Aletho News


Current News and Analysis

Prelude to Iguala: “Heavy-handed police tactics” used against Ayotzinapa students in 2011

National Security Archive | October 7, 2015

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne said that “evidence of heavy-handed police tactics” was “strong and disconcerting” after a 2011 clash with student protestors from Ayotzinapa normal school left two youths and a gas station employee dead and several others wounded, according to a declassified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

Authorities in the Mexican state of Guerrero “reacted defensively and insensitively by blaming the victims and denying any responsibility” for their part in what the Embassy cable called a “chaotic student protest” in which “both police and protestors resorted to violent tactics.”

The newly-declassified cable was obtained by the National Security Archive under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and was the focus of an article published today by the award-winning team of investigative journalists at Mexico’s Aristegui Noticias.

The deadly 2011 incident against students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Normal School in Ayotzinapa came less than three years before 43 students from the university were disappeared and six others were killed after being detained by police forces in Iguala, Guerrero on the night of September 25-26, 2014. More than a year later, the federal government’s theory about what happened that night lies in ruins, and the families of the victims are no closer to knowing the fates of their loved ones. … continue

Belgian police clash with anti-austerity protesters

Press TV | October 7, 2015

Police in Belgium have clashed with protesters in the capital, Brussels, where thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against government austerity measures.

On Wednesday, police used tear gas and water cannons to break up crowds of protesters in the city.

Belgium’s three main unions said about 100,000 people gathered in the capital. The demonstration in the capital was part of a nationwide strike against budget cuts, tax policy changes, and a rise in the retirement age.

The Christian union, ACV, the socialist union, ABVV, and the liberal union, ACLVB, say the administration of Prime Minister Charlies Michel is promoting policies which unfairly benefit employers at the expense of workforce. They say the austerity measures are targeting the poor and leaving the rich unaffected.

Workers will have to work until the age of 67… continue

TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal

By Joyce Nelson | CounterPunch | October 7, 2015

We still don’t know all the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal tentatively agreed to on Oct. 5 by negotiators from 12 Pacific Rim countries, but already critics are slamming it for many reasons, including its generous concessions to the pharmaceutical industry.

Doctors Without Borders claims the TPP will “go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries.” [1] That’s because the TPP will extend patent protection for brand-name drugs, thereby preventing similar generic drugs (which are far less costly) from entering the market. This will drive up the prices. … continue

US slams Russia for striking terrorists

Press TV | October 7, 2015

The United States has condemned Russia for striking the Western-backed militants in Syria and denied that it is cooperating with Moscow in this regard.

Speaking at a press conference in Rome, Italy, on Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter called the airstrikes against terrorists “a fundamental mistake”.

“I have said before that we believed that Russia has the wrong strategy — they continue to hit targets that are not ISIL. We believe this is a fundamental mistake,” Carter claimed, using an acronym for the Daesh terrorist group.

“Despite what the Russians say we have not agreed to cooperate with Russia so long as they continue to pursue a mistaken strategy and hit these targets,” he added.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry said it was considering proposals from the US to coordinate operations against ISIL terrorists. … continue

Iraq to officially request Russian military action against Daesh

Press TV | October 7, 2015

Iraq is planning to officially ask Russia for airstrikes against Daesh in a bid to purge the Takfiri militant group from the territories it controls in the west and north of the Arab country.

“We might be forced to ask Russia to launch airstrikes in Iraq soon. I think in the upcoming few days or weeks Iraq will be forced to ask Russia to launch airstrikes and that depends on their success in Syria,” the head of the Iraqi parliament’s defense and security committee, Hakim al-Zamili, said on Wednesday, urging Moscow to play a bigger role than the United States in fighting terrorists in Iraq.

Baghdad has long criticized the ineffectiveness of the aerial military campaign by Washington and its allies against alleged Daesh positions in Iraq. However, Moscow’s recent military intervention against the terrorists in Syria has raised hopes of a similar move in Iraq.

“We are seeking to see Russia have a bigger role in Iraq. … Yes, definitely a bigger role than the Americans,” Zamili said. … continue

Guantánamo reinstates genital searching policy to prevent lawyer-client meetings

Reprieve | October 7, 2015

This week, two clients of international human rights NGO Reprieve chose not to meet their attorneys at Guantánamo due to reinstated genital searches, raising fears that the searches are being used in a deliberate attempt to stop detainees from meeting with their lawyers.

Staff at Guantánamo told Reprieve attorney Cori Crider during her visit this week, that cleared detainee Samir Moqbel refused their meeting because he didn’t want to submit to the genital search.

