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Kansas Teacher Barred from Employment for Supporting BDS

By Stephen Lendman | October 18, 2017

Barring longtime math teacher Esther Koontz from renewing her teaching contract, solely for her political beliefs, is a flagrant First Amendment violation.

She righteously supports BDS activism, wanting Israel held accountable for its high crimes against Palestinians.

Kansas House Bill 2409 prohibits state contracts with individuals critical of Israel’s agenda. In NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982), the Supreme Court unanimously ruled for the plaintiff against state authorities, cracking down on boycotts of white businesses, saying authority over economic relations doesn’t limit or deny political speech.

Koontz is a member of the Mennonite Church USA. In July, it voted to divest from US companies, profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation.

She supports Palestinian rights. Her employment papers require a declaration in writing of no support for BDS. She declined and was denied the right to train other teachers.

The Kansas law is unconstitutional. The ACLU supports Koontz. Last week on its web site, she headlined “Kansas Won’t Let Me Train Math Teachers Because I Boycott Israel,” … continue

Canada passes US-style sanctions bill targeting ‘corrupt’ Russian officials

RT | October 18, 2017

The Canadian Senate has passed Bill S-226, known as the Sergei Magnitsky Law, mirroring similar US legislation. Moscow has repeatedly slammed the bill as a violation of international law and vowed to respond.

Although the bill, titled “Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law),” envisions imposing sanctions on any foreign national, not only on Russians, it mentions exclusively the high-profile cases linked to Russia in its preamble.

Among them is the death of Sergei Magnitsky in a pre-trial detention facility in 2009. Magnitsky was a tax accountant employed by the US-British investor Bill Browder, who was accused by the Russian authorities of orchestrating large-scale tax evasion and embezzling hundreds of millions of rubles from the Russian budget. The lawyer was a prime suspect in the investigation. Browder, however, insisted that Magnitsky fell victim to persecution and torture by the Russian penitentiary system after he allegedly uncovered corruption crimes by Russian tax officials. As result of a three-year lobbying campaign, spearheaded by Browder, in 2012 the US Senate approved the so-called Magnitsky Act, allowing the US to freeze the assets of, and bar entry to, Russians accused of human rights violations. The bill has soured relations between Washington and Moscow. … continue

Facespook! Social media giant becomes arm of US intel

By Finian Cunningham | RT | October 18, 2017

Facebook, the world’s top social media platform, is reportedly seeking to hire hundreds of employees with US national security clearance licenses.

Purportedly with the aim of weeding out “fake news” and “foreign meddling” in elections.

If that plan, reported by Bloomberg, sounds sinister, that’s because it is. For what it means is that people who share the same worldview as US intelligence agencies, the agencies who formulate classified information, will have a direct bearing on what millions of consumers on Facebook are permitted to access.

It’s as close to outright US government censorship on the internet as one can dare to imagine, and this on a nominally independent global communication network. Your fun-loving place “where friends meet.” … continue

UK spies using social media data for mass surveillance

By Natasha Lomas | TechCrunch | October 17, 2017

Privacy rights group Privacy International says it has obtained evidence for the first time that UK spy agencies are collecting social media information on potentially millions of people.

It has also obtained letters it says show the intelligence agencies’ oversight body had not been informed that UK intelligence agencies had shared bulk databases of personal data with foreign governments, law enforcement and industry — raising concerns about effective oversight of the mass surveillance programs. … continue

Colombian Social Leader Assasinated Weeks After 7 Campesinos Were Killed

teleSUR | October 17, 2017

A Colombian social leader, Jose Jair Cortes, was murdered in a rural area of Tumaco municipality located in the southwest department of Narino.

Jair Cortes, a member of the local council of the Alto Mira and Frontera Community, was killed in a sector called Y, located in the heart of the city of Tumaco. The social leader was one of seven community leaders to receive death threats in recent months.

The governor of Narino, Camilo Romero Galeano, denounced the murder that occurred just weeks after a massacre that left seven people dead in the village of El Tandil, in the same municipality. … continue

Secret trials of thousands of Boko Haram suspects to start in Nigeria

By Jason Burke | The Dawn News | October 9, 2017

More than 2,300 suspected Islamist militants are expected to appear in court in Nigeria from Monday in an unprecedented series of mass trials that local authorities hope will be seen as evidence of progress in the fight against Boko Haram, one of Africa’s most resilient insurgencies.

All the defendants have been detained since Boko Haram, which means “no to western education”, launched its campaign eight years ago.

The conflict has left at least 20,000 dead in the country’s remote north-east and destabilised a swath of west Africa, displacing millions of people.

But analysts say the trials – which will be held in secret and will see four judges deal with hundreds of cases each – raise serious concerns and could undermine the fight against the group.

“Does the judiciary have the capacity to give so many people charged with very serious offences a fair trial? Have the authorities really captured a quarter of their combat strength? Are they taking into account the fact that a lot of those who committed violence for Boko Haram did so under duress? All these are red flags and very concerning in terms of the broader strategy,” said Ryan Cummings, a South Africa-based expert.

No media reporting of the hearings, which will be held in military facilities, is to be allowed. Umar Ado, a defence lawyer based in Kano, Nigeria’s largest northern city, said that was “as good as denying the public the right to know how the trial is carried out”. He added: “It sends the wrong signal that justice is not served or the process is compromised.” … Full article

U.S. Troop Deaths in Niger: AFRICOM’s Chickens Come Home to Roost

By Mark P. Fancher | Black Agenda Report | October 18, 2017

From the outset, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has incorrectly presumed the stupidity of Africans and others who are concerned about the continent. To answer accusations that the U.S. uses its military to ensure continuing imperialist domination of Africa, AFRICOM has stubbornly insisted that its sole objectives are to advise and support the armies of African government “partners” and to provide humanitarian assistance. But we know the truth to be otherwise.

