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Current News and Analysis

Saudi airstrikes kill five in northwestern Yemen as ground invasion begins

Press TV | August 28, 2015

Saudi warplanes have conducted new attacks on Yemen’s northwestern Sa’ada Province, killing five people there.

The fatalities were caused in the Razeh city on Friday. Casualties were also reported after Saudi warplanes launched airstrikes on the city of Amran, also located in the country’s northwest.

Meanwhile, in the southwest, Saudi fighter jets conducted four airstrikes on the central security camp in the city of Ibb, the provincial capital of a province with the same name. Two women were killed and three people wounded in airstrikes on the Majma’ah complex in the province. … Full article

iSideWhiff: Presidential Poll Site Gets Iran Deal Totally Wrong

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep In America | August 27, 2015

You’ve probably heard of; it’s the site with that helpful quiz that tells you which of the presidential candidates you most agree (and disagree) with on a range of political and social issues.

The efficacy of the quiz, however, requires the asking of questions based on accurate information. Unfortunately, the single Iran-related query in the poll and the accompanying explanatory information are rife with factual errors. These errors and misinformation undoubtedly shape the ways in which less-informed users understand the issue and how they will respond. … continue

Fake report on ‘Russian soldier deaths’ in Ukraine sets media on fire

RT | August 27, 2015

A Forbes report on alleged Russian army casualties in Ukraine citing a dodgy Russian website has sparked a media and Twitter storm. Some said Russia had “finally slipped” with the leak on its troops in Ukraine; others were baffled by the “fake publication.”

A Forbes contributor, Paul Roderick Gregory, published an article on Wednesday citing a Russian web source called Delovaya Zhizn (translated as Business Life ), which was said to reveal “official figures on the number of Russian soldiers killed or made invalids in eastern Ukraine.” … continue

Moscow Calls Opening of NATO Training Center in Georgia Provocative Move

Sputnik | August 27, 2015

MOSCOW — Russia considers the opening of a NATO training center in Georgia to be a provocative move, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

“We see this move as a continuation of the alliance’s provocative policy, which aims to expand its geopolitical influence, often using the resources of its partner states,” ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters.

The opening, on Thursday, of the training center in Georgia is part of broader measures to assist Georgia in its effort to join NATO, whose proposed membership was approved in principle at the alliance’s summit in Wales in September 2014. … Full article

US to Deploy Battle Tanks, Infantry Fighting Vehicles to Poland in 2016

Sputnik | August 27, 2015

The United States will send heavy military equipment to Poland next year, Poland’s defense minister said on Thursday, as part of Washington’s efforts to reassure regional allies uneasy over the conflict in Ukraine.

Polish Defense Minister said the equipment will be positioned somewhere in the west and northeast of the country sometime in mid-2016.

While Siemoniak did not specify what type of equipment the United States will deploy, an anonymous US official told Reuters in June that the Pentagon was poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons in the region for as many as 5,000 troops.

The move will mark the first time since the Cold War that Washington has stored heavy military equipment in newer NATO member states in Eastern Europe and the Baltics that were once under Soviet influence.

Russia has continuously warned that the United States’ and NATO’s increased activities and amassing of weapons near its borders are provocative, and undermine regional and international stability. … Full article

The conceits of consensus

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | August 27, 2015

Critiques, the 3%, and is 47 the new 97?

For background, see my previous post The 97% feud.

Cook et al. critiques

At the heart of the consensus controversy is the paper by Cook et al. (2013), which inferred a 97% consensus by classifying abstracts from published papers.The study was based on a search of broad academic literature using casual English terms like “global warming”, which missed many climate science papers but included lots of non-climate-science papers that mentioned climate change – social science papers, surveys of the general public, surveys of cooking stove use, the economics of a carbon tax, and scientific papers from non-climate science fields that studied impacts and mitigation.

The Cook et al. paper has been refuted in the published literature… continue

Mexican Police Violently Repress Ayotzinapa Activists

teleSUR | August 27, 2015

Relatives of the 43 forcibly disappeared Ayotzinapa students along with supporters held a peaceful rally Wednesday in the Mexican capital, where they had traveled to continue to demand justice for their missing children, 11 months on from their initial disappearance.

However, activists said the police violently repressed demonstrators in Mexico City’s central square after the conclusion of the event.