Guantánamo staff explained in prior filings that the search involved invasive searches of the prisoner’s groin “by placing the guard’s hand as a wedge between the [detainee’s] scrotum and thigh . . . and using [a] flat hand to press against the groin to detect anything foreign attached to the body,” after which a guard “uses a flat hand to frisk the detainee’s buttocks to ensure no contraband is hidden there.”

In 2013, during the height of a mass hunger strike at Guantánamo, the genital searches were the subject of litigation in US federal court, and were eventually discontinued by camp authorities. A judge who ordered the searches should be stopped wrote: “the choice between submitting to a search procedure that is religiously and culturally abhorrent or forgoing counsel effectively presents no choice for devout Muslims like petitioners.” … continue

Palestinian locals continue to ward off settler attacks in West Bank

Ma’an | October 7, 2015

B83xtyeCcAIV4biNABLUS – After days of attacks by Israeli settlers throughout occupied Palestinian territory, Palestinian residents continue attempts to prevent settler attacks in their towns and villages.

Overnight Tuesday, dozens of Israeli settlers gathered near the main entrance to Majdal Bani Fadil south of Nablus and attempted to attack the village, said Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank.

Daghlas told Ma’an that the settlers closed the road with rocks before local Palestinian men took to the street and clashed with the group, preventing an attack.

A similar attack by settlers was prevented in the Palestinian village of Jit, between Nablus and Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, as residents clashed with settlers at the village entrance. … Full article

Zionist Settlers Kill Palestinian Woman after trying to Remove Her Hijab

Al-Manar | October 7, 2015

Zionist settlers killed a Palestinian woman in al-Quds (Jerusalem) on Wednesday after trying to remove her Hijab.

Palestinian sources said that when two terrorist settlers tried to strip the woman of her Hijab, she defended herself by trying to stab him. Immediately, one of the settlers shot the woman from a close range.

The woman was heading to al-Aqsa Mosque, before being attacked by the settlers, eye witnesses said.

However, Israeli media didn’t mention that the settlers attacked the woman first.

According to Israeli Channel 10 news, the incident took place near the Lions Gate in the Old City, and the Israeli man sustained light injuries.

Tensions had been steadily mounting in al-Quds and across the West Bank in recent weeks due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinians seeking to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Violent confrontations took place in the West Bank over the weekend in which at least 230 Palestinians were wounded with around 90 of them with live ammunition.

Rafah crossing closed for 47 days

Palestine Information Center | October 7, 2015

GAZA – The Egyptian authorities continued to close the Rafah border crossing for 47 consecutive days, Palestinian Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

Since the beginning of the year, the Rafah border crossing has been closed for 259 days.

The Ministry has called on Egyptian authorities to urgently open the Rafah crossing and to help stop the deterioration of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The Ministry also asked for allowing the travel of thousands of people and the return of hundreds of others stranded on the Egyptian side of Rafah.

25,000 people are in dire need for travel including patients, students and holders of foreign passports.

Obama Boots Syrian Peace Chance

Consortium News | October 6, 2015

President Obama thinks he can appease the neocons and liberal hawks by talking tough about Syria and Russia but – in doing so – he is throwing away a promising opportunity to resolve the Syrian conflict, plus he still gets bashed by Official Washington’s pundits, writes Robert Parry. – Read article

US lies and excuses for bombing hospital

By Jonathon Cook | The Blog From Nazareth | October 7, 2015

Here is the US changing its story for the FOURTH time of why it launched an air strike on the Doctors without Borders hospital in the Afghan town of Kunduz at the weekend, massacring at least 22 patients and hospital staff.

As Glenn Greenwald has doggedly pointed out, the western media have been faithfully changing their account repeatedly and largely uncritically of what happened to keep in line with US claims. CNN and the New York Times have been particularly egregious offenders. The media monitoring group FAIR has also produced a revealing overview of the NYT’s coverage of the strikes on the hospital.

Almost all of the corporate media began by distancing the US from the attack, with some indicating that it was possible the hospital’s destruction simply coincided with US air strikes in that area. The BBC used the painfully evasive “Afghan air strike” in an early headline, suggesting the possibility of an illusory Afghan air force, to keep the US out of the picture.

Then, the US admitted it was responsible but claimed the strike was an accident. The problem, however, was that this story too was not credible: Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) had given the US and Afghan forces the GPS coordinates of the hospital and called the US military to tell them of the attack during the strike to no avail.

Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, exemplified the western liberal community’s torturous efforts to avoid considering US responsibility for such a serious war crime. He wanted us to think about Assad rather than Kunduz in this astonishing, deflectionary tweet (since deleted). … continue

Saudi warplanes kill eight in northwestern Yemen

Press TV | October 7, 2015

Saudi warplanes have killed as many as eight people, including six women and children, in northwestern Yemen, as the Riyadh regime keeps up its indiscriminate military aggression against its impoverished southern neighbor.