U.S. Army General Donald Bolduc shamelessly told NBC News: “America is not at war in Africa. But its partner forces are.” But even a soldier can recognize the farce. Former Green Beret Derek Gannon said: “[U.S. military involvement in Africa] is called Low Intensity Irregular Warfare, yet technically it’s not considered war by the Pentagon. But warfare is warfare to me.” … continue

Mogadishu bomber was a former Somalia army soldier

MEMO | October 18, 2017

The bomber responsible for killing more than 300 people in Mogadishu on Saturday was a former Somali soldier whose home town was raided by the United States, the Guardian revealed in a special investigative report yesterday.

Investigators believe the attack last Saturday may have been motivated by revenge over a US and Somali counter-terrorism raid that killed scores of civilians in August.

Ten civilians were killed in the raid, including three children aged between six and ten. The civilians attempted to flee the raid but were shot and killed.

US-led forces conducted the raid in the town of Bariire, lower Shebelle region, in search of Al-Shabaab fighters… Full article

Israeli occupation forces Carry out Raids on Palestinian Media Firms

Al-Manar | October 18, 2017

Israeli occupation forces raided Palestinian media offices across the occupied West Bank overnight in what a military spokeswoman on Wednesday called a “large-scale operation” against “incitement.”

The raids on eight companies came hours after the Israeli government declared that it would not deal with an emerging Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas unless the resistance movement made radical changes.

Israeli officials said the raids targeted companies that provide services to Hamas television stations. Notices were posted saying the companies were to be closed for six months.

“Israeli army forces last night raided eight Palestinian production and media companies that provide services to Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds TV channels,” the head of an Israeli defense ministry unit known as COGAT, Yoav Mordechai, wrote on Facebook, referring to Hamas channels. … continue

Balfour 100: Celebrating 100 Years of Injustice and Oppression

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | October 18, 2017

On 7 November, in London’s famous Royal Albert Hall, there’s to be “a unique event drawing Christians and Jews together in celebration of the centenary of the Balfour Declaration and all that it led to.”

Christians will be reaching out to support the Jewish community and the state of Israel, or so the organisers claim.

Our vision to stage such a big event at the Royal Albert Hall is ambitious and we recognise our reliance on God to enable every aspect of it.The evening’s programme will follow the history of God’s work through the Balfour Declaration that culminated in the independence of the modern state of Israel. We will use dance, film, song and drama sketches to illustrate how God used both Christians and Jews to fulfil the prophesied return of the Jewish people from exile to their ancient biblical homeland Israel,” says the blurb.continue

Who’s Afraid of Conspiracy Theory?

By Tim Hayward | October 18, 2017

‘Conspiracy theory’ is frequently used as a derogatory term, a term of disdain and implicit criticism. An effect of this is to discourage certain kinds of legitimate critical inquiry. But surely, in a world where conspiracies happen, we need good theories of what exactly is happening. The only people who really have anything to worry about from conspiracy theories are conspirators who stand to be exposed by them. For the rest of us, if someone proposes a far-fetched theory, we are instinctively sceptical; if they propose a theory that accounts for some otherwise unaccountable occurrences, they may be helping us learn something.

Of course, people can sometimes be misled by conspiracy theories, but people are misled by the beliefs that conspiracy theories challenge too. This betokens a need for careful scrutiny of controversial contentions quite generally. Obviously, a conspiracy theory is only a theory unless there is also proof. But it is one thing to demand the truth of a theory be proven; it is quite another to pronounce that such a theory can never be accepted as true. Unfortunately, even academic critics fail to observe that clear distinction, with some of them going so far as to condemn conspiracy theories in general, pre-emptively.[1]

Yet what are denigrated as ‘conspiracy theories’ are quite often legitimate lines of inquiry pursued in a spirit of critical citizenship, with the aim of holding to account those who exercise otherwise unaccountable power and influence over our lives, including in ways we are not all always aware of. … continue

Looming Hypersonic Arms Race: Unaddressed Problem

By Andrei AKULOV | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.10.2017

The US programs to create hypervelocity strike systems in combination with ballistic missile defense plans are elements of strategic first strike capability, said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Alexander Yemelyanov on October 12 during the Russian-Chinese briefing on the sidelines of the first committee of the UN General Assembly.

Prompt Global Strike (PGS) is a United States military effort to develop a system that can deliver a precision-guided conventional weapon airstrike anywhere in the world within one hour. Today, there is no such system in the US inventory but technological advancements have made the notion of gliders and air-breathing vehicles flying at Mach 5 or faster significantly viable. The effort includes the X-15 rocket plane, the Boeing X-51 scramjet, the Hypersonic open Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) program, the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), and the Tactical Boost Glide (TBG). In July, the US and Australia concluded secret hypersonic flight series, which involved a Mach-busting missile flying eight times the speed of sound.

According to The Drive, in May 2017, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hired Boeing to build what will likely be a solely rocket-powered hypersonic, reusable spacecraft, known as the XS-1. The Pentagon wants to test this design as a way of rapidly putting satellites into orbit, with an eye toward other roles in the future. The US military’s goal is a space plane that can fly 10 missions in as many days while carrying a 3,000 pound load. … continue

Russia calls on US to expedite destruction of its chemical weapons

RT | October 18, 2017

A senior Russian diplomat has urged the US and other nations to follow Russia’s example and decommission their chemical arsenals.