“After the end of the march … riot police sent by the Mexico City government and other individuals in suits arrested two guys with great violence … there were blows to the people that were there, and they went into the subway station to find more, one-by-one, to literally rip from hands of observers, they would surround people while others with shields and batons would deliver blows left and right,” witness Ana Elena Contreras told Guerrilla Communication Mexico.

Photos on social media showed various people with serious injuries that they allege came at the hands of police. A video showed police acting with little regard to the safety of a woman with a child in her arms.

One testimony said that the police attack on supporters inside the Zocalo subway station included relatives of the missing students who had earlier participated in the rally.

According to witnesses, police detained several individuals inside the subway station but they later reappeared in the plaza above with injuries alleged sustained at the hands of police. … Full article

No Longer a Conspiracy Theory, First State Legalizes Weaponized Drones for Cops

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project | August 26, 2015

North Dakota — Nothing says “police state” quite like unmanned aerial vehicles patrolling the sky ready to deploy 80,000 volts to the nearest protester or dose entire crowds with chemical weapons.

The idea of weaponized drones has long been a dystopian, yet fictional idea. However, thanks to House Bill 1328, in North Dakota, this police state hell from above is now a horrid reality.

Thanks to a police union lobbyist, the idea of police using drones for “less than lethal” weapons is now written into North Dakota law. … continue

Iran will keep pursuing freedom of nationals, Foreign Ministry says

Press TV | August 26, 2015

Tehran has called for the release of 19 Iranian nationals languishing in the US jails on charges of bypassing anti-Iran sanctions.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Wednesday that Iran remains concerned over the fate of the prisoners and is seeking consular access to them.

She stated that some of the Iranians are still under watch even after serving their term.

“Defending these Iranians’ rights is among issues we have always demanded,” Afkham said, voicing regret that no international human rights organization, “particularly the United Nations”, has ever made comments regarding the matter.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also voiced hope that the prisoners would be set free as soon as possible. … Full article

JPMorgan Hires 4-Star General Notorious for Extrajudicial Killings in Iraq

By Claire Bernish | Blacklisted News | August 26, 2015

Proving yet again the ubiquitous ties between government and private interests, four-star General Ray Odierno — who retired as the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff on August 14 — made a rather abrupt leap in career choice to senior adviser for JPMorgan Chase less than a week later.

Not that the commander of the 4th Infantry Division — whose notorious reputation during the Iraq “War” included a penchant for indiscriminate, mass detention and extrajudicial killings of civilians — was otherwise considering humanitarian work when the megabank advising position happened to open up. It would seem the new role is perfect for Odierno, as he will be advising CEO Jamie Dimon, the Board of Directors, and the Operating Committee with “international planning and country risk analysis, technology, operations, and the rapidly evolving issues of physical and cyber security,” according to a company statement.

JPMorgan’s statement mentions the ex-general’s role with “physical security” in his upcoming duties, but even a cursory glance at the practices by those under his command in Iraq makes those goals seem, well, questionable.

A military intelligence specialist at the time, Sgt. Kayla Williams, said they passed by Odierno’s 4th Infantry Division, whose soldiers appeared “mean and ugly. They stood on top of their trucks, their weapons pointed directly at civilians . . . What could these locals possibly have done? Why was this intimidation necessary? No one explained anything, but it looked weird and felt wrong.” … Full article

Ukrainian sniper kills civilian woman: DPR official

Press TV | August 27, 2015

A Ukrainian sniper has reportedly shot dead a civilian woman in the suburbs of the eastern city of Donetsk, in the latest violation of a shaky ceasefire between Kiev and pro-Russia forces.

“A civilian of the village of Trudovskiye in the Petrovsky District was killed by a shot from a VSU (Ukraine armed forces) sniper. The injured woman died on the spot. The bullet hit her head,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted Maxim Zhukovsky, the administration chief of Petrovsky District, as saying on Wednesday.

Zhukovsky added that the elderly woman was near her home at the time of the attack. … Full article

US Committed to Playing Active Role in Transnistria Dispute Negotiations

Sputnik — 26.08.2015

Washington is committed to be fully engaged in the talks aimed at settling the Transnistria conflict, US Secretary of State John Kerry stated in a statement on Wednesday.

“You may be sure that America will remain unwavering in its support for Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and will continue to play an active role in the 5+2 negotiations aimed at peacefully resolving the Transnistria dispute,” Kerry said.