On Wednesday, Saudi bombardment left two people dead and four others wounded in the Qamar district of Yemen’s Sa’ada Province. Saudi jets also launched more than 50 aerial assaults against the Sirwah district in the country’s Ma’rib Province in west-central Yemen.

Yemen’s Saba Net news agency said Saudi strikes against the province’s Bagim district killed a woman and two children and wounded two others on Tuesday. Elsewhere in Sa’ada, Saudi bombardment killed three women and injured four others. … Full article

Britain to order 4 new Trident nuclear submarines – Cameron

RT | October 7, 2015

Britain will order four new nuclear submarines, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

In a clear message to anti-Trident Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the PM said four new submarines would be ordered to replace the existing fleet, which will be retired.

In his first conference speech since the Tories won a parliamentary majority in May’s general election, Cameron used the occasion to present a strong opposition to Corbyn’s foreign policy stance, highlighting the importance of a strong nuclear deterrent.

He told a packed hall that the nuclear deterrent is the country’s “ultimate insurance policy,” adding that the government would commit to the NATO defense spending target of 2 percent of GDP.

Kiev violates ceasefire three times over past 24 hours — DPR Defense Ministry

TASS | October 6, 2015

The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has registered three violations of the ceasefire on the part of Ukraine over the past 24 hours.

“The Ukrainian army has violated the ceasefire regime three times over the past day,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.

According to the ministry, the inhabited locality of Zaytsevo and the Donetsk Airport came under fire from 82-millimeter and 120-millimeter mortars. Also, the Ukrainian army opened fire on the village of Spartak in a Donetsk suburb from light arms.

Earlier, the DPR district and city administrations reported that the night from October 5 to 6 was without shelling.

In line with an agreement reached at the Contact Group’s talks in Minsk, complete cessation of fire was established at the disengagement line from September 1.

Ukraine Adopts Law Allowing Foreigners to Serve in the Country’s Army

Sputnik | 06.10.2015

Over the past year, foreigners have been engaged in Kiev’s military operation in Donbass as part of “volunteer battalions”.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed new legislation on Tuesday allowing foreign nationals to serve in the country’s military on contract.

The bill was supported by 229 lawmakers with a required minimum of 226, and has yet to be signed by the president.

Following the creation of volunteer battalions and special forces units under the jurisdiction of Ukraine’s Ministry of the Interior, many foreigners possessing military expertise began arriving to the eastern regions of the country and joined in the military operations there despite it being against the law, according to an explanatory note attached to the document. … Full article

Mexico Says Troops Will Not Be Questioned Over Ayotzinapa

teleSUR | October 6, 2015

Mexico’s Defense Secretary said Monday night that he will not let the nation’s soldiers be questioned by international investigators over the apparent abduction and massacre of 43 students in Ayotzinapa last year.

“I can’t permit them to interrogate my soldiers, who at this point haven’t committed a single crime,” said Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos in an interview with the Televisa network. He said the soldiers only answer to Mexican authorities.

His comments came after two separate reports, published last month, contradicted government claims that soldiers were not in the area when, a little over a year ago, dozens of students at Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in the state of Guerrero went missing. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, or IACHR, an autonomous arm of the Organization of American States, and the Mexican magazine Proceso conducted separate investigations that both found soldiers were in fact present at the time of the incident.

IACHR investigators have criticized the government’s investigation of the disappearance and have sought to interview the soldiers who they say were present. Meanwhile, a report from the magazine Proceso revealed that bullet casings from weapons carried by the Mexican army were found at the crime scene. … continue

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Lowballs Number of Police Car Chase Deaths

By Noel Brinkerhoff – AllGov – October 6, 2015

Federal regulators who keep track of vehicular accidents have seriously undercounted fatal accidents that happen as a result of police chases, according to a USA Today investigation.

The newspaper found the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) failed to include at least 101 motor-vehicle deaths in 2013 that were related to police chases, based on a review of police reports and internal documents, court records, police-car videos and news accounts based on police statements.  The agency’s total for 2013 was 322, which was off by 31%.

Furthermore, USA Today determined the undercount may have occurred going back to 1979. This would mean the total of police chase-related deaths is not 11,506, as reported by NHTSA, but more than 15,000. … Full article

Saudi Government threatens death penalty for tweeting – reports

Reprieve – October 6, 2015

The Saudi Arabian Government has warned that people could face execution for tweeting “rumours,” according to the state-backed Makkah Newspaper.

