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Ukraine to stop paying Russia for nuclear waste disposal

RT | October 21, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pro-Clinton Ad Compares Trump to Chavez, Venezuela Responds

teleSUR | October 20, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Venezuelans Turn to Maduro in Increasing Numbers

COHA | October 20, 2016

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

Saudi airstrikes violate Yemen’s UN-brokered brief truce

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

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

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

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

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

RT | October 21, 2016

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

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Van Meeuwen on Friday.

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

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

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

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

Press TV – October 21, 2016

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

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

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

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

South Africa announces decision to quit International Criminal Court

Press TV – October 21, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama Ridicules Trump’s Call for Good Relations With Russia

Sputnik – 21.10.2016

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

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

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

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

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

Documents Show Chicago PD Secretly Using Forfeiture Funds To Buy Surveillance Equipment

By Tim Cushing | TechDirt | October 19, 2016

The Chicago Reader has put together a massive, must-read investigation into the Chicago Police Department’s secret budget. The Chicago PD has — for years now — used the spoils of its asset forfeiture program to obtain surveillance equipment like Stingrays. This discretionary spending is done off the city’s books, allowing the CPD to avoid anything that might prevent it from acquiring surveillance tech — like meddling city legislators… or the public itself. … continue

Clintons’ financially fueled favors revealed in latest Podesta emails

RT | October 20, 2016

WikiLeaks’ latest release of the Clinton campaign manager’s emails adds merit to growing allegations that the Democratic presidential nominee considered and indulged in the so called “pay for play” practice.

The leaked emails highlight a number of occasions where large sums of money were demanded in return for either Bill or Hillary Clinton meeting with influential figures.

In a mail from February 2016, Neera Tanden, the President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, suggests to John Podesta that Hillary Clinton should consider returning money to banks who paid to hear her speak, if she does not secure the presidency.

Simply titled ‘speaking at the banks,’ the mail is in regard to Clinton speaking at financial institutions in which Tanden tells Podesta “don’t shoot me but if we lose badly maybe she should just return the money.” … Full article

Al-Wefaq: Bahrain will always support Palestine

Press TV – October 19, 2016

The deputy secretary general of the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society says “there is no place for Zionists in Bahrain” after the Manama authorities decided to host an Israeli delegation.

“The regime’s decision to embrace the Zionists is an illegitimate decision, and does not represent Bahrain, or express the will of the Bahraini people,” said Sheikh Hussein al-Daihi on Wednesday.

Bahrain Football Federation President Ali bin Khalifah Al Khalifah recently released a statement, saying that an Israeli delegation had been granted entry to the country to take part in a FIFA congress in May.

“The people of Bahrain will never abandon the Arab and Muslim cause, through trading with the Palestinian cause and al-Aqsa Mosque. The announcement that the Bahraini regime will host an athletic Zionist delegation does not express the will and decision of the people, because this government does not represent the Bahrainis, as they have not elected it, and [therefore] it does not have the right to work in the name of Bahrain and its people,” added Daihi. … Full article

Sukkot, feast of intimidation, oppression and illegal annexation

International Solidarity Movement | October 20, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – This past week marked the feast of Sukkot, which brought settlers from illegal settlements all over the occupied West Bank to Hebron.

cvowrlduiaa1dnhThere, with restrictions, harassment, collective punishment and intimidation of Palestinians – all in favor of the illegal settlers – the spirit of the Jewish holiday was turned into a feast of intimidation and oppression for the Palestinian residents, going hand in hand with increasing illegal annexation of their land.

With bus-loads of settlers from all over the illegally occupied Palestinian West Bank pouring into al-Khalil, Israeli forces stepped up the movement-restrictions and checkpoint closures for Palestinians even more, thus making the maze of checkpoints, already almost impossible to navigate into a maze that ends mainly in dead-ends. For several days, the main checkpoint connecting the Palestinian market with the area around the Ibrahimi Mosque was closed for Palestinians, and Palestinian shop-owners in the mosque-area were forced shut by the Israeli forces – all to facilitate settler movement in areas that lack any presence of Palestinians.

The road connecting the settlements in the heart of al-Khalil with the Kiryat Arba settlement on the outskirts of al-Khalil – where only settlers are allowed to drive – has largely been cordonned off with police-barriers. … continue

Israeli Soldiers Invade Print Shop In Al-Ram, Confiscate Its Equipment

IMEMC News – October 20, 2016

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, a print shop in the al-Ram town, north of occupied East Jerusalem, violently searched it, and confiscated all of its equipment, and printed materials.

The Israeli army released a statement confirming the invasion and confiscation, and also alleging that the print shop “produced incitement materials,” after printing posters of Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was killed by the army, on October 9th, after carrying out a drive-by shooting in Jerusalem, killing two Israelis and wounding six others.

The army said it confiscated the equipment from the print shop, and also claimed to find more materials that were regarded as incitement, including posters located in Abu Sbeih’s home, and various homes that were invaded and searched by the military after the shooting.

Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen in Beit Ummar, Hebron for alleged rock-throwing

Ma’an – October 20, 2016

352208cHEBRON – Israeli forces Thursday evening shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian near the Beit Ummar junction in the northern part of the village of Beit Ummar in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron. Israeli authorities have claimed an Israeli soldier shot the teenager dead in response to a rock-throwing incident.

Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma’an that he saw the body of a young Palestinian on the ground near the entrance of Beit Ummar. The young Palestinian, later identified as Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, 15, was reportedly shot by Israeli forces in the back, with the bullet exiting through his chest.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that soldiers were “attacked” by Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers while they were patrolling the area near Beit Ummar. The spokesperson said one soldier was “lightly wounded’ by a rock and called one of the young Palestinian suspects to “halt,” fired warning shots in the air, and then “towards the suspect, resulting in his death.”

Awad also said that Israeli soldiers prevented a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance from approaching the youth, while witnesses said that Israeli forces refused to provide CPR to the youth after he was shot. … Full article

Israel worsening Palestinian plight, Middle East tensions: Iran diplomat

Press TV – October 20, 2016

Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations has held the Israel regime responsible for the desperate plight of the Palestinian nation and exacerbation of tensions in the Middle East.

“The illegal and brutal Israeli occupation continues and causes so much anguish to the Palestinian people, and dangerously inflames tensions on the volatile situation in the region. The Israeli regime continues to breach international law, including humanitarian and human rights. By doing so, it inflicts widespread suffering to civilians and deliberately destabilizes the situation, with far–reaching and serious consequences for peace and security in the Middle East and beyond,” Gholam Ali Khoshroo stated at a Security Council Open Debate on “Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” on Wednesday.

He further lambasted the Tel Aviv regime’s systematic violations of Palestinians’ rights and international law, including house demolitions, forced displacement of civilians, detentions of minors, and incessant provocations by illegal settlers and extremists at revered sites, particularly al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Khoshroo said the Israeli regime has continually intensified its illegal and oppressive measures against the defenseless Palestinian population over the past years, killed and injured many civilians, and deprived Palestinians of their right to protection.

The Iranian diplomat then pointed to Israel’s settlement expansion activities in the occupied West Bank, stating that they are in clear breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, constitute war crimes under Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and demonstrate that Israel has never had any interest in peace with the Palestinians and its participation in the so-called peace process has only been aimed at covering up its policy of aggression.

Turning to Israel’s blockade on the impoverished Gaza Strip, the Iranian UN ambassador said the siege “is causing massive deprivation, hopelessness and a grave humanitarian crisis. The destructive impact of such Israeli violations is immense as reflected in rising tensions, deteriorating socio-economic conditions, and deepening among the Palestinian civilian population.”

Khoshroo also blamed illegal foreign intervention, extremism and violence for the ongoing conflicts in Libya, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

“These problems have persisted and deepened because the international community has failed to do its part in dealing with the root causes, and naive trans-regional players have done erroneous actions,” he pointed out. … Full article

UN warns of worsening displacement crisis in Afghanistan

Press TV – October 20, 2016

The United Nations has warned that escalated fighting across Afghanistan could displace more people, lamenting that international support is not enough to handle the unfolding crisis.

United Nations special rapporteur Chaloka Beyani said on Thursday that UN agencies had registered more than 323,000 Afghans as internally displaced people (IDPs) since the start of this year, recording a continuation of an upward trend over the past four years.

“Warnings by humanitarian partners suggest that many more IDPs could be displaced by the end of the year, yet attention and resources allocated to their needs seem to be waning rather than increasing,” Beyani said during a briefing in Kabul, adding, “The displacement picture in Afghanistan is changing as the conflict evolves and intensifies.”

He said children have paid a heavy price as they have no access to proper education in displacement camps.

“It is no exaggeration to speak of a lost generation of displaced Afghan children deprived of education since children constitute about 56 per cent of the displaced population,” Beyani said, adding, “Displacement is becoming more protracted for more people as the security situation has led many to make the difficult decision not to return to their homes.” … Full article

Radar data proves Belgian F-16s attacked village near Aleppo, killing 6 – Russia

RT | October 20, 2016

Russia insists two Belgium warplanes flying from an Air Force base in Jordan attacked a village in Syria, citing radar data. Belgium denies conducting any airstrikes.

Brussels’ continued denial of the jets movements in the area is Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput “deliberately deceiving people in Belgium and elsewhere in the world, or his subordinates and the Americans are lying to the leadership of Belgium,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said.

An airstrike on the village of Hassadjek in Aleppo province reportedly killed six civilians on Tuesday. Russia has now reiterated its accusations against Belgium, saying data from Russian and Syrian radar stations confirm it.

The two Belgian F-16 jets accused of the attack flew from the Muwaffaq Salti Airbase in Jordan, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said, adding that they were immediately identified.

“Every aircraft type has a unique identifiable signature,” he said.

The Belgian warplanes delivered their strike at the village at 12:35 GMT, about two hours after the take-off, the general said. The attack left six civilians killed and four others injured. The jets were later refueled by a US KC-135 tanker, continued patrolling around the city of Azaz in northwestern Syria and then flew towards Iraq, Konashenkov added.

Belgium earlier denied Russia’s accusations, saying none of its six warplanes contributing to the US-led coalition had flown over the region. The Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to Brussels to voice its protest.

EU weighing sanctions on supporters of Syrian government

Press TV – October 20, 2016

The European Union has threatened to impose bans against supporters of the Syrian government, particularly Russia, which has been on an anti-terrorism mission in the Arab country for more than a year.