Kerry issued his statement on the occasion of Moldova’s National Day. The secretary stressed the US support for Moldova government’s efforts to undertake reforms.

Transnistria, a region with a predominantly Russian and Ukrainian population broke away from the Soviet republic of Moldova in 1990, fearing its government could seek reintegration with neighboring Romania. The initiative triggered Moldova’s offensive on the region in 1992, after which it lost control over the Dniester River’s left bank.

The region is now striving for international recognition, while Moldova offers Transnistria autonomy within a unitary state.

The 5+2 format negotiators include Russia, Moldova, Transnistria, Ukraine, the OSCE and observers from the European Union and the United States.

Stunning poll results showing Ukrainians’ dissatisfied with government, economy and war

New Cold War | August 26, 2015

IRI poll 4The International Republican Institute in the United States has published results of polling of attitudes of Ukrainians on the key issues facing the country. The polling was conducted in the latter two weeks of July 2015 by Rating Group Ukraine on behalf of the IRI.

The poll provides more evidence of deepgoing and growing political dissatisfaction and alienation in Ukraine. Absolute or relative majorities of Ukrainians now express unfavorable views of all major government leaders and politicians from major parties in Ukraine.

The people of the rebel region of Donbas are not included in the poll, which means that the levels of dissatisfaction of Ukrainian residents are even higher than what is reported by the IRI.

The poll results are unlikely to be reported in Western mainstream media, even though the poll is commissioned and published by a right-wing U.S. institute. That’s because the results fly in the face of the “news” and editorial opinions peddled by Western media. It proves that media is lying to its readers and grossly misleading them when it inaccurately presents the war in eastern Ukraine as a virtuous war against an aggressive Russia that is supported by the majority of the Ukrainian people. … continue

Forget China, Here’s What’s Really Frightening U.S. Stock Investors

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens | Wall Street On Parade | August 26, 2015

Wall Street has tried to keep all eyes focused on the ongoing rout in China’s stock markets and away from the slowdown in both earnings and revenues in the Standard and Poor’s 500 index of the largest U.S. corporations. In remarks yesterday, Sam Stovall, Managing Director of U.S. Equity Strategy for S&P Capital IQ said that among the growing concerns are “a possible U.S. profit recession.”

Last evening, Bloomberg Business reported that “Profits reported by S&P 500 companies in the second quarter fell 2 percent from a year ago and are projected to slip 5.5 percent in the current period.”

As earnings and revenues slide, the corporate balance sheets bloated with debt taken on to buy back the company’s own shares will provide an unwelcome headwind to grow earnings. Since 2009, S&P 500 corporations have spent over $2 trillion buying back their own stock.

According to the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research in a report released in March, “corporate debt outstanding has risen to $7.4 trillion, up from $5.7 trillion in 2006,” noting that a significant portion of that was spent on share buybacks. … continue

Bernie Sanders’ Conservative Foreign Policy

FR_SandersBy Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | August 26, 2015

Bernie Sanders and his supporters claim he is different, a breath of fresh air.

Yet he “won’t state for the record how his foreign policy differs” from Clinton and the Republicans.

“He doesn’t question why the United States has the right to dictate policy to another nation” and “repeats the same discredited mantra” as Obama on the nuclear threat from Iran – a threat that even the CIA has declared never existed.


He won’t even say the word.

Read article

3 members of one family killed in US drone strike in Nangarhar Province

Press TV – August 26, 2015

A US drone strike has claimed the lives of at least three members of one family in the eastern province of Nangarhar in Afghanistan.

The drone strike was carried out on Wednesday, with witnesses saying that the victims – a man, his son and his brother – were apparently hit while collecting stones outdoors.

Local Afghan officials have made no comments on the deadly incident. However, sources with the Taliban militant group have confirmed that those killed in the strike were not members of the group.

In early August, local authorities said at least 75 people were killed in US drone attacks in various districts of Nangarhar, which lies on the Afghan border with Pakistan. … Full article

Ukrainian State Oppression Against Protests Triples After Coup – Monitor

Sputnik | August 26, 2015

According to a group which monitors protests in Ukraine, repressions against protests in Ukraine more than tripled compared to the time period before the protests which led to Ukraine’s 2014 coup.

State repressions against protests in Ukraine more than tripled compared to the period before Ukraine’s Euromaidan protests and the February 2014 coup,  a Ukrainian protest monitor said in a release.