In an article published online on October 3rd, the paper said that a “judicial source” at the country’s Ministry of Justice had “confirmed to Makkah Online that the death penalty is the harshest of the penalties that can be enacted upon those who spread rumours which create civil discord, via social media platforms like Twitter.”

Although the report does not use a named source, the nature of state-censorship in the Kingdom makes it unlikely that such claims would be made without the consent of the authorities. In addition, the Makkah Newspaper appears to enjoy government support – according to local news reports, it was launched last year by the Governor of Mecca, in the presence of the Minister for Culture and Information.

The report, translated by human rights charity Reprieve, appears to be the first time that the Saudi authorities have specifically threatened to use the death penalty for ‘offences’ committed on social media such as Twitter. … continue

NY Times Botches Reporting on Israeli Police Execution

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | October 5, 2015

Sunday, I reported on the police execution of East Jerusalem Palestinian teenager, Fadi Alloun, outside the Old City. I noted the false reporting of the Jerusalem Post which stated that the police saw him “holding a knife” and “neutralized” him. There has been no supporting reporting in the Israeli media confirming this.

Now the international newspaper of record, the NY Times, gets in on the act. In Diaa Hadid’s report tonight, instead of focusing on his murder, she focuses on a supposed disagreement between villages and political factions about where he should be buried. The title of her story: Dispute Over a Burial Reveals Palestinian Divisions. Instead of focusing on the real news story of the video showing a flagrant execution, she invents a dispute purporting to show the Palestinian national movement in disarray.

This paragraph in particular irks:

“Mr. Alon was fatally shot by police officers early Sunday after he stabbed and wounded a 15-year-old Jewish boy on a road outside the Old City, according to the police. A video clip showed Mr. Alon being shot, apparently as he was trying to flee, with Israeli civilians in pursuit and shouting “Shoot him!”

In fact, no Israeli media has offered any proof that Alloun was the attacker who stabbed the Israeli. If you watch the video of the Alloun killing, he was not “apparently fleeing” the stabbing. He was fleeing the Israelis who were rushing at him. At one point, he says to his attackers: “Let me pass.” This is a youth being pursued by baying hounds, and seeking safety.

Why does the report not display the video of the Alloun killing in which the policeman exits his car and immediately murders Alloun without telling him to stop or saying anything to him? Why not note that when the policeman asks a bystander if Alloun had stabbed anyone, the bystander replies: “not yet.” … continue

Israeli forces raid mourning tent of slain Jerusalem teen

Ma’an – October 6, 2015

JERUSALEM – Israeli forces on Tuesday raided the East Jerusalem mourning tent of a Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli forces in the early hours of Sunday.

The father of Fadi Alloun, 19, told Ma’an that Israeli forces and intelligence officers raided the tent in Beit Hanina and threw stun grenades and pepper-sprayed mourners.

They also removed Palestinian and Fatah flags from the tent and detained an unidentified youth, he said.

A Ma’an reporter said Israeli forces then fired stun grenades at cars leaving the mourning ceremony, including at the private vehicle of Fatah official Adnan Ghaith. … continue

Al-Manar Cameraman Injured by Israeli Fire in West Bank

Al-Manar | October 6, 2015

Al-Manar TV cameraman, Salah al-Zayyat, was shot by the Zionist soldiers at the Qalandiya checkpoint on Tuesday in the West Bank while he was shooting the occupation attacks against the Palestinian people.

According to Al-Manar TV correspondent, Zayyat was wounded by a bullet in the abdomen during the Zionist attacks, and he has undergone a surgery in Ramallah hospital to extract the metal pieces that infiltrated into his body.

“Three others were wounded by the Israeli attacks, and dozens of people suffered from asphyxia due to the use of toxic gases by the Israeli enemy were treated in the scene,” the reporter added.

More Palestinians injured as Israeli forces violently attack mourners at a funeral in Bethlehem

pic06-600x450International Solidarity Movement | October 6, 2015

Bethlehem, occupied Palestine – The funeral of the 13-year old Abed al-Rahman Obeidallah, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces on his way home from school yesterday, took place today in Betlehem with over a thousand attendees. They marched from the Beit Jala hospital to Abeds house in Aida refugee camp.

After the burial ceremony the mourning Palestinians were violently attacked by Israeli forces as they sprayed the streets with skunkwater and fired over a hundred tear-gas canisters, shot endless rounds of rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition. This resulted in more than 20 injuries.

At least 13 Palestinians suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation.

At least 8 Palestinians were injured from rubber-coated steel bullets and at least 2 were shot with live ammunition.

The Constant Cruelty of the Israeli Occupation: A No-go Zone in The NY Times

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | October 5, 2015

As Israelis and Palestinians die in an upsurge of violence, The New York Times fails once again to give readers an honest look at the causes of this agonizing conflict. Missing from its pages is any real exposure of the brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine that underscores every aspect of the current crisis.

