers during an assault on Palestinian villagers, then shot and killed a local teen who posed no threat to life.

The incident, which took place on 10 March this year, was investigated by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, who published their damning conclusions on Monday.

At around 5.30pm on the day in question, some 20-30 settlers from Yitzhar – a notorious settlement close to Nablus in the occupied West Bank – walked to ‘Urif, a nearby Palestinian village.

Some settlers “were masked, some carried wood or and metal clubs, and at least two carried guns”. According to B’Tselem, “three armed Israeli soldiers escorted the settlers”.

In response, local Palestinian residents gathered to defend their village, and, in the ensuing confrontation, “settlers threw stones at the Palestinians, including with slingshots, and the Palestinians threw stones at the settlers and soldiers”.

The soldiers, however, “threw stun grenades at the Palestinians and fired teargas canisters, rubber-coated metal bullets”, and even “live ammunition”.

After half an hour, the settlers left, but the three soldiers remained at the scene, as did some of the village youth, who took cover “behind a small hill beside the reservoir, and threw stones at the soldiers from there”, who were positioned “a few dozen metres away”.

Opening fire, the Israeli forces shot two Palestinians: one, a 14-year-old child, was injured – another, 19-year-old Omar Shehadeh, was hit in the chest and killed. … Full article

Iran rejects ‘baseless’ UK, US accusations on Yemen missiles

Press TV – April 18, 2018

Iran has firmly rejected fresh US and British allegations of Tehran sending missiles to Yemen, saying the two are seeking to whitewash their “shameful” complicity in the crisis gripping the war-torn country by leveling “false” charges against others.

“The US and UK complicity in Yemen crisis is shameful,” Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations said in a press release on Tuesday.

The Iranian mission was reacting to remarks by the American and British ambassadors to the UN, Nikki Haley and Karen Pierce during a Security Council meeting on Yemen earlier in the day.

Haley claimed that Iran was interfering in the Yemeni affairs and violating the arms embargo on the impoverished state. Pierce also accused Tehran of “non-compliance with Security Council Resolution 2216.”

The Iranian mission, however, said the American and British officials had “repeated their derogatory allegations about Iran to cover up their own role in the disastrous situation created in Yemen. Iran categorically rejects those allegations as baseless propaganda.” … continue

Dirty money or dirty politics? UK hypocrisy over ‘Russian oligarchs’

By Neil Clark | RT | April 18, 2018

According to Russia’s Prosecutor General, 61 criminals who stole up to $10 billion in Russia are enjoying life in the UK. Britain claims to be concerned about ‘dirty money,’ but has rejected requests from Moscow for extradition.

It was the financial heist of the century. The looting of Soviet Russia’s wealth by a group of well-connected oligarchs in the 1990s enriched a tiny few, but impoverished vast swathes of the country’s population. The foundations for this massive, reverse-Robin-Hood redistribution of wealth were laid with Gorbachev’s ‘restructuring’ economic reforms of the late 80s. However, the process reached its peak under Boris Yeltsin.

State assets were handed out like confetti to members of Yeltsin’s inner circle. By 1996 the Russian people, who had seen their living standards plummet following the end of communism, had had enough. Yeltsin’s popularity was down to single-figure ratings – with the Communists riding high in the polls. So the President’s oligarch friends – and their Western allies – worked together to make sure the election went the ‘right’ way. … continue

An Alternative Explanation to the Skripal Mystery

By Gareth Porter  | Consortium News | April 17, 2018

For weeks, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have insisted that there is “no alternative explanation” to Russian government responsibility for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last month.

But in fact the British government is well aware that such an alternative explanation does exist. It is based on the well-documented fact that the “Novichok” nerve agent synthesized by Soviet scientist in the 1980s had been sold by the scientist–who led the development of the nerve agent– to individuals linked to Russian criminal organizations as long ago as 1994 and was used to kill a Russian banker in 1995.

The connection between the Novichok nerve agent and a previous murder linked to the murky Russian criminal underworld would account for the facts of the Salisbury poisoning far better than the official line that it was a Russian government assassination attempt.

The credibility of the May government’s attempt to blame it on Russian President Vladimir Putin has suffered because of Yulia Skripal’s relatively rapid recovery, the apparent improvement of Sergei Skripal’s condition and a medical specialist’s statement that the Skripals had exhibited no symptoms of nerve agent poisoning.

The highly independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta has published a detailed account of how Russian organized crime figures obtained nerve agent in 1994 from Leonid Rink, the head of the former Soviet government laboratory that had synthesized it. … continue

UK Media Watchdog Says Opened 7 New Investigations Into RT Amid Salisbury Events

Sputnik – 18.04.2018

UK media watchdog Ofcom has said that it opened seven investigations into the RT broadcaster’s coverage of the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in the UK town of Salisbury.