According to the Kiev-based Center for Social and Labor Research (CLSR), the number of violent protests in the 11 months prior to the 2013 Euromaidan and the 11 months after August 2014 more than tripled. The monitor found that the peak of government repressions against protests peaked between April and June 2015, with 57 out of every 100 protest facing government violence.

“Worrying is the high frequency of repressions against protests with government critics and demand for lustration, against protests with socio-economic and political demands,” the release said.

The percentage of violent protests also more than doubled in the compared time periods, according to the monitor. At the same time, oppression against what the monitor called “anti-communist” protests decrease while violence at the protests more than doubled. The monitor also found that even without protests that it labeled “separatist,” the number of negative government reactions to protests more than doubled in 2015.

Ecuadorean President Opens Health Centers in Indigenous Region

teleSUR – August 26, 2015

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa Tuesday inaugurated three new health centers in the province of Cotopaxi, which are destined to serve more than 55,000 people.

The health centers were built at a cost of US$7 million and serve a part of Ecuador currently at risk of being affected by the possible eruption of the Cotopaxi volcano.

President Correa said these centers are already equipped to deal with any potential emergency related to a possible eruption.

The new health centers are part of a push by the government to improve public health in the country by reducing visits to larger hospitals and placing a greater emphasis on prevention.

These centers, run by the Ministry of Public Health, are available to all residents free of charge. … continue

13K public aid recipients become homeless in LA County every month– report

RT – August 26, 2015

About 13,000 of the two million LA county residents receiving some form of public assistance slip into homelessness every month, according to a new report entitled “All Alone.”

Researchers said that 70 percent of the 13,000 people tumbling into homelessness quickly find work or rely on family to get off the streets. However, a quarter of those people, amounting to some 3,700, were experiencing periods of “continuous, unremitting, chronic homelessness,” when they were homeless four or more times within three years.

The problem is escalating despite 10,000 people having been placed in housing over the last three years, according to the report produced by a research organization based in Los Angeles called the Economic Roundtable. … Full article

120,000 Gazans have no access to water

MEMO – August 26, 2015

palestinian-children-water-bottlesOne year after the war, the water situation is still bad and thousands are suffering from lack of access to clean and safe drinking water.
Some 120,000 people in the Gaza Strip have no access to water due to the damage left by last summer’s Israeli war on the Strip, official sources said.

The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) said in a statement published today: “Around 120,000 people in the Gaza Strip are not connected to the water network and 23 per cent of the population is not connected to the sanitation network.”

As a result of damages and losses caused by the Israeli war which took place last summer, the water situation in the Gaza Strip is “extremely dangerous”, the organisation warned.

“One year after the war, the water situation is still bad and thousands are suffering from lack of access to clean and safe drinking water.” … Full article

Israeli troops ‘steal money, jewelry’ during detention raid

Ma’an – August 26, 2015

NABLUS – A Palestinian father said Wednesday that Israeli soldiers stole money and jewelry from his family home when they detained his son in a predawn raid in the the northern West Bank village of Salem east of Nablus.

Nasim Hilmi Karaki, a lieutenant colonel in the Palestinian Authority national security forces, told Ma’an that Israeli special forces stormed his house around 1:00 a.m. after blowing up the main door.

Large numbers of troops ransacked the house as they inspected rooms using metal detectors and police dogs, Karaki said, adding that they blew up the doors of three rooms inside the house. … continue

1,000 Children Left Disabled by 2014 War on Gaza

460_0___10000000_0_0_0_0_0_gazaunrwadop_2IMEMC News & Agencies – August 26, 2015

Defense for Children International said, in a special report, on Tuesday, that about a thousand Palestinian children have sustained permanent disabilities as a result of the Israeli aggression on Gaza in 2014.

DCIP also documented cases in which at least 30 children sustained permanent facial or physical deformation, according to WAFA.

In July of 2014, Israel waged a relentless offensive on Gaza which claimed the lives of almost 2,240 people, most of them civilians and mainly children and women, while more than 40,000 homes were destroyed either totally or partially.

An estimated 500,000 people have become homeless or left their homes seeking shelter in safer places during the offensive.