Thus we find a story today that focuses on the abstract: how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can “calibrate his response” to avoid provoking greater violence and satisfy his extremist opponents in the government. It is heavily weighted with Israeli punditry and refers to ongoing clashes and attacks, but it makes no effort to provide the essential context.

In this article by Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kershner the word “occupation” appears only in a quote by PLO official Hanan Ashrawi. “Palestine,” she says, “has been subject to the systematic and escalating violence of the occupation, whether in the form of settler-terrorism or at the hands of the Israeli military using live ammunition.”

Times readers are likely to dismiss her words as little more than rhetorical flourishes of the opposition, given that the newspaper has consistently failed to show the full reality of life for Palestinians, glossing over violence by soldiers and settlers and giving prominence to Palestinian attacks.

For instance, today’s report states that a Palestinian teenager was shot after he tried to stab an Israeli youth early Sunday, but it omits any mention that videos show he was chased down by a mob, shot by police, was carrying no knife and did not pose a threat to anyone in the area.

The story also says nothing of settler rampages throughout the West Bank in recent days, which have left dozens injured and forced the Red Crescent Society to declare a state of emergency after numerous attacks on its ambulances by both settlers and security forces. … continue

UN Trusts US to Investigate Itself, Will Hold Off on Kunduz Bombing Probe

Sputnik – 06.10.2015

The United Nations on Monday said it would hold off on deciding whether to support an independent investigation into a deadly air strike on a hospital in Afghanistan until it sees results from US, NATO and Afghan inquiries.

On October 4, a US airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital killed 22 civilians. The US military on Monday said the strike was launched after Afghan forces taking gunfire called for air support.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for an “impartial” investigation, but did not say it should be carried out by the UN.

“It’s still early days, I think we’re waiting to see what comes out of the official U.S. and NATO and possibly Afghan investigations,” he said. “I think what we’re looking for is a credible and transparent investigation.” … Full article

Second Saudi juvenile to face ‘beheading’ for protests

Reprieve | October 6, 2015

A second juvenile is facing beheading in Saudi Arabia after a court upheld his conviction for a role in protests, days after the case of juvenile Ali al-Nimr sparked a global outcry.

Dawoud al-Marhoon was 17 when he was arrested without a warrant by Saudi security forces in May 2012, at the height of protests in the country’s Eastern Province. He was tortured and made to sign a ‘confession’ that was later relied on to convict him. He has been held in solitary confinement, and has been barred from speaking to his lawyer. Last week, the Specialized Criminal Court – the same body that recently upheld a sentence of ‘crucifixion’ for Ali al-Nimr – upheld Dawoud’s conviction, and sentenced him to death by beheading.

With legal avenues exhausted, both juveniles could now be executed at any time, without prior notification to their families. The executions are expected to go ahead despite concerns about the fairness of both trials; Dawoud was sentenced after a number of secret hearings took place without the presence of his lawyer, who was also blocked from receiving information about appeal hearings.

The case of Ali al-Nimr, who faces a sentence of ‘crucifixion’ – involving beheading and the public display of his body – has prompted strong international criticism… continue

12 year old Palestinian killed in Bethlehem as violence explodes across the West Bank

International Solidarity Movement | October 5, 2015

Young Palestinians martyrs recently murdered by Israeli forces. West Bank, occupied Palestine – Abed al-Rahman Shadi Obeidallah, 12 was still in his school uniform when he was rushed in a civilian car to Beit Jala hospital from Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem today. The boy, from from a Al Kahder village, was shot in the heart during confrontations at Aida camp as violence explodes across the West Bank prompting the Red Crescent to declare a level 3 state of emergency across the occupied Palestinian territories. Another boy was shot in leg with live ammunition during the attack.

Denouncing Israeli violations against humanitarian international law, the Palestine Red Crescent Society staff have endured 14 attacks on their emergency vehicles as Israeli forces and settler violence has sharply surged in a bloody three days. Attacks on PRCS have included medics being beaten by soldiers in Jerusalem, Israeli forces beating an ambulance crew with batons in the old city of Jerusalem and after one attack on an emergency crew in Jabal Al Taweel (Al-Bireh), two medics were injured. Israeli forces attacked an ambulance in al-Issawiya village in occupied East Jerusalem, before arresting an injured Palestinian who was being treated inside the ambulance. An ambulance windshield was also shattered by settlers in Burin village in Nablus. Burin underwent a frightening attack by settlers which left much of it in flames.