“The EU is considering all options, including further restrictive measures targeting individuals and entities supporting” the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if the current situation continues in Syria, said a draft statement obtained by AFP before the EU summit in Brussels that opens later on Thursday.

The text claims that the Syrian government and its allies, “notably Russia,” are targeting civilians in their anti-terror campaign in the battered northwestern city of Aleppo. Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly denied the allegation.

It further urges “unhindered humanitarian access to Aleppo” and to other parts of Syria and calls “for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for resumption of a credible political process under UN auspices.”

Aleppo has been the frontline of Syria’s fight against different Takfiri militant groups occupying the city’s eastern flanks. Backed by Russia airpower, Syrian armed forces and allied popular defense groups have in recent months dealt heavy blows to the militant groups operating in eastern Aleppo.

The draft also warns that “those responsible for breaches of international humanitarian law … must be held accountable.”

EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, should continue pursuing medical evacuations in cooperation with the United Nations, according to the text.

It further asks Mogherini to push for what it calls a political transition in Syria by working with the region’s main players.

Following a meeting in Luxembourg earlier this week, the EU’s 28 ministers vowed to impose further restrictive measures against Syrian individuals and entities backing the government of President Assad. … Full article

Terrorists shell humanitarian corridor with mortars as civilians near Aleppo try to flee – reports

RT | October 20, 2016

Islamist militants have shelled a ‘humanitarian corridor’ set up to allow civilians to escape from eastern Aleppo, RIA Novosti reported. The shelling came amid a ceasefire declared the by Syrian military and Russian Air Force.

At least six mortar shells were fired into the ‘humanitarian corridor’ by militants in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood of eastern Aleppo. Small arms fire was also directed at a Syrian Army checkpoint, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.

The exit from the corridor is approximately 200 meters from Islamist positions and apparently within reach of their small arms and mortar fire, according to the report.

Reports on civilian casualties were not immediately available. The Aleppo residents, some sick and wounded, were trying to flee Islamist-controlled eastern Aleppo with an escort from UN and Syrian Red Crescent personnel. … Full article

The White Helmet Controversy

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | October 20, 2016

Unknown to most people, the White Helmets brand was conceived and directed by a marketing company named “The Syria Campaign” based in New York. They have managed to fool millions of people. Walt Disney might have made a great movie about this: unarmed volunteers fearlessly rescuing survivors in the midst of war without regard to religion or politics. Like most other “true life” Disney movies, it is 10% reality, 90% fiction.

Due to its success, Western countries are dedicating ever larger amounts of funding. The White Helmets were the 17 October TIME magazine cover story. Nikolas Kristof at the NY Times has gushed over them for years. They recently won a 2016 Right Livelihood Award. Netflix has recently released a special ‘documentary’ movie about the White Helmets.  With impeccable timing, the mainstream media acclaim reached a crescendo with both the UK Guardian and The Independent calling on the Nobel Committee to award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the White Helmets.

It’s not just establishment that has gushed over the White Helmets. CODEPINK recommended the Netflix movie and DemocracyNow! ran a puff piece interview with the infomercial directors. The Intercept published an uncritical promotion of the White Helmets and their dubious leader. (CODEPINK received a lot of criticism and later issued a correction.) … continue

Trump: Syria May End Up With Worse Than Assad if US-Backed Rebels Overthrow Government

Sputnik – 20.10.2016

If US-backed rebels in Syria are successful in overthrowing the government the country could wind up in worse hands than those of President Bashar Assad, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said in the third and final debate with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We are backing rebels — we don’t know who the rebels are,” Trump explained on Wednesday night. “If they ever did overthrow Assad… you may very well end up with worse than Assad.” … Full article

Clinton Vows to Push for No-Fly Zone in Syria

Sputnik – 20.10.2016

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said during the third presidential debate with Republican rival Donald Trump on Wednesday night that she will keep on insisting on establishing a no-fly zone in Syria to gain leverage on Damascus and Moscow.

“I am going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe heaves within Syria not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to frankly gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians that perhaps we can have the kind of the serious negotiations necessary to bring the conflict to an end and go forward on political track,” Clinton stated.

Clinton claimed that a no-fly zone could hasten the end of conflict in Syria, but the United States would have to clearly communicate to Russia the purpose of the strategy being the establishment of safe areas on the ground.

Shortly before the debate, Clinton’s campaign office said in a press release that Donald Trump would support the Russian-backed military operation in Syria if he is elected to be the next president of the United States. … Full article

The Democrats’ Joe McCarthy Moment

Consortium News | October 19, 2016

To shield Hillary Clinton from criticism of her Wall Street speeches, the Democrats are engaging in a new McCarthyism for the New Cold War, suggesting that Donald Trump is in league with the Russians, writes Robert Parry. – Read article

US bars Russian monitors from presidential polls – elections commission

RT | October 20, 2016

The US has rejected a Russian proposal to send diplomats to monitor the upcoming presidential elections and some states have even threatened to bring criminal charges against any that appear at ballot stations, Russian election officials report.