“We have inherited the world’s largest arsenal of such weapons of mass destruction, and we carried out a plan for its elimination in good faith,” said Vladimir Yermakov, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Weapons Control and Non-Proliferation.

Speaking before a session of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the diplomat reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to honoring its obligations under international agreements.

“We call upon all nations that still possess chemical weapons to immediately follow Russia’s example,” said Yermakov.

“This concerns primarily the state that had initiated the convention and has always been the promoter of its ideas and now for some reason remains the owner of the largest stocks of chemical weapons,” he added, apparently referring to the US.

He also expressed bewilderment at the fact that the US, while possessing the world’s largest chemical-weapons arsenal, had attempted “to cast a shadow on the great achievements of other countries, such as Syria.” … Full article

Bahrain signs $3.8bn F-16 fighter jet deal with US

Press TV – October 18, 2017

Bahrain has concluded a $3.8-billion deal with a US aerospace and military equipment giant to purchase 16 upgraded F-16 fighter jets.

The Bahrain Defense Force announced on Monday it signed the agreement with Lockheed Martin during a military exhibition in the Persian Gulf sheikhdom, AFP reported.

The State Department had informed Congress in March that it planned to approve a request by Manama to purchase the fighter jets.

The US multi-billion dollar arms deal with Bahrain, which is home to America’s Fifth Fleet, comes as US President Donald Trump has eased restrictions on arms sales to certain countries including Bahrain.

In September, Reuters cited an unidentified US official as saying that the $3.8-billion agreement was a package arms deal, which included 19 F-16 fighter jets, upgrades, 35-meter patrol boats equipped with machine guns, and 221 anti-tank missiles. … Full article

Iran: Israel cannot be allowed to target Syria at will

Press TV – October 18, 2017

The chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces says Israel cannot be allowed to violate Syrian territory at will.

“It is not acceptable for the Zionist regime (Israel) to violate Syria via land or air whenever it pleases,” Major General Mohammad Baqeri said in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Wednesday.

He was speaking alongside Chief of the General Staff of the Syrian Arab Army General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub.

The Israeli military conducts strikes against Syria-based targets on a regular basis, most of the time claiming that it hits convoys destined for the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah. Hezbollah fighters have been assisting the Syrian army in its fight against Takfiri militants.

Israel has been offering medical treatment to the extremist militants wounded on the battlefields in Syria in field hospitals in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

On a request from Damascus, Iran has been offering the Syrian government advisory military support against the foreign-backed militancy that started in the country in 2011.

In his Wednesday remarks, Major General Baqeri said he was in Syria to declare that Tehran is by Damascus’ side in the fight against terror.

“The Islamic Republic considers respect for the regional countries’ territorial integrity to be a principle,” Baqeri said. “We believe that whenever a country should seek to conduct military operations inside another one, it should do so while respecting that country’s territorial integrity and at its invitation.”

‘Turkish forces unwelcome’

General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub said for his part that the contingents of Turkish forces deployed to Syria are there illegally. He said the Turkish forces are not in Syria according to a deal reached on de-escalation zones in a peace process in the Kazakh capital of Astana — unlike what Ankara has said.

He said the Turkish military presence in Syria was also against international law and norms and Syria was “entitled to confront the Turkish forces on our soil in whatever fashion [that we deem necessary].” … Full article

Israel Is Hiding the Fact that Its State of the Art F-35 Warplane Was Hit by Syrian S-200 Missile – Reports

South Front | October 17, 2017

… A few hours after the missile incident with Syria, the Israeli media reported that the Israeli Air Force’s F-35 stealth multirole fighter went unserviceable as a result of an alleged bird collision during a training flight.

The incident allegedly took place “two weeks ago” but was publicly reported only on October 16. However, Israeli sources were not able to show a photo of the F-35 warplane after the “bird collision”.

Furthermore, it is not clear if the F-35 can become operational again because its stealth coating was damaged. Thus, according to the Israeli version, the warplane reportedly became no longer operational after the bird collision despite the fact that the F-35 earlier passed the bird strike certification with great results (official info here). The F-35 is the world’s most expensive warplane. The price of developing the F-35 is now about $406.5 billion. … Read full article

‘Permanent War Economy’: EU Defense Policy ‘Outsourced’ to Arms Industry

Sputnik – October 17, 2107

A report issued by Belgian campaign group Vredesactie (Peace Action) has documented how Europe’s defense industry played a pivotal role in the development of military strategies, with plans closely modeled on proposals made by major arms firms.

In 2016, the European Union took an unprecedented step, setting up the Preparatory Action on Defense Research — a military program worth US$1.05 billion — and proposing the establishment of a European Defense Fund, which allocates almost US$50 billion to the research, development and procurement of weapons over 10 years. While civil society, the academic world, and the European Parliament, were almost entirely excluded from policy discussions, the European arms industry left a “heavy footprint” in negotiations.

​In essence, as the militarization of the 28-member bloc has accelerated rapidly, the arms industry has had access to every stage of decision-making processes, from setting agendas to drawing up the provisions of various action plans, Vredesactie has found.

“Rather than a reflection of what security means and how to ensure it, the European strategy is dominated by developing and selling new capabilities. Supporting the defense industry has become a goal in itself. Meanwhile, actual security challenges remain unanswered and mistakes from past policy choices perpetuated, at a high cost,” the report stated. … continue

Busting Upward the Military Budget

By Ivan Eland | Consortium News | October 17, 2017

Although the Senate and House of Representatives have both passed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018 at the gargantuan sum of $700 billion, most of the largesse has little to do with defending the United States and much to do with policing the informal American overseas empire. Thus, at least some trimming to the huge amount is possible. … continue

Fraud, Exploitation and Collusion: America’s Pharmaceutical Industry

By Charles Hutgh Smith | Of Two Minds | October 17, 2017

… What other industry can routinely kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and suffer no blowback? Only recently has the toll of needless deaths from the opioid pandemic finally roused a comatose corporate media and bought-and-paid-for, see-no-evil Congress to wonder if maybe there should be some limits placed on Big Pharma and its drug distributors.