Indian anti-corruption official: state “orchestrated” Islamist terror

Mumbai atrocities enabled by intelligence operations of India, Pakistan and the United States

By Nafeez Ahmed | INSURGE INTELLIGENCE | August 24, 2015

A senior Indian police officer and anti-corruption investigator last month accused the Indian government of orchestrating the Mumbai terror attacks which occurred nearly seven years ago, according to an Indian government official. … continue

TSA airport style searches on all Amtrak trains

MassPrivatel | August 25, 2015

Our government is stepping up its plans to search EVERYONE, ANYWHERE, whether you’re travelling by air, rail, ferry or bus.

Beginning this week and almost four years since writers warned Americans that our government wants to search people on trains, its finally become a reality!

The Baltimore Sun reported Amtrak will begin searching all passengers:

“Passengers failing to consent to security procedures will be denied access to trains.

“I don’t know if that level of security we have at airports would be practical at train stations,” said Vernon Herron, University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. “Washington DC and New York City—our financial district and our seat of power in Washington DC. Those types of targets are always going to be on their radar.”

What does this mean for anyone taking a government train (Amtrak)? It means EVERYONE will be subjected to airline style boarding procedures. In Europe, you won’t find pre-boarding ticket checks on any international intercity train line except Eurostar (between London and Paris, for border control purposes). By importing the security theater of air travel, DHS, sorry I mean Amtrak will treat EVERYONE like a suspected terrorist… Full article

UK mulls X-ray machines, body scanners at rail stations after France attack

RT | August 26, 2015

Airport-style security could be introduced on British trains under plans being considered by the European Union following last week’s terrorist attack in France.

Train operators could be made to install CCTV cameras in every carriage and stations introduce X-ray machines for high-speed services as part of increased security in the wake of the Arras attack.

The European Union is drawing up plans to create EU-wide rules on railway security for the first time, having previously introduced common rules on air and sea travel in the wake of 9/11.

Ayoub El Khazzani entered the first-class section of the Amsterdam to Paris high-speed Thalys train last Friday with a Kalashnikov rifle, 270 rounds of ammunition, a Luger handgun and a bottle of petrol.

A massacre was narrowly avoided when a group of passengers successfully tackled Khazzani and restrained him.

EU officials will hold a meeting on September 11 with transport security experts, including representatives from the UK Home Office and Department for Transport, in response to the attack. … Full article

Hawaii Sees 10 Fold Increase in Birth Defects After Becoming GM Corn Testing Grounds

By Jay Syrmopoulos | The Free Thought Project | August 24, 2015

Waimea, HI – Doctors are sounding the alarm after noticing a disturbing trend happening in Waimea, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Over the past five years, the number of severe heart malformations has risen to more than ten times the national rate, according to an analysis by local physicians.

Pediatrician Carla Nelson, after seeing four of these defects in three years, is extremely concerned with the severe health anomalies manifesting in the local population.

Nelson, as well as a number of other local doctors, find themselves at the center of a growing controversy about whether the substantial increase in severe illness and birth defects in Waimea stem from the main cash crop on four of the six islands, genetically modified corn, which has been altered to resist pesticide.

Hawaii has historically been used as a testing ground for almost all GMO corn grown in the United States. Over 90% of GMO corn grown in the mainland U.S. was first developed in Hawaii, with the island of Kauai having the largest area used. … continue

‘US withholding Chilcot Inquiry docs as they may discourage future wars US is interested in’

Israel’s Thug at the UN

By Jonathan Cook | CounterPunch | August 25, 2015

The appointment by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of one of his most hawkish and outspoken rivals as Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations has prompted widespread consternation.

As one Israeli analyst noted last week, Danny Danon’s appointment amounts to a “cruel joke” on the international community. The new envoy “lacks even the slightest level of finesse and subtlety required of a senior diplomat”.

Last year Netanyahu sacked Danon as deputy defence minister, describing him as too “irresponsible” even by the standards of Israel’s usually anarchic politics. Danon had denounced the prime minister for “leftist feebleness” in his handling of Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer.

Danon is a UN official’s worst nightmare. He is a vocal opponent of a two-state solution and has repeatedly called for the annexation of the West Bank. … continue

Who is doing the saber-rattling in Eastern Europe?

By Vladimir KOZIN | Oriental Review | August 25, 2015

Last week, NATO headquarters announced Exercise Swift Response-15, the largest Allied airborne training event on the European continent since the end of the Cold War. About 5,000 soldiers from 11 countries in the alliance will take part in the maneuvers, which will last until Sept. 13.

This is neither the first nor the last drill to be conducted by NATO, the largest military alliance in the world.