Sources in the Central Elections Commission have told Izvestia daily that its representatives held a series of talks with the US State Department to discuss sending a delegation of monitors to US polling stations on November 8. US officials categorically rejected even the possibility of such a mission, however, instead recommending that Russia join the international mission of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

Earlier this year, Russia sent personal invitations to US monitors asking them to observe the September parliamentary elections, and 63 accepted the offer. In total, 774 monitors from 63 nations received accreditation to observe Russia’s parliamentary elections. In addition, US representatives visited Russia earlier as part of an OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights’ monitoring mission. … Full article

Media & Clinton campaign hype conspiracy about RT collusion with WikiLeaks

Australia, Tagging Along into Other Nations’ Wars

By James O’Neill | Consortium News | October 19, 2016

… By its conduct both in Syria and the South China Sea, Australia runs the risk of becoming involved in a full-scale shooting war with both Russia and China. Viewed objectively, there is little doubt that in any such conflagration Russia and China enjoy significant military advantages. Even that superiority is not to be entertained. Instead, Australia pursues the purchase of hugely expensive submarines and F-35 fighter planes the strategic and military value of which is at best dubious and more probably, useless.

What then is the benefit to Australia of constantly putting itself in a position where the best it could hope for would be collateral damage? No rational human being would advance on a course of action where the detriments so significantly outweigh the benefits, so why should a nation be any different?

With its crumbling infrastructure, endless wars that it regularly loses, a corrupt money-dominated political culture, technologically inferior weaponry and enormous burgeoning debt, the U.S. is hardly a model protector. To believe otherwise is simply delusional.

As the U.S.-based Russian blogger Dimitry Orlov  has recently pointed out, Russia’s international conduct is governed by three basic principles: using military force as a reactive security measure; scrupulous adherence to international law; and seeing military action as being in the service of diplomacy. That clearly does not accord with the relentless misinformation Australians are constantly fed but to confuse propaganda with reality is a dangerous basis upon which to formulate foreign policy. … Read full article

Philippines seeks common prosperity with China

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | October 19, 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Beijing on Tuesday on a 4-day visit that Beijing calls ‘historic’. We are about to witness probably one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific since the Vietnam War ended. Philippines is the US’ oldest ally in Asia and Duterte is just inches away from dumping an accord that gives the US access to five military bases in the Philippines. The US’ rebalance strategy may never be the same again as long as Duterte, who took over on June 30, remains in power. … continue

Russia Expects US Condemnation of Suspected Belgian Airstrikes in Aleppo

Al-Manar | October 19, 2016

Russia said it expected a US’ condemnation of airstrikes which killed civilians in Aleppo late on Tuesday.

“We are expecting statements from the US State Department that would strongly condemn the attacks on civilian facilities and the killing of civilians. I think that it will be no trouble to find the images of the killed to launch the respective campaign on CNN,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page, calling on Washington to weigh in on the suspected coalition airstrike.

manar-04856810014742006353Earlier, Russian Defense Ministry said that at least six people were killed in an airstrike on a village in northern Syria’s Aleppo province, adding that two Belgian F-16 combat jets were operating in the area.

According to information handed over to the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria by the local council of the Syrian city of Afrin, the village of Hassadjek suffered an air attack in which six people died and four more were injured.

The Russian Defense Ministry stressed that neither Russian nor Syrian air forces were carrying out any missions in the area.

Russian and Syrian air forces halted airstrikes in Aleppo from 0700 GMT Tuesday for a 48-hour humanitarian pause.

UK Government Fails to Explain Use of Drones Outside Armed Conflicts

Sputnik — 19.10.2016

The UK government sidestepped the question on laws governing the use of lethal drone strikes outside armed conflicts, when responding to the Joint Committee on Human Rights’s report, the committee said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

According to the Committee, the UK government could not justify the refusal to answer the question about legal constraints within which it would operate by saying that this was a hypothetical situation, although in the course of the inquiry it stated that “it would be prepared to resort to such use of lethal force for counter-terrorism purposes even outside of armed conflict.”

“The Committee welcomes some clarifications of the Government’s position, but is disappointed that the Government has refused to clarify its position in relation to the use of lethal force outside armed conflict… ,” the statement said.

The committee’s report asked government to clarify their policy on the use of drones for targeted killings, including the interpretation of the UK and international laws pertaining to such strikes and the general principles of their use.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights, which includes members from both Houses of the UK Parliament, checks all government bills for compliance with human rights granted by the UK and international law and examines government responses to court decisions on human rights cases.

UK media tries to spin NatWest’s closure of RT’s British accounts, but facts remain the same

RT | October 19, 2016

NatWest’s latest comments concerning its bizarre and unexplained decision to close all of RT’s UK accounts, claiming only “one of the suppliers” is affected and the move is under review, have caused some confusion in the British media.

Here are the facts:

On Tuesday, BBC posted an article citing NatWest, which said that “a letter had been sent to one of RT’s suppliers, not RT itself, and no accounts had been frozen.” The channel included RT’s comment on the story, but kept the headline saying that “NatWest denies shutting accounts of Russian TV channel.”

In reality, however, it is misleading to refer to Russia Today TV UK Ltd as one of RT’s suppliers, as RT is the brand name of a global network, and Russia Today TV UK Ltd it is the sole provider of all of RT’s operations in the UK, which includes servicing the salaries of the entire 60+ staff of the RT UK television channel.