Reportedly 465 Palestinians have been injured thus far, including 28 shot with live ammunition and 68 injured with rubber coated steel bullets. Hundreds of others have been overcome by teargas that Israeli forces have been showering over villages and in cities where Palestinians have gathered to demonstrate against their murdering of several Palestinian youths since this past Saturday. … continue

‘We Hope This Information Has Been Helpful’

By Brett Max Kaufman | ACLU | October 2, 2015

The ACLU’s long-running effort to shed light on the government’s “targeted killing” program has had its share of breakthroughs — most importantly, the Second Circuit Appeals Court’s release of a July 2010 Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel memorandum laying out the purported legal justification for the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen.

But while we’ve been at it for more than half a decade, the government continues to stonewall. For years in our Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, the government claimed that it could not even “confirm or deny” the existence of records related to the program — a program that was, even then, openly discussed in the media, in the halls of Congress, and in government officials’ formal speeches. Then the government refused to identify or release records that the courts finally forced it to admit it had.

Today, that — um — changed.

This morning, the ACLU actually received a responsive targeted-killing record from the government. It sums up the government’s current stance with respect to disclosures relating to the program. … continue

‘Purely to observe, not to shoot people’: Snipers spotted at Manchester anti-austerity march

RT | October 5, 2015

A crowd of at least 60,000 anti-austerity protesters in Manchester was chaperoned by snipers, who carefully watched over the march which had been staged to coincide with the Conservative Party conference held in the city.

Activists at the march spotted several snipers along their route and were quick to report it on Twitter. Sharpshooters were seen on the top of several roofs in the city center, with one user, Ben Whittingham, posting an aerial photograph of one of the marksman.

“Just a police sniper on roof of Tory party conference, which resembles a prison,” he tweeted.

City police confirmed the activists’ worst fears, but insisted that the snipers had ben placed on the roofs “purely for observation” as they supported the security on the ground of the event.

“They are high up for that reason, to observe. And they [the guns] are used for their powerful sight, which is stronger than any pair of binoculars,” a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) spokesperson told the Manchester Evening News.

“They are not there to shoot people,” the spokesperson emphasized.

Meanwhile the police made at least five arrests after a crowd of some 60,000 – according to police estimates – marched against the government’s austerity policies, vowing to “chase the Conservatives out.”

The organizers, the Trades Union Congress and The People’s Assembly, insist that as many as 100,000 activists took part in the event. … Full article

Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict

By Matt Peppe | Just the Facts | October 4, 2015

A week and a half ago news emerged from Havana that the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the Colombian government had reached a framework for a final peace agreement to be signed within six months. This was hailed as a breakthrough in the half-century-old conflict and an opportunity to bring peace to the people of Colombia. But by adopting the government’s narrative, mainstream media have failed to recognize the primary cause of the violence and the inevitability that it will continue in the future.

The decades-long policy of the Colombian government has been a national security strategy of counterinsurgency, developed in the late 1950s under the sponsorship of the US military. The goal of the US government was to maintain a business-friendly political system that would implement economic policies amenable to multinational corporations and foreign capital. Resistance to such policies was deemed subversion, and people who sympathized with such resistance were branded as internal enemies to be eliminated or neutralized by military means.

The narrative of the national security doctrine holds that if the insurgent threat is eliminated, then peace will be restored. The implicit assumption is that the FARC rebels have always been the side standing in the way of peace. According to this interpretation, when the FARC initiated their military operations the state was acting for the benefit of the nation as a whole by organizing a counter response.

But this narrative is historically inaccurate. The Colombian conflict is not a battle of society at large against a group of guerillas, but a battle of a small group of elites controlling the state apparatus against the majority of the population. … continue

Afghan Doctor Slaughter Pulls Back Curtain

Consortium News | October 4, 2015

The apparent U.S. slaughter of at least 22 people at an Afghan hospital, including Doctors Without Borders medical staff, is part of the grim reality of indiscriminate death when U.S. Special Forces undertake their secret raids and often toss aside the rules of warfare, reports Nicolas J S Davies. – Read article

3,000 Militants Flee to Jordan Ahead of Advancing Syrian Army

Sputnik – 05.10.2015

Scores of Islamic State militants have reportedly fled Syria in fear of an upcoming large-scale Syrian Army offensive.

More than three thousand militants from the Islamic State, Jabhat Al-Nusra and Jaish al-Yarmouk jihadist groups have left Syria for Jordan, fearing the forthcoming Syrian Army offensive, Russia’s news agency Ria Novosti quoted a military source as saying.

“At least three thousand militants from the Islamic State, the Al-Nusra and the Jaish Al-Yarmouk fled to Jordan. They are afraid of the army’s advance on all fronts and the Russian aircraft airstrikes,” the source said.