Over the past year and a half, NATO armed forces have almost doubled the number of military exercises they have staged near the Russian border: between 2012 and 2013 they conducted an average of 95 such training events per year, but there have already been 150 so far in 2015, and flights by reconnaissance aircraft along the Russian frontier have increased tenfold.

But in an attempt to unfairly place the blame on Russia for such exercises, the London-based European Leadership Network issued a report on Aug. 12 that uses a flawed methodology to compare one type of exercise held in Russia in 2015 with another kind of military drill organized by NATO this year. Criticism was only leveled at the large number of troops involved in the Russian exercise, because the alliance’s drill was smaller on that scale. The report’s purpose was obvious: to shift the entirety of the West’s own culpability for war preparations in Europe onto the Russians. … continue

MH17 And Other Traps To Avoid

By Christopher Black – New Eastern Outlook – 25.08.2015

The propaganda machine in the west is once again ramping up and spewing out one false claim after another about the shoot down of MH17 last year over eastern Ukraine and each story is more absurd than the one before it. On the 13th of August the British newspaper, mistakenly called The Independent, made the bizarre claim that Russia has “stoked tensions with the West by burning Dutch flowers in what is regarded as a political statement over the investigation into the Malaysian Airlines flight disaster headed by The Netherlands.”

The Independent states that its source for this garbage rests on unnamed “critics” and then goes on to repeat the NATO party line that Russia is trying to block the facts from coming out.

Just two days before this the BBC claimed a leak from the Dutch investigation indicated Russian missile parts were found at the site. However they failed to mention later that Dutch investigators refuted this mysterious leak and stated their investigation did not conclude that at all. Both these stories made sure to repeat that Russia had blocked a UN tribunal from being formed to look into the crash and punish those responsible. … continue

Sexual Identity and American Diplomacy

State Department is hobbled by identity politics

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • August 25, 2015

The pending normalization of full diplomatic relations with Cuba is long overdue and it is to be hoped that the agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program will survive a congressional onslaught next month. That is all to the good and the administration of President Barack Obama deserves full credit for persevering in spite of nearly incessant attacks from the Israeli and Cuban lobbies both in congress and the media.

But even as the dust begins to settle the New York Times is reporting on a new existential crisis: same-sex marriages in the Foreign Service explored in an article entitled “State Department Fights for Rights of Gay Envoys.” Not that the Gray Lady is opposed to same-sex marriages for diplomats, quite the contrary. Its concern is that many highly qualified diplomats are turning down assignments because some benighted countries do not recognize same-sex unions and therefore do not accept that a man plus man or woman plus woman relationship actually qualifies as a diplomatic family. Which means that some Foreign Ministries are denying visas or accreditation for same-sex spouses. Worse still, as many countries regard homosexual behavior as a criminal offense, it suggests the possibility that some categories of Embassy and Consular family members not covered by full diplomatic immunity might find themselves arrested.

The Obama Administration is predictably outraged and is reported to be frantically working on the problem with the State Department making “securing the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people around the world a priority” … continue

Lebanon’s Future is on the Line, and It Directly Affects Syria

By Andrew Korybko – Sputnik – 24.08.2015

Protests about the lack of proper city sanitation services have quickly escalated into full-blown calls for regime change.

Lebanese protesters demonstrated in Beirut this weekend as part of the “You Stink” movement, which was organized by citizens fed up with the garbage that had been piling up in their streets for weeks.

What began as an expression of legitimate grievances, however, quickly spiraled into the world’s latest Color Revolution attempt.

Some radical youth started throwing rocks and petrol bombs at police officers (uncannily reminiscent of the earlier hijacking of the peaceful-intentioned “Electric Yerevan” protests), which resulted in a forceful counter-response that was then immediately used to ‘justify’ the movement’s transformation into one of open regime change ends.

The thing is, however, Lebanon doesn’t really have a functioning government to begin with, having been without a President for over a year. If the Prime Minister steps down as he threatened to do, then it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis that might bring the formerly civil war-torn and multi-confessional state back to the brink of domestic conflict.

Any significant destabilization in Lebanon is bound to have a serious impact on Syria, which would be put in a difficult position by the potential cutoff of the strategic Beirut-to-Damascus highway and the possible redeployment of valuable Hezbollah fighters back to their homeland. … continue

‘Unacceptable’: Lavrov blasts Biden idea on splitting Iraq into parts

RT | August 24, 2015

The idea of partition for Iraq would never be agreed by Moscow, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said, stressing that this kind of ‘state structure manipulation’ is obsolete and Iraqis should define the future of their country themselves.