As NatWest is Russia Today TV UK Ltd’s sole banking facility, the bank is, in fact, closing banking access to all of RT’s operations in the UK. … continue

Undercover Video Reveals Clinton Campaign’s Role In Inciting Violence & ‘Anarchy’ At GOP, Trump Rallies

By Claire Bernish | Mint Press | October 19, 2016

Perhaps the most explosive revelation of recent days didn’t come from WikiLeaks, but from an undercover investigation by the conservative political activist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas Action.

The investigation, Part I of which was released on YouTube on Monday, found direct coordination between Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and political consultants to incite violence and “anarchy” at Donald Trump rallies.

Rumors of paid agitators have circulated for the duration of the presidential race, but these murmurs were unconfirmed until Clinton and DNC insiders were caught on video describing the full extent of the practice. In addition to O’Keefe’s undercover investigation, evidence of efforts to pay and train activists to disrupt GOP events can also be found in WikiLeaks’ ongoing release of the emails of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.

In the Project Veritas video, Clinton campaign operatives admit to inducing the notorious, headline-topping violence at multiple events, including the violent, belligerent clash in Chicago in March that forced the Trump campaign to cancel a planned rally. … continue

Hillary Clinton Begs Forgiveness From Rothschilds In Leaked Email

By Whitney Webb | True Activist | October 18, 2016

Though the influence of money in politics is well-known, many people are amazed to learn that most of that money comes from a very few individuals – the 1% of the 1% as it were. These individuals comprise the global elite, whose mind-boggling fortunes are often used to buy ‘favors’ and even set policy in governments all over the world, not just the United States. Many of these elites made their fortunes through centuries-old banking dynasties. The most infamous of these are undoubtedly the Rothschild family, who have been the world’s wealthiest family for over 200 years.

Indeed, the most well-known Rothschild patriarch, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, once said “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.” The Rothschilds and their international banking cartel, ‘Rothschild & Co,’ are majority owners of numerous corporations spanning nearly every industry. They are also co-owners of numerous private banks including the International Monetary Fund, which essentially functions as a global loan shark with no government or international oversight, as well as many of the world’s central banks, which are private entities despite their associations with federal governments.

Several politicians, especially those who are the most willing to bend over backwards for wealthy interests, have made their careers by catering to the whims of the Rothschilds and other families like them. In US politics today, there is no better example of this archetype than Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. In fact, less than two months ago, Clinton flew just 20 miles in a private jet to attend a private Rothschild fundraiser in her honor. Yet, this is just one of the latest examples of her intimate relationship to the banking dynasty. … continue

Muzzling Israeli Dissent in the NYT

B’Tselem’s Hard Hitting Testimony Lost in the Telling

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | October 18, 2016

Israeli rights advocate Hagai El-Ad spoke eloquently last week before the United Nations Security Council, appealing to the world body for action on the brutal occupation of Palestine, but according to The New York Times little of what this courageous activist said was fit to print: The real news was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s outraged response.

Thus we find a story on the speech appearing two days after the event under the headline “Settlement Debate Flares Again in Israel’s Quarrel With Rights Group.” The article by Isabel Kershner has much to say about Israeli government criticism of the human rights group B’Tselem, which documents and publicizes Israeli abuses in the West Bank and Gaza.

She says as little as possible, however, about El-Ad’s actual comments. Of his 2,000 word speech she quotes no more than two dozen: “Anything short of decisive action will achieve nothing but ushering in the second half of the first century of the occupation… [Living under occupation] mostly means invisible, bureaucratic, daily violence.”

The heart of the address is missing: El-Ad’s devastating deconstruction of the Israeli justice system as “a legal guise for organized state violence,” the daily indignities and suffering under Israeli military rule, the demolitions of homes, theft of land and water and the impunity surrounding trigger happy security forces. … continue

Five years on: The Wafa al-Ahrar agreement and prisoner exchange

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – October 19, 2016

On 18 October 2011, 477 Palestinian prisoners were released from Israeli occupation prisons in the Wafa al-Ahrar (“Dedication to the Free”) prisoner exchange with the Israeli occupation. One week prior, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners were engaged in an open-ended hunger strike against the solitary confinement and isolation of Palestinian leaders, especially Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The strike was suddenly interrupted with stunning news: a prisoner exchange agreement had been released between the Palestinian resistance and the Israeli occupation, for the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of captured occupation soldier Gilad Shalit. The exchange was completed with the release of 550 fellow Palestinian prisoners in December 2011. In the agreement, among the first set of 477 prisoners released, 131 were released to Gaza and 110 to the West Bank, as well as six Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship returning to Palestine ’48. 203 more were deported from Palestine. This group were the prisoners with lengthy sentences.

This was, of course, not the first time that the Palestinian resistance secured the release of Palestinian prisoners through prisoner exchanges. Throughout Palestinian history, large numbers of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails with lengthy sentences have found freedom in prisoner exchanges negotiated by Palestinian resistance organizations.