According to the source, the Syrian army on Sunday attacked militants from the Islamic State and the Jabhat Al-Nusra” in the suburbs of the capital Damascus and the provinces of Deir Ezzor and Homs, as well as near the city of Palmyra.

In Deir Ezzor, about 160 militants were reportedly killed during the fighting, while the army’s assault on Holms and Palmyra left at least seventeen militants dead. … Full article

Syrian Army Invites Terrorists to Surrender Before Major Operation

Sputnik – 05.10.2015

Syrian air force helicopters dropped leaflets in the south of Hama province, inviting terrorists to surrender and warning civilians about the beginning of a major military operation.

Agitational leaflets were dropped on the territories of Rastan and Talbiseh settlements, currently controlled by Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra militants, RIA Novosti reported.

There were two types of dispersed leaflets. One contained a detailed instruction on how to behave when approaching Syrian troops’ checkpoints and urged civilians to leave their homes on the threshold of a forthcoming military operation.

“With this leaflet you are allowed to safely pass Syrian Arab Army checkpoints,” the leaflet for civilians said. “The army will provide food supplies and medical assistance. Cooperate with the Syrian army and leave the war zone for the sake of your own lives.”

In the other leaflet, Syrian citizens who took sides with terrorists were offered to surrender their arms and give up confrontation with the army. … continue

Moscow ready for contact with Free Syrian Army – FM Lavrov

RT | October 5, 2015

Russia is ready for contact with the Free Syrian Army, but it is now a ‘phantom,’ Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said at a news conference following talks with his Laos counterpart in Moscow.

“They tell us about the Free Syrian Army, but where is it? It remains a phantom group, nothing is known about it,” Lavrov said, adding that Russia has sent a request about the group to the United States.

“We will be ready to establish contact with it if it’s really a capable military group of patriotic opposition consisting of Syrians. We do not hide this fact. But this structure is already a phantom. I have asked [State Secretary] John Kerry to provide us with information about the whereabouts of this Free Syrian Army and who commands it,” said Lavrov.

“So far no one has told us where and how this Free Syrian Army operates or where and how other units of the so-called moderate opposition operate.” […]

Sergey Lavrov also warned of any attempts to topple Syrian President Assad.

“The overthrow of the ruling regime in Damascus would be a most violent breach of the UN Security Council resolution, which approved the Geneva communiqué of June 30, 2012. This communiqué sets out only peaceful political and diplomatic means to solve the Syrian crisis,” he said. “That’s why recent calls from several capitals for the conflict to be solved militarily are a breach of international law,” the Russian foreign minister added. – Full article

I Wish Nobody Was Bombing Syria

By Ron Paul | October 5, 2015

The US regime change policy for Syria has been a catastrophe. More than 200,000 killed and an entire country reduced to rubble at least partly because President Obama decided that “Assad has lost his legitimacy.” How is it that the president of a country 6,000 miles away has the authority to decide whether another leader belongs in office or not? What if Rouhani in Iran decided that Obama had lost his legitimacy for killing a number of American citizens by drone without charge or trial? Would we accept that?

At least three years of US efforts to train rebels to overthrow the Syrian government has produced, as General Lloyd Austin, Commander of US Central Command, testified last month, “four or five” trained and vetted “moderates” in Syria. The $500 million appropriated for this purpose has disappeared.

The neocon solution to this failure to overthrow Assad and “degrade and destroy” ISIS is to increase the bombing and lead a ground invasion of Syria. The confusing policy of fighting Assad and also fighting his enemies does not seem to bother the neocons. They want us to forget all about their recent failures in Libya and Iraq and to try the same failed strategy one more time.

But something dramatic happened last week. … continue

Jewish settlers attack Palestinian hamlets east of Yatta

342062CPalestine Information Center | October 5, 2015

AL-KHALIL – Extremist Jewish settlers on Sunday attacked Palestinian homes and property near their settlements, which are built illegally on Palestinian-owned lands east of Yatta city in al-Khalil.

Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center that the settlers blocked two roads in Masafer Yatta area and smashed solar panels in the hamlet of Menaizel.

The sources also said that the settlers chased school students as they were walking to their homes in the area and tried to attack houses in the hamlet of al-Karmal, east of Yatta.

The settlers also attacked Palestinian cars traveling on a road north of Yatta and threw stones at them, the sources added.

Roger Waters to Jon Bon Jovi: “You stand shoulder to shoulder with the settler who burned the baby”

Salon | October 2, 2015

Letter to the pop group Bon Jovi:

Dear Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, and Tico Torres,

Often in the past I have written detailed, and sometimes even persuasive, letters to colleagues in the music business, encouraging them not to give succor to the Israeli government’s apartheid policies by performing in Israel. Having read Jon’s comments last week in Yedioth Ahronoth, I won’t waste my time drawing parallels with Apartheid South Africa and the moral stand that so many artists took then and that thousands are taking now in the face of decades of Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

So the die is cast, you are determined to proceed with your gig in Tel Aviv on October 3. You are making your stand.