“We would never adopt a position voiced without any constraint by US Vice President Joe Biden, who said directly that Iraq should be split into Shia and Sunni parts and that the Kurds should be given what they want,” Lavrov told the participants of the youth forum ‘Territory of meanings’ near Moscow.

Lavrov labeled Biden’s position as “highly irresponsible and what’s more important – unacceptable,” because someone from overseas is lecturing Iraqi people on what to do with their country.

“We won’t commit to such things, telling Sunnis to get out today and urging Shia to move on next time. This is ‘social engineering,’ state structure manipulation from far outside,” Lavrov said, stressing that the destructiveness of such a plan is obvious.

“We believe that Iraqis – Shia, Sunnis and Kurds – should decide for themselves how to live together,” said the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry. … continue

New York Times is Crimea Tourism News for Dummies

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 24.08.2015

A post by the New York Times this week, is a woeful reminder what poor losers Americans can be. Have a read here, and discover how low publisher Arthur Sulzberger’s newspaper has sunk. The latest formed and fashioned feature against Mr. Putin, it is a crummy bit of journalistic license entitled, “Russia’s Pitch to Vacationers: Crimea Is for Patriots.” … continue

As Gaza Lies in Ruins, The NY Times Blames the Victims

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | August 24, 2015

Israel’s attacks on Gaza ended a year ago, but the strip remains an expanse of rubble and devastation. Who’s to blame for this outrage? The New York Times has an answer: everyone but Israel.

Jodi Rudoren comes up with this response in a story that aims to whitewash Israel’s brutal treatment of Gaza by blaming the Palestinian victims along with the international community for the lack of rebuilding. It is all summed up in the story’s subhead, “Political Infighting and Lack of Funds Stymie a Reconstruction Mechanism.”

Her article takes pains to present the process as a collaborative project between the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the United Nations, and she is hazy about Israel’s role, describing it as nothing more than “involvement in approving projects and participants.” … continue

Lawsuit: US taxpayer dollars fund ‘Jewish terror’ against Palestinians

Press TV – August 25, 2015

price_tagA rights organization has filed a complaint in the United States against an Israeli group for using US taxpayer money to sponsor “Jewish terrorism” against Palestinians.

In the lawsuit, T’ruah, The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, asked the New York state Attorney General’s Office to investigate Honenu, a New York-based Israeli nonprofit organization that provides financial support to Jewish settlers convicted of or on trial for violence against Palestinians.

The complaint also names Honenu’s fiscal sponsor, the Central Fund of Israel, according to Israeli media.

Since 2003, Honenu has operated a fundraising program in the state of New York. The tax-exempt Israeli organization raised $233,700 in 2010, the last year for which official data is available, according to tax filings.

Israeli media say Honenu’s budget for 2013 was approximately $600,000. … continue

Israeli forces demolish two houses in East Jerusalem

Ma’an | August 25, 2015

JERUSALEM – Israeli forces on Tuesday demolished two homes under construction in Jabal al-Mukabir south of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem, the owners said.

They told Ma’an that Israeli forces, Israeli municipal officers and bulldozers raided the al-Muroj area of Jabal al-Mukabir early Tuesday.

They reportedly closed the village’s main streets before demolishing two houses belonging to Muhammad and Khalid al-Abbasi.

Muhammad al-Abbasi said that the houses were demolished without prior warning. He said that the houses measured 140 and 120 square meters and were nearly complete.

“The family was supposed to move into the houses next week,” he said. … Full article

US judge orders Palestinian deposits over attacks

AFP | August 25, 2015

NEW YORK – A US judge Monday ordered Palestinian authorities to post $10 million in cash or bond while they appeal a ruling to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to American victims of attacks.

Judge George Daniels said the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization must also deposit $1 million every 30 days, pending appeal of the February verdict.

A New York jury found the PA and PLO liable for six attacks in Jerusalem between 2002-2004, awarding American victims and their families damages that amounted to $655.5 million.

Daniels said the judgment in favor of the plaintiffs would be entered in the next 60 days, but would be stayed pending appeal as long as the deposits were made with the clerk of the court. … continue

August – 2015

July – 2015


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