Since the 2011 Wafa al-Ahrar exchange, dozens of released prisoners have been re-arrested, many with their original sentences reimposed. 57 former prisoners have been re-imprisoned by the Israeli occupation, out of 74 who have been arrested; 50 prisoners have had their original sentences re-imposed on allegations of “violating their terms of release” through “association or support for” prohibited organizations, including all major Palestinian political parties. Three more re-arrested prisoners are serving sentences lower than their original sentences, including Nael Barghouthi (30 months), Nayef Shawamreh (4 years), and Bassam Natsheh (3 years). Israeli Military Order 1651 allows the re-imprisonment of former Palestinian prisoners on prior charges for arbitrary re-arrests, on the basis of secret evidence. … continue

Ignorant of UNESCO Resolution, Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Sukkot at Buraq Plaza

IMEMC News – October 19, 2016

Thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered, Wednesday morning, at Buraq plaza, to the west of Al-Aqsa Mosque to celebrate what is called Sukkot, the “Feast of Tabernacles”.

By celebrating their rituals, thousands of Jews gave the cold shoulders to UNESCO‘s resolution in which it considered the Al-Aqsa shrine an Islamic site, nullifying a Jewish connection to it. … Full article

Zionism is Racism

By Ludwig Watzal | American Herald Tribune | October 18, 2016

Hardly any knowledgeable person doubts that Zionist ideology is the purest form of racism. Zionism is Jewish disguised racism as a raison d’etat. Israel comes right after the U. S., as far as racism is concerned. That is why the U. S. donates to this racist regime $ 3.8 bn per year in order to keep this occupation regime going. Should anybody doubt the racism of the Israeli leadership, read the following article. [1]

Racism among the Israeli leadership is legendary. It started out with the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, saying: “Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment … Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.” Or David Ben-Gurion when he advised his General Staff; “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” But the dehumanization of the Arab population started already shortly after the Zionist colonizers arrived in the Land of Palestine.

The former terrorist and later Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin in a speech before the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, termed the Palestinians as “beasts walking on two legs”. Or for the infamous Golda Meir “There is no such thing as a Palestinian.” One could go on and on with the racist statements of the Israel political establishment, not to speak of the violent racism of the colonial settlers in the Palestinian Occupied Territories that make the life of the Palestinians a living hell. … continue

Antisemitism Report tries to Whitewash Zionism

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | October 18, 2016

The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee has just issued its report ‘Antisemitism in the UK’ in response to concerns about “an increase in prejudice and violence against Jewish communities” and “an increase in far-right extremist activity”. It was also prompted by allegations of antisemitism in political parties and university campuses. … continue

Greece’s Syriza Party playing double game on Palestine issue: Activist

Press TV – October 18, 2016

Greece’s ruling left-wing Syriza Party has called on the government to recognize the state of Palestine. Back in December, the parliament approved a non-binding resolution, urging the government to formally recognize the Palestinian statehood. If implemented, Greece would become the first European country to follow Sweden’s lead which officially recognized Palestine in 2014.

Talking to Press TV, Joe Catron, an activist with International Solidarity Movement, has described the announcement as “a tremendous victory” for Palestinians and solidarity activists who have made Palestine a popular issue in Greece.

But at the same time, he drew attention to the fact that this is only “a symbolic move” which comes on the heels of other steps taken by Syriza to boost its ties with Israel.

“Since Syriza took power, we have seen it sign [an] agreement with Israel which is comparable only to Israel’s existing agreement with the United States,” he said. “We have seen it move to increase its energy cooperation with Israel and [have] even seen Syriza prime minister refer in writing, during a visit to the occupied Palestinian Jerusalem al-Quds, to it [the city] as Israel’s historic capital.”

He further noted that Syriza is playing a double game over Palestine by trying to cement its ties with Tel Aviv on the one hand; while taking limited pro-Palestine steps on the other.

“I do not think that Israel is happy to see any steps taken internationally in solidarity with Palestine and the Palestinians, including this one. [But] I think they probably prefer it to any alternative that might include its isolation, for example Greece ending its energy ties. That is something that, I think, they would take more seriously,” Catron added.

According to the activist, it is up to Palestinians to decide whether such symbolic steps are worth celebrating or they are simply distractions from more concrete measures that might produce results.

The Story Changes: The Pentagon Is No Longer Sure Yemen Fired Missiles At US Ship

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | October 17, 2016

Last Thursday, after two consecutive missile attacks on the US Navy ship USS Mason, which allegedly were launched by Houthi rebel forces in Yemen, the US entered its latest military engagement in the middle east, when the USS Nitze launched several Tomahawk cruise missiles aimed at radar installations located by the Bab el-Mandab straight, and which enabled the launch of at least three missiles against the U.S. ship.

As Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said, “these limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships and our freedom of navigation,” adding that “these radars were active during previous attacks and attempted attacks on ships in the Red Sea,” including the USS Mason, one of the officials said, adding the targeted radar sites were in remote areas where the risk of civilian casualties was low. That said, as we highlighted, the U.S. said while there growing indications, there was no official proof that Houthi fighters, or forces aligned with them, were responsible for the attempted strikes which targeted US ships. Still, the lack of concrete proof did not bother the US which, cavalier as usual, unleashed the missile assault on Yemeni territory, breaching the country’s sovereignty and potentially killing an unknown number of people.

However, today – four days after the US “counterattack” – the story changes. According to Reuters earlier today the Pentagon declined to say whether the USS Mason destroyer was targeted by multiple inbound missiles fired from Yemen on Saturday, as initially thought, saying a review was underway to determine what happened.