You stand shoulder to shoulder

With… continue

Assad: ‘West uses terrorism as new instrument to subjugate Middle East’

RT | October 4, 2015

56117270c4618838658b4596Western countries are using terrorism as an instrument of control, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in a recent interview. He also said that he is ready to step down if his departure is the solution to the four-year-long conflict.

“From the beginning it was clear to us that there were foreign hands behind terrorism in Syria,” Assad said in interview with Iran’s Habar TV.

President Assad thinks that the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is ineffective because the West does not want to defeat terrorist groups. In fact, it wants to preserve the balance between the warring sides to “perpetuate the process of erosion in Syria and Iraq and later other countries of the region, so that we all remain weak for decades and maybe generations.”

“How can the United States and its allies fight terrorism or ISIS in Syria and Iraq while their closest allies in the government of Erdogan and Davutoglu are supporting terrorists and enabling them to cross the borders and bring weapons, money and volunteers through Turkey?” he asked.

Since the US-led coalition was formed, terrorism expanded geographically and its recruits multiplied, the Syrian president said. … continue

Militant groups reject UN peace initiative on Syria

Press TV | October 3, 2015

Foreign-backed militant groups in Syria have rejected a plan by the United Nations to end the conflict in the Arab country, a day after the Damascus government said it is ready to take part in such an initiative.

The militant groups issued a statement on Saturday rejecting the initiative by the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura.

The statement, a rare case of unity among the militant groups, which include those directly backed by the United States such as Division 101, said the initiative includes mechanisms that would more benefit the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. … Full article

Somalia Ratifies Rights of Children Treaty, Leaving United States as only Holdout

By Steve Straehley | AllGov | October 4, 2015

And then there was one.

Somalia last week deposited its instrument of ratification of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), leaving the United States as the world’s only country that has not done so. And it doesn’t look like the U.S. will join the club any time soon.

The convention, adopted in 1989, is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, with 196 signatory nations. It is a commitment to promote and respect the human rights of children, including the right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence and from any form of discrimination, and to have their views heard, according to the UN. Somalia began its process of ratification in January 2015; another holdout, South Sudan, ratified the treaty in May.

Although President Barack Obama gave his support to the CRC before he took office, saying “it is embarrassing that the U.S. is in the company of Somalia, a lawless land. If I become president, I will review this and other human rights treaties,” he hasn’t submitted the treaty for Senate approval. … Full article

How to Spy the 9/11 Lie

By Kevin Ryan | Dig Within | October 4, 2015

A recent book written by veteran CIA officers describes how deception can be identified by simple observational techniques. In Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception, authors Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero outline a number of verbal and visual behavioral clues that are demonstrated by people who lie in response to questioning. These proven techniques for recognizing deception can be easily applied to see that U.S. leaders have lied repeatedly about the attacks of 9/11.

The authors make clear that there are two important guidelines to employ when analyzing these verbal and visual clues. First, timing is important. Due to the fact that people think ten times faster than they speak, the behaviors are more important when the first one occurs within five seconds of the question. Secondly, when the behavioral clues occur in groups of two or more, called clusters, they are more indicative of deception on the part of the person being questioned. The more clues exhibited, the more clear the deception becomes.

Let’s take a look at some examples. … continue

No militants at MSF hospital in Kunduz during US strike

Press TV – October 4, 2015

Doctors Without Borders has dismissed claims that members of the Taliban militant group were firing against Afghan and US forces from the clinic run by the charity group in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, before a US airstrike on the medical facility.

The group, known by its French acronym as the MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres), in a statement issued on Sunday rejected the claim about the presence of the militants at its facility, saying, “The gates of the hospital compound were closed all night so no one that is not staff, a patient or a caretaker was inside the hospital when the bombing happened.”

The Afghan Defense Ministry earlier said Taliban militants had attacked the hospital and were using the building “as a human shield.”

The militants had entered the compound of the medical center and used “the buildings and the people inside as a shield” while firing on security forces, said Brigadier General Dawlat Waziri, the Defense Ministry’s deputy spokesman.

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi, said 10 to 15 “terrorists” had been hiding in the clinic at the time of the US strike, adding, “All of the terrorists were killed but we also lost doctors.”

The US military said it conducted an airstrike “in the vicinity” of the hospital, as it targeted Taliban militants who were directly firing on US military personnel. … continue

October – 2015

September – 2015


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,084 other followers