“We have today opened seven new investigations into the due impartiality of RT news and current affairs programmes. In accordance with our normal procedures, we will make the outcome of these investigations public as soon as possible… However, since the events in Salisbury, we have observed a significant increase in the number of programmes on the RT service that we consider warrant investigation as potential breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code,” the Ofcom statement read.

The regulator Ofcom has informed that RT producer TV Novosti could lose its right to broadcast in the UK if it failed its “fit and proper” test.

According to the RT-broadcaster editor-in-chief, the audience of the international news channel has risen in the past couple of years despite continued pressure from Western states. … Full article

Syria’s Raqqa devastated, ‘de-facto occupied & run by a gang of incompetents’ – Russia’s UN envoy

“American occupation hasn’t brought anything positive to the inhabitants. The only effective solution to the current situation is to reestablish state structures in Raqqa”

RT | April 18, 2018

The US and its allies are doing practically nothing to help rebuild Raqqa, which is de-facto occupied, Russia’s UN Ambassador told the UNSC, after a UN representative reported on the mass-scale devastation of the Syrian city.

On average, an estimated 50 people a week are being killed in Raqqa, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator told members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), noting that virtually nothing is being done for some 100,000 repatriates who have returned to the destroyed city.

“Conditions are not conducive for return, due to a high level of unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive device (IED) contamination, and widespread and severe infrastructural damage and the lack of basic services,” Mark Lowcock said, reporting on the UN team’s findings after its April 1 visit to the Syrian city. “Up to 95 percent of households who have returned to Raqqa are food-insecure. Health services are lacking or severely limited.” … continue

‘Russia’ Instead of ‘US’: Swedish TV Caught Peddling Fake News on Syria

Sputnik – April 18, 2018

Swedish TV-channel TV4 has sparked outrage by offering its viewers a skewed picture of reality by substituting “the US” with “Russia” in a critical news report on the US-backed attacks against the war-torn middle-Eastern country.

In a news report about the conflict in Syria by TV4, a Syrian woman was speaking about the US, which, oddly enough, was rendered as “Russia, Iran and the regime” in the accompanying subtitles. After a public outcry on social media, TV4 recognized its “mistake” while translating the woman’s outspoken message from Arabic into Swedish.

“The attack did not get enough effect, so we want to see more. We want them to avenge us. Russia, Iran and the regime must back off from here because they have stolen our country and our land,” a woman living in Douma was quoted as saying on TV4.

In reality, however, she didn’t mention “Russia” at all, not even once… continue

Western media cover tracks of Trump, May and Macron’s war crime in Syria

By Finian Cunningham | RT | April 17, 2018

With astounding double-think, the US and Britain accuse Russia of “tampering” with the alleged chemical-weapon attack site in Syria’s Douma – just days after the US, UK and France barraged the county with over 100 missiles.

If anyone is guilty of tampering with the alleged crime scene, it is the NATO trio who rushed to bomb Syria just as inspectors belonging to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Syria – invited there by the Syrian and Russian governments. … continue

Rand Paul: Chemical attack used to ‘galvanize the world’ against Assad

Press TV – April 18, 2018

US Republican Senator Rand Paul says he has seen no evidence that could justify claims about the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carrying out the suspected chemical attack in the town of Douma, and that the attack was used as a pretext to “galvanize the world” against the Syrian leader.

“I still look at the attack and say, you know, either Assad must be the dumbest dictator on the planet — or maybe he didn’t do it. I have yet to see evidence that he did do it,” Paul said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. […]

Washington claimed it had proof that Syrian government forces conducted the deadly chemical weapons attack on April 7, without providing any evidence. … Full article

Marine Le Pen Questions French Strike on Syria, Recalls Colin Powell’s Tube

Sputnik – 18.04.2018

In an interview with BFMTV, the leader of the right-wing National Front has cast doubt on the credibility of the claims made by French authorities in relation to missile strikes on Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.

“First of all, the question is whether he [French President Emmanuel Macron] really bombed the factory, where chemical weapons had been produced and stored. I may not know much about it, but I go by national wisdom and common sense; when they bomb a factory where chemical weapons are stored, they run the risk of killing thousands of people living in the neighborhood,” Marine Le Pen told the broadcaster.

In the meantime, she put a premium on the fact that the Syrian government had not reported any casualties among civilians in the wake of the joint airstrikes, carried out by the United States, France and the United Kingdom. … continue

Even western mainstream media is reporting that no chemical attack took place in Douma

Medical personnel on the ground in Syria give testimony that those videos show people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning

By Frank Sellers | The Duran | April 18, 2018

… here we are seeing reports from journalists, western ones, I might add, that report the opposite of what we have been told for the past ten days. No use of WMDs being used in Douma, or at least, no evidence of it anyway. And, based on the fact that the US led strike on Syria’s alleged chemical weapons labs and storehouses didn’t release any of these agents into the area when the strike should have spread the stuff all over the place, it looks like Syria doesn’t have those WMDs, or, at least the West doesn’t know where they’re at, and just randomly shot off a couple of missiles to make it look like they were doing something about those WMDs. – Read full article