The Drug Industry’s Triumph Over the DEA

Explosive ’60 Minutes’ investigation finds Congress and drug companies worked to cripple DEA’s ability to fight opioid abuse

What other industry can raise prices any time it wants because, well, it can? Longtime correspondent/physician J.F. recently submitted a chart of medication price increases (below)–nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual because we can price increases.

What other industry has such complete control over the federal government? Dr. J.F. reminded me that the law enacting Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage specifically prohibits the U.S. government from negotiating lower prices on the immense volume of medications it purchases through Medicare (not to mention the Medicaid and Veterans Administration programs).

J.F. also submitted this investigative report from CNN, The little red pill being pushed on the elderly.

Here’s the money-shot:

“The combination of two generic drugs that makes up Nuedexta — a cough suppressant and heart medication — was once available from specialty pharmacists willing to combine the ingredients for less than $1 a pill, according to a US Senate report on rising prescription drug prices. Now the FDA-approved medication costs as much as $12.60 a pill.”

If this isn’t fraud, exploitation and collusion, then what is it? Please don’t say “good old free-market capitalism,” because competition is nowhere in sight.

The pharmaceutical industry is a crony-capitalist cartel that buys whatever political influence it requires to maintain its power and profits. Isn’t it obvious? Or have we become so distracted and drugged that we no longer care?

Ho-hum, just another 20 times the rate of inflation increase in medication prices by Big Pharma: nothing to see here, folks, just move along and take your meds… Full article

International Electoral Observers Validate Venezuela Regional Vote as US, France Reject Results

By Lucas Koerner | Venezuelanalysis | October 16, 2017

Caracas – The Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA) has confirmed that Sunday’s vote in Venezuelan gubernatorial elections was clean and transparent.

“The vote took place peacefully and without problems… the vote reflects the will of [Venezuelan] citizens,” declared CEELA President Nicanor Moscoso during a press conference Monday morning.

The CEELA delegation was comprised of 1300 international observers, including former Colombian Electoral Court President Guillermo Reyes, ex-president of the Honduran Supreme Electoral Court, Augusto Aguilar, and former Peruvian electoral magistrate Gastón Soto.

According to the body’s report, the vote was held under conditions of “total normality” and the right to a secret ballot was “guaranteed”. … continue

Cuban missile crisis yields more secrets

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | October 17, 2017

… what still remains less understood is that the crisis in 1962 was not just about the Soviet missile deployment. There was also alongside a full-bodied American agenda of ‘regime change’ in Cuba. Incredibly enough, the Pentagon had drawn up a detailed report on the overthrow of Fidel’s government by a military government headed by a US commander and military governor – something like the American occupation of Japan led by General Douglas MacArthur in September 1945. Proclamation No 1 that was to have been issued, which vested “all powers of government, executive, legislative, and judicial and all jurisdiction in the occupied territory and over its inhabitants” in the hands of the US military governor.  … Read full article

Palestinian youth seized in new attack on Dheisheh refugee camp by so-called “Captain Nidal”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – October 17, 2017

Palestinian youth activist Murad Mousa Alkhmour was seized by Israeli occupation forces who invaded the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem in the early pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, 17 October.

Alkhmour and his family had been repeatedly harassed and threatened by the so-called “Captain Nidal,” the infamous Israeli occupation military commander who has engaged in a reign of terror against the youth of Dheisheh and their families.

Alkhmour, 20, was born on 12 November 1996 and is a student at Al-Ahliya University. He and his family members have been subjected to numerous harassing and threatening phone calls by “Nidal,” whose threats against the youth of Dheisheh have included ones to “make all of you disabled.” … continue

Palestinian mother of 5 sent to Israeli jail without trial

Palestine Information Center – October 17, 2017

AL-KHALIL – The Israeli occupation authorities sentenced the Palestinian woman Khadija al-Raba’i, mother of five children, administratively, with neither charge nor trial.

Prisoner al-Raba’i, aged 30, was transferred from the Israeli HaSharon jail to Ofer court to attend a court hearing. However, the trial did not take place and the detainee was sent to prison without charges.

A court hearing is expected to be held on October 22 to confirm the administrative sentence.

The Israeli occupation forces kidnapped al-Raba’i on October 10, 2017, from her home in al-Khalil’s eastern town of Yatta and stole 30,000 shekels from the building.

Five Palestinian women, among them al-Raba’i, are held administratively in Israeli jails. The list also includes MP Khalida Jarrar, serving a four-month sentence without trial, and the head of Women’s Committees Union, Khitam al-Sa’afeen, sentenced administratively to three months.

Over 84 Palestinian women and girls were kidnapped by the occupation forces since the start of 2017. According to official records, until October month, 58 Palestinian female detainees are held behind Israeli prison bars.

Medical Students at Chile’s Largest University Overwhelmingly Vote for BDS

IMEMC | October 17, 2017

More than three-fourths of students at the University of Chile’s Faculty of Medicine voted to break institutional ties with Israeli universities in a student referendum held last month. They also voted against Israeli government sponsorship or attendance of events at their university.

This is the third such vote to take place at the University of Chile, the country’s largest university. Over the last two years, more than 90% of students at the Faculty of Social Sciences and more than 60% of students at the Faculty of Law also voted in support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) measures.