“We are still assessing the situation. There are still some aspects to this that we are trying to clarify for ourselves given the threat — the potential threat — to our people,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told a news briefing.”So this is still a situation that we’re assessing closely.”

And yet, the US had no problem with “clarifying” the source of the threat on Thursday when it fired American cruise missiles at Yemeni targets.

At this point we refer readers to what we said on Thursday, when we once again put on the cynical hat, and voiced what those who have not been brainwashed by US media thought, to wit:

In retrospect one now wonders if the “cruise missiles” that fell close to the US ships were merely the latest false flag providing the US cover to launch another foreign intervention.To be sure, the Houthis, who are battling the internationally-recognized government of Yemen President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, denied any involvement in Sunday’s attempt to strike the USS Mason.

Full article

Asma Assad: ‘It is the West dividing our children in this conflict’

RT | October 18, 2016

The western world is dividing Syrian children according to the political views of their parents, Asma Assad, the Syrian First Lady, said in a rare interview. She said the mainstream media only concentrated on those stories which matched their policy.

The wife of President Bashar Assad gave an exclusive interview, her first in eight years, to Russia’s Rossiya 24 channel. The full version of the interview is to be shown on Saturday.

Asma was asked why the western media is selective in covering the Syrian crisis, in particular the humanitarian catastrophe that has engulfed the country.

For example, the story of the civilians from the village of Zarah in Hama Province, who were attacked by Ahrar al-Sham and Al-Nusra fighters in May, wasn’t covered by the mainstream media.

“Why was the fate of the children in Zara [village] not given the same media coverage as the tragedies of Aylan and Omran?” Asma Assad asked. … Full article

Hillary’s Hide-and-Seek

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | October 16, 2016

This Sunday’s New York Times (NYT ) article by Amy Chozicko, headlined “Issues in Hillary Clinton’s Past Leave Her Muted in Furor Over Donald Trump” (“Clinton Treads Lightly Amid Furor Over Trump” in the print edition) provides a fine example of how the mainstream press covers up Hillary Clinton’s problems, even when they claim to be reporting on them.

The article introduces itself as explaining Hillary’s “virtual silence” regarding the issues of Donald Trump’s piggish treatment of women—issues that she herself raised in this campaign. The article mentions, in the most non-specific way possible, that she’s an “imperfect messenger” for these issues because of her “missteps” in dealing with her own “husband’s history” of piggish behavior. It alludes to her “role in countering the women who accused him of sexual misconduct” as part of a “painful past” that “haunted Mrs. Clinton last Sunday” when Trump brought some of her husband’s accusers to the debate.

The article goes on at length to quote from Michelle Obama’s speech, to elucidate how Hillary slyly changes the subject to cat videos when asked, and to talk about how she struggles to overcome the electorate’s lingering resistance to a woman president. It mentions how, “without mentioning the accusations against Mr. Trump,” she says things like: “This election is incredibly painful. I take absolutely no satisfaction in what is happening on the other side with my opponent.”

What the article does not do is mention a single specific “misstep” or “imperfection” in the way she “countered” her husband’s “accusers” and verified mistresses. In an article of some 1300 words, there is not one that clearly describes any of the things that Hillary Clinton did and said in that regard—the precise things that cause Hillary to “tread lightly” about Donald Trump’s abusiveness, and cause her the discomfort the article purports to explain. … continue

Trump blasts Obama, Clinton for ‘insulting’ Putin

Press TV – October 18, 2016

US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has criticized his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama for aggressively “insulting” Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“They insult him constantly — I mean, no wonder he can’t stand Obama and Hillary Clinton,” the New York businessman said in a radio interview on Monday.

Describing the growing tensions between Russia and the US as a “very serious problem,” Trump said the situation is the “worst” since the end of the Cold War.

“We have Putin, who has no respect for Obama at all — doesn’t like him, and doesn’t respect him,” the real estate mogul said. “A really catastrophic situation here, I’ll be honest with you.”

The former reality TV star said, if elected in the November election, he would meet with Putin “prior to” inauguration. … Full article

Canada Goes To War. Trudeau Postures For The UN

By Jim Miles | Global Research | October 17, 2016

Wow, the world gets crazier every moment! Stephen Lewis, former socialist NDP leader from Canada’s province of Ontario was asked about PM Justin Trudeau’s letter to the UN asking for a special General Assembly meeting, as reported by the CBC yesterday:

The Canadian Mission to the United Nations has submitted a rare request asking the president of the General Assembly for a meeting of all 193 member states to “explore concerted action to apply pressure on the parties of the violence [in Syria],” now in its sixth year. … continue

Good Deaths in Mosul, Bad Deaths in Aleppo

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | October 17, 2016

Note how differently The New York Times prepares the American public for civilian casualties from the new U.S.-backed Iraqi government assault on the city of Mosul to free it from the Islamic State, compared to the unrelenting condemnation of the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on neighborhoods of east Aleppo held by Al Qaeda.