BDS UChile, the university’s student coalition advocating for BDS, celebrated the victory, saying:

We are celebrating yet another win for the global BDS movement at the University of Chile. After students at the Faculty of Law and students at the Faculty of Social Sciences voted for BDS in 2015 and 2016 respectively, we are very proud that students at the Faculty of Medicine joined in to vote a resounding YES on having a university free of Israeli apartheid.

Before this vote took place, Palestinian medical students sent a video message to Chilean students, highlighting the impact of Israeli apartheid, military occupation and colonialism on their rights to health and education. They emphasized the importance of effective international solidarity through the academic boycott of Israeli universities. … continue

Israeli settlers steal olive harvest from Nablus-area villages

Ma’an – October 17, 2017

NABLUS – Israeli settlers from the illegal Havat Gilad settlement in the northern occupied West Bank Nablus district allegedly stole the harvest of more than 450 olive trees on Tuesday, according to local sources.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank told Ma’an that Israeli settlers stole the harvest of olive trees belonging to Palestinians from Jit, Surra and Faraata villages in the Nablus area.

Daghlas added that the Palestinians were shocked after arriving to their lands — only after receiving permits from Israeli authorities to access the land and harvest the olives — that their pickings had been stolen by settlers. … Full article

Israeli Navy Attacks Palestinian Fishing Boats, Capsizes One

IMEMC News – October 17, 2017

Israeli navy ships attacked numerous fishing boats, in Palestinian territorial waters in the besieged Gaza Strip, and capsized one of them Tuesday after firing shells and live fire at it.

The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the navy fired many live rounds at fishing boats in the Sudaniyya Sea area, northwest of Gaza City, and sprayed them with heavy concentrations of water, causing serious damage.

The boats were in Palestinian territorial waters, less than four miles from the Gaza shore; the fishers jumped into the water and swam to shore in fear of further navy fire and violations.

The attack came shortly after a similar assault targeting a Palestinian fishing boat, west of the Sudaniyya Sea.

The Israeli navy said it fired shells and live rounds at a Palestinian fishing boat that reportedly “raised suspicions, an issue which pushed it to respond.”

Pro-Palestine posters on Balfour centenary ‘censored’ by London transport authority

RT | October 17, 2017

Transport for London (TfL) has been accused of censorship after refusing to allow campaigners to display posters giving the Palestinian perspective on the Balfour Declaration. The posters were designed to mark the 100th anniversary of the colonial-era document that led to the creation of Israel.

The declaration, signed on November 2, 1917, saw then-foreign secretary Arthur Balfour agree to the establishment of a national home for Jewish people in Palestine. Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian has accused TfL of censorship.

The advertising campaign, called Make It Right, includes images of life before and after 1948, when Palestinians were forced from their homes during the Arab-Israeli war.

At the time, the British Government believed their interests could be served by supporting Zionist ambitions in Palestine.

The Palestine Mission to the UK, the group behind the campaign, was left outraged after TfL said the adverts “did not comply fully with our guidelines.”

They were rejected under Clause 2.3(h) of the guidelines, which refers to campaigns relating to “matters of public controversy or sensitivity.” … continue

Israel demolishes 2 homes in East Jerusalem, displacing Palestinian family of 9

Ma’an – October 17, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Israeli authorities raided the SIlwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, where bulldozers demolished two Palestinian homes under the pretext that they were built without a permit.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli bulldozer escorted by armed forces raided and surrounded the neighborhood, closing all roads to the area before forcing residents of the two homes to evacuate prior to the demolition.

The homes belonged to Murad Abu Rajab and his son Raed. Raed told Ma’an that the two homes were built 14 months ago, and that their was a valid court decision postponing the demolition.

He added that he informed the officer in charge of Tuesday’s demolition of the postponement, but the Jerusalem Municipality crews carried out the demolition anyways.

Raed said that nine family members lived in the two homes.

According to official Palestinian Authority (PA) Wafa news agency, two other homes also slated for demolition in Silwan and the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Issawiya were allegedly “spared at the last minute,” after the homeowners presented Israeli court orders that temporarily prevented the demolitions.

A spokesperson from Israel’s Jerusalem municipality was not immediately available for comment. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory said on their Twitter that a home demolition had been reported in Silwan Tuesday morning.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, they receive a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which also see high approval ratings.

For Jewish Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem’s illegal settlements, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. By contrast, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to contend with a lengthy permit application that can last several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars. … Full article

The Real Reasons Trump is Quitting Unesco

By Jonathan Cook | October 15, 2017

At first glance, the decision last week by the Trump administration, followed immediately by Israel, to quit the United Nation’s cultural agency seems strange. Why penalise a body that promotes clean water, literacy, heritage preservation and women’s rights?

Washington’s claim that the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is biased against Israel obscures the real crimes the agency has committed in US eyes.

The first is that in 2011 Unesco became the first UN agency to accept Palestine as a member. That set the Palestinians on the path to upgrading their status at the General Assembly a year later.

It should be recalled that in 1993, as Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo accords on the White House lawn, the watching world assumed the aim was to create a Palestinian state.

But it seems most US politicians never received that memo. Under pressure from Israel’s powerful lobbyists, the US Congress hurriedly passed legislation to pre-empt the peace process. One such law compels the United States to cancel funding to any UN body that admits the Palestinians.

Six years on, the US is $550 million in arrears and without voting rights at Unesco. Its departure is little more than a formality.

The agency’s second crime relates to its role selecting world heritage sites. That power has proved more than an irritant to Israel and the US. … continue

US politicians propose resolution against UNESCO

MEMO | October 17, 2017

Two Republican politicians have submitted a resolution to Congress condemning UNESCO, days after the US announced that it would be withdrawing from the organisation over its “anti-Israel bias”, according to the Times of Israel.

Senator Ted Cruz and Republican Matt Gaetz authored the resolution last Friday which condemns UNESCO for trying to delegitimise the Jewish state and “recognises and affirms the historical connection of the Jewish people to the ancient and sacred city of Jerusalem”.

Last year, UNESCO voted in favour of a resolution that denied any connection between Al-Aqsa Mosque and Judaism; Israel relies on such a claim in recognising the Muslim holy site as the “Temple Mount”.

“The Jewish people, and the people of Israel, have a deep and ancient connection to the holy city of Jerusalem,” Gaetz claimed. “Yet the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) … is actively trying to rewrite history.”

The proposed resolution also calls on the US to partner with its allies in preventing the group from passing similar measures in the future; a sentiment echoed by US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, after the decision to exit was announced last week, when she warned that other UN agencies could face similar action if they did not reform. … continue

“The Lobby” British Style

An undercover reporter secretly records how the Israeli Embassy directs local groups

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • October 17, 2017

One month ago, I initiated here at Unz.com a discussion of the role of American Jews in the crafting of United States foreign policy. I observed that a politically powerful and well-funded cabal consisting of both Jewish individuals and organizations has been effective at engaging the U.S. in a series of wars in the Middle East and North Africa that benefit only Israel and are, in fact, damaging to actual American interests. This misdirection of policy has not taken place because of some misguided belief that Israeli and U.S. national security interests are identical, which is a canard that is frequently floated in the mainstream media. It is instead a deliberate program that studiously misrepresents facts-on-the ground relating to Israel and its neighbors and creates casus belli involving the United States even when no threat to American vital interests exists. It punishes critics by damaging both their careers and reputations while its cynical manipulation of the media and gross corruption of the national political process has already produced the disastrous war against Iraq, the destruction of Libya and the ongoing chaos in Syria. It now threatens to initiate a catastrophic war with Iran.

To be sure, my observations are neither new nor unique. … continue

Suspected US airstrikes pound southern Somalia

MEMO | October 17, 2017

A suspected United States aircraft targeted Somalia yesterday, Somali Press Online reported.

The airstrikes targeted a key Al-Shabaab controlled town in Somalia’s southern Lower Shabelle region, residents told Somali Press Online. It is not confirmed whether it was a military aircraft or an unmanned drone.

An Al-Shabaab convoy travelling in the outskirts of the region was targeted. The number of casualties as a result of the strike is unknown.

The United States Department of Defence has not released an official statement however it regularly conducts drone strikes in Somalia, killing scores of people.

President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency and the US Military broader authority to target inside Somalia, considering parts of the country “temporary battlefield”.
The US has killed 510 people and injured 54 [in Somalia] since 2007, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an organisation that tracks US drone strikes across the globe.

As Crisis Escalates, Syrian Stance Towards Kurdistan Remains Relatively Amicable

Sputnik – October 17, 2017

… As Turkey and Iran exert more and more pressure on Iraqi Kurdistan to deter domestic Kurdish separatist militants, Syria, which also forms part of the theoretical Kurdish state, has adopted a less hostile approach. Although Syria condemned the Kurdish referendum on independence, it is yet to implement or announce any punitive response, in contrast to Iran, Turkey and Iraq.

Just a single day after the independence referendum, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said his government are willing to hold negotiations with Kurdish forces in Syria to discuss proposals to grant them more autonomy, indicating Syria’s pragmatic approach to addressing growing Kurdish aspirations for autonomy, despite the Kurds’ weakening position.

“This topic [limited Kurdish autonomy in northern Syria] is open to negotiation and discussion and when we are done eliminating Daesh we can sit with our Kurdish counterparts and reach an understanding on a formula for the future,” Syria’s longstanding Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moualem, said.

In the eastern province of Deir ez-Zor, both the Syrian Army and Kurdish-dominated SDF forces are battling Daesh terrorists, seemingly racing to capture strategic oil fields.

However, in spite of the apparent hostility between the SDF and the Syria government, they have maintained strong ties throughout the duration of the ongoing crisis, with reports of the Syrian government and YPG forces continuing with revenue-sharing agreements in the oil sector.

According to these reports, the Syrian government keeps 65% of the revenue, with the YPG taking a 20% cut, and the remainder is paid out to Arab forces defending the oil fields.

In the context of the wider conflict, some Syrian officials don’t view the Kurdish-led SDF as inherently hostile, and to some extent, the Kurds’ seizure of vast swathes of territory in northern Syria has aided the government, as it prevented Islamist militants from gaining additional territory, while also inhibiting the flow of Turkish arms to Islamist militants. – Full article

Syrian endgame is nigh as rival factions look to cut deals

Three cities – Deir ez-Zour, al-Raqqa, and Idlib – will define how the country shapes up post-ISIS, as key players edge towards under-the-table agreements

By Sami Moubayed | Asia Times | October 17, 2017

Over the weekend, Moscow hosted Sipan Hamo, commander of the powerful all-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the last standing US-backed militia on the Syrian battlefield. It was the most senior visit by a Kurdish military official to Moscow since the Russian Army joined the Syrian War in 2015.

Hamo met with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and Chief-of-Staff Valeria Gerasimov to discuss the future of Deir ez-Zour and al-Raqqa, two cities along the Euphrates River which – at time of writing – appear to be in their final hours of control by Islamic State (ISIS).

At the same time, Turkish troops crossed the border into Syria, with the blessing of Russia and Iran, deploying in the northwest city of Idlib, which remains, for now, in the hands of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organization previously known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or Jabhat al-Nusra.

These three cities –Deir ez-Zour, al-Raqqa, and Idlib – will define what the Syrian endgame looks like. Invisible borders are being created around them, outlining each stakeholder’s share of the Syrian patchwork. Contrary to what many presume, very little fighting is now taking place on the streets of Syria, as under-the-table deals are being cut between traditional enemies who, until very recently, were at daggers drawn with each other. … continue

Is War with Iran Now Inevitable?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • October 17, 2017

… We Americans are coming face to face with some new realities.

The people who are going to decide the future of the Middle East are the people who live there. And among these people, the future will be determined by those most willing to fight, bleed and die for years and in considerable numbers to realize that future.

We Americans, however, are not going to send another army to occupy another country, as we did Kuwait in 1991, Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003.

Bashar Assad, his army and air force backed by Vladimir Putin’s air power, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, and Hezbollah won the Syrian civil war because they were more willing to fight and die to win it. And, truth be told, all had far larger stakes there than did we.

We do not live there. Few Americans are aware of what is going on there. Even fewer care.

Our erstwhile allies in the Middle East naturally want us to fight their 21st-century wars, as the Brits got us to help fight their 20th-century wars.

But Donald Trump was not elected to do that. Or so at least some of us thought. – Read full article

US ‘not taking sides’ in Iraqi-Kurdish dispute: Trump

Press TV – October 17, 2017

The United States is not taking sides in an Iraqi-Kurdish dispute, claims President Donald Trump, as Iraqi forces have taken control of the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk.

On Monday, Iraqi forces recaptured military bases, an oil field and other infrastructure held by the Kurdish troops, removed Kurdish flags from top of the government buildings and replaced them with the Iraqi flag.

The Iraqi troops were responding to a recent highly controversial Kurdish referendum on independence with a bold lightning strike that transforms the balance of power in the country.

And the government in Baghdad warned the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) not to take any measure that would cause a crude oil flow disruption from Kirkuk oil fields as Kurdish authorities reportedly shut down some 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production from two major fields in northern Iraq.

The KRG had halted oil production from major fields, Bai Hassan and Avana, due to security concerns after a rise in tensions with the central government, prompting Baghdad to issue a stern warning to the Kurdish leaders to stop disrupting the oil flow from the oil fields.

Speaking at a news conference at the White House on Monday, Trump expressed disappointment the two sides were fighting.

“We don’t like the fact that they’re clashing. We’re not taking sides,” he said. […]

Kirkuk is not one of the three provinces that have made up the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Region since 2003. However, Kurdish militants used a vacuum created when government troops were fighting against Daesh terrorists to overtake city of Kirkuk. … Full article

McCain Warns of ‘Severe Consequences’ for Iraq Over Baghdad’s Clashes With Kurds

Sputnik – 16.10.2017

WASHINGTON – US Senator John McCain has commented on the recent situation around Kirkuk in northern Iraq after clashes between the government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga troops earlier this day.

The government of Iraq will face serious consequences if it continues to use military equipment provided by the United States to Kurdish Peshmerga troops, US Senator John McCain said in a press release on Monday.

“The United States provided equipment and training to the government of Iraq to fight ISIS [Daesh]… not to attack elements of one of its own regional governments,” McCain stated following reports of clashes between Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq. “[T]here will be severe consequences if we continue to see American equipment misused in this way.”

McCain said in the release he was greatly concerns about the Iraqi army’s advances and the participation of Iranian militants in the attack.

Moreover, the US senator underscored that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the Kurdish Regional Government should begin talks about Kurdish independence from Iraq at an appropriate time. … Full article

Hillary Clinton Calls Alleged Russian Interference in Election ‘Cyber 9/11’

Sputnik – 16.10.2017

Former US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has referred to the alleged interference of Russian actors into the 2016 election that she lost to Donald Trump as a “cyber 9/11.”

In an interview with BuzzFeed News (whose most significant contribution to Russia Gate was publishing a dossier filled with scandalous and uncorroborated claims of Trump watching Russian sex workers pee on beds,) Hillary compared the alleged hacking to a savage terrorist attack that killed thousands of civilians.

“We had really well-respected security, intelligence veterans saying this was a cyber 9/11, in the sense it was a direct attack on our institutions,” said Clinton. “That may sound dramatic, but we know that they probed and tried to intrude into election systems — not just the social media propaganda part of their campaign.”

She didn’t explain how this interference, if it’s even real, was somehow comparable to the fiery and tragic deaths of thousands of innocent people.

The “election systems” comment is a seeming reference to the FBI warning 21 states that “bad actors” may be targeting their election systems prior to the election. Several states performed independent investigations and found no evidence of tampering with their voting systems. Four states reported that someone stole the information of some of their voters — but did not change or manipulate any data. … continue

Chavistas Take 17 of 23 States in Venezuelan Regional Elections as Opposition Cries Fraud

By Lucas Koerner – Venezuelanalysis – October 16, 2017

Caracas – President Nicolás Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won 17 of 23 states in Sunday’s gubernatorial elections, the National Electoral Council (CNE) has confirmed.

According to CNE President Tibisay Lucena, 61.14 percent of Venezuela’s eighteen-million-strong electorate came out to vote, marking a record participation in the country’s regional elections, second only to the 65.45 percent turnout in 2008.

The result defied forecasts of high abstention fueled by the current economic crisis as well as polls showing dissatisfaction with the leadership of both the government and political opposition. … continue

Extremists Attempt to Burn Hebron Mosque

IMEMC News & Agencies | October 16, 2017

Israeli settlers tried, on Sunday at dawn, to set fie to Eltona Mosque in Moshafer Yatta, south of Hebron governorate, occupied West Bank.

Local sources reported, according to Al Ray, that residents of nearby Ma’on settlement stormed, at dawn, the village mosque and tried to burn it before Palestinian residents discovered them.

They added that Israeli forces interfered and protected the setters by throwing gas, and sound bombs towards the residents.

Hundreds of Settlers Riot In Old City Jerusalem

IMEMC News & Agencies | October 16, 2017

A Palestinian shop owner was hospitalized after hundreds of extremist Israeli settlers rioted in the Jerusalem’s Old City, an eyewitness told mass media.

Approximately 400 extremist Jewish-Israeli settlers marched through the Old City from Al-Buraq Wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque towards the Damascus Gate, an eyewitness said, according to Days of Palestine.

While they were walking, the extremists were shouting, beating the doors of houses and shops, throwing rocks and smashing car windows.

As they approached Damascus Gate, they stormed an open shop and attacked the shop’s Palestinian owner, who was taken to Hadassah University Hospital to be treated for his wounds.

Later on, about 20 Israeli police officers arrived at the scene and escorted the rioters out of the Old City.

However, no arrests were made. Police issued a statement, on Thursday morning, saying that there had been a fight between two groups of youth.

Police confirmed that an investigation had been opened into the incident, and that damage had been caused to a shop and a number of motor vehicles. … Full article

Bahraini officials bar rights activist from leaving country

Press TV – October 16, 2017

Bahraini authorities have prevented a human rights activist from traveling abroad in the latest restrictions imposed by the ruling Al Khalifah regime on pro-democracy campaigners and political dissidents in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

Zainab al-Khamees, a member of the Bahrain Human Rights Society, was stopped at Bahrain International Airport on Monday. The authorities did not provide any reason for the restrictive measure, Arabic-language Lualua television network reported.

This is the fourth time that Bahraini officials have not allowed Khamees to leave the country.

On September 6, the human rights advocate was interrogated at the General Prosecution in Manama.

She was denied the right to have her attorney present during the session and accused of attending an anti-regime protest. Khamees and her attorney were also denied a case number for legal reference.

On November 9, 2016, the deputy secretary general of the European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights, Fatima al-Halwaji, was barred from leaving Bahrain. Officials informed her that she could not travel abroad based on an order issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Lualua reported.

The order read that Halwaji had been slapped with a travel ban on charges of “spreading false news through social media networks.” … Full article

DEA, Congress complicit in US opioid epidemic – whistleblowers

RT | October 16, 2017

The US Drug Enforcement Administration ‘shut off’ investigations into large distributors of addictive opioid pills, while a new law made it nearly impossible to prosecute them, the agency’s former employees said.

During the Obama administration, the drug industry used their money and influence to pressure top lawyers at the DEA to take a softer approach to investigating large distributors of opioid pills, even when there was ample evidence of suspicious dealings, Joe Rannazzisi, former head of the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, told CBS’ 60 Minutes program.

Rannazzisi accused America’s largest painkiller distributors, including Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, of “knowingly” turning a blind eye to the addictive pills being diverted to illicit use.

Former attorney at the DEA Jonathan Novak told CBS that in 2013 he also noticed a sea change in the way prosecutions of big distributors were handled, as his supervisors turned down cases they would have once easily approved. The DEA operates under the Department of Justice. … continue

Tossing bribery charges against Sen. Menendez to ‘decriminalize corruption’

Press TV – October 16, 2017

Prosecutors warn that tossing bribery charges against US Senator Robert Menendez – as being considered by a federal judge—would “decriminalize corruption” and “jettison the vast majority of bribery prosecutions.”

US District Judge William Walls suggested last week that the Justice Department’s bribery charges against Menendez may not move forward based on his reading of a 2016 Supreme Court opinion overturning the conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell had been convicted of corruption charges for taking gifts from a businessman in exchange for arranging a meeting between him and state officials.

In that ruling, the top court invalidated the “stream of benefits” theory of bribery that prosecutors have used to make legal cases against Menendez and other public officials. … continue

Joint US and South Korean Navy Drills Kick Off Around the Korean Peninsula

Sputnik – 16.10.2017

Joint week-long navy drills of the US and South Korean fleets have kicked off. About 40 vessels, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, are taking part in maneuvers in the waters around the Korean Peninsula.

The naval drills are aimed at exercising a possible strike against the key military sites of Pyongyang in case of an emergency situation on the Korean peninsula, the YTN TV channel said on Monday

US submarines USS Tucson and USS Michigan are also currently in the ports of South Korea, the media said.

On Thursday, the US 7th Fleet issued a statement, saying that US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Stethem and USS Mustin will also take part in the drills. … Full article

Locals told to not mind armed men as 3,500 troops take part in ‘Silver Arrow’ NATO drills in Latvia

RT | October 16, 2017

More than 3,500 troops from countries ranging from Albania to the US, UK, and Germany are taking part in Latvia’s two-week NATO Silver Arrow drills. The exercises will partly take place on private land.

The aim of the exercises is to “boost the interoperability of National Armed Forces and the Allied troops,” the Latvian Defense Ministry said, adding that another goal was to conduct “integrated joint planning, defense operation and combat support element training.”

The exercises initially began as national drills, but in 2014, “numerous Allied and partner countries decided to join the exercise and it became multinational,” the ministry said on its website.

Soldiers from Spain, Poland, Slovenia, Albania, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, and Canada will be taking part in the drills through October 29. Around 200 guardsmen and 30 reserve troops from Latvia will also participate, LETA news agency reported.

The drills will take place across private land in agreement with landowners, with members of the