In the case of Mosul, the million-plus residents are not portrayed as likely victims of American airstrikes and Iraqi government ground assaults, though surely many will die during the offensive. Instead, the civilians are said to be eagerly awaiting liberation from the Islamic State terrorists and their head-chopping brutality. … continue

US airstrikes in Libya doubled in less than 30 days

Press TV – October 18, 2016

The US military has dramatically increased the number of its airstrikes in Libya in less than a month, new data shows, further cementing President Barack Obama’s record of taking more military action than any other American president.

American fighter jets and drones stationed aboard the amphibious assault vessel USS Wasp off the Libyan coast, have so far carried out 324 airstrikes in the country, according to data by the Pentagon’s Africa Command, which leads the operation.

This is more than two times the 161 air raids that the US had carried out in Libya until September 21.

According to a report by Reuters, American aircraft had conducted more than 30 strikes across Libya between Saturday and Monday.

Washington began the air campaign on August 1, under the pretext of taking out the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri terrorists, who rose to power in the oil-rich country after the NATO-backed ousting and death of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Initially, the White House had claimed that the bombing campaign would be focused on the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, which fell to Daesh last year, and would end in a few “weeks.” … continue

Community Resistance to Senhuile Land Grab Sparks Hope in Senegal

By Alice Martin-Prével | Oakland Institute | September 1, 2016

Senegalese agro-pastoralists are striking wins against Senhuile SA, a foreign-owned agribusiness company established in Ndiaël, Saint-Louis Region of Senegal. In 2012, Senhuile obtained a 50 year lease on 20,000 hectares for a sweet potato plantation in a forest and wetland reserve, which was partially declassified to establish agribusiness activities.1 The deal threatened 9,000 pastoralists, who depend on these lands for their livelihoods. In addition to grazing their 100,000 animals (cows, sheep, goats, and horses), these lands also provide them with firewood, fruits, medicinal plants, and saps and resins. … continue

Mainstream media finally reveals truth about Rwanda’s dictator

By Yves Engler | October 18, 2016

It was a tough week for Romeo Dallaire, Louise Arbour, Gerald Caplan and other liberal Canadian cheerleaders of Africa’s most bloodstained dictator.

Last Tuesday’s Globe and Mail described two secret reports documenting Paul Kagame’s “direct involvement in the 1994 missile attack that killed former president Juvénal Habyarimana, leading to the genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people died.” In other words, the paper is accusing the Rwandan leader widely celebrated for ending the genocidal killings of having unleashed them.

Another front-page story the following day quoted Marie-Rose Habyarimana, who was studying here when her father was assassinated and is now a Canadian citizen, highlighting the absurdity of the official story. “They have been hypocritical”, she told the Globe and Mail. “Two Hutu presidents and a Hutu army chief were killed in a plane attack, and we were supposed to believe that Hutus were behind this, as though they would naturally sabotage themselves. Those who really wanted to see the truth, who could have looked deeply, could have seen through these attempts to lie and deform history.”

(According to the official story, Hutu extremists waited until much of the Hutu-led Rwandan military command was physically eliminated and the Hutu were at their weakest point in three decades, before they began a long planned systematic extermination of Tutsi.)

On a personal level it was gratifying to see Canada’s ‘paper of record’ finally report something I’ve been criticized for writing. A few days before the Globe report, I received an email from a York University professor telling me: “I tried earlier this year to arrange a launch for your book Canada in Africa, but it was met with some serious opposition. You’ve been branded, rightly or wrongly, a Rwandan genocide-denier. I am sorry, but I don’t think speaking at York is going to work out.” … continue

BBC ‘manipulative,’ needs to be democratized: Loach

Press TV – October 18, 2016

Prominent British filmmaker Ken Loach has blasted the BBC for its “manipulative” news, calling the network a “rotten” place for directors.

“The BBC is very aware of its role in shaping people’s consciousness; this is the story you should hear about, these are the people worth listening to. It’s manipulative and deeply political,” he said in a Radio Times interview on Monday.

The renowned director, who is currently promoting his Palme d’Or-winning film about a man’s struggle with the UK benefits system “I, Daniel Blake,” said it was necessary to “democratize” the media corporation.

Despite making his latest film in partnership with the BBC, Loach implied that the network had lost its appetite for socially conscious TV drama.

“Even then, people overstated how much of it there was. Anyway, now the drama is produced by outside production companies and horribly micro-managed. The directors I know in television say it’s a nightmare. That’s true for all the broadcasters, but the BBC is a rotten place for a director,” he continued. … Full article

UK spying agencies collected Britons’ data for 17 years: Court

Press TV – October 18, 2016

UK spying agencies secretly and unlawfully collected and stored personal data of Britons for 17 years, according to a court ruling.

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ collected data on everyone’s communications between 1998 and 2015, according to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the watchdog for intelligence agencies.

The agencies tracked individual phone and web use and other confidential information without having adequate safeguards or supervision, senior judges ruled on Monday.

They did not abide by article 8 protecting the right to privacy of the European convention of human rights (ECHR), they added.

“The BPD (bulk personal datasets) regime failed to comply with the ECHR principles, which we have above set out throughout the period prior to its avowal in March 2015. The BCD (bulk communications data) regime failed to comply with such principles in the period prior to its avowal in November 2015, and the institution of a more adequate system of supervision as at the same date,” the ruling stated.

Spying agencies, however, will still be able to continue to do so due to small tweaks to the law that allow them to flout the ruling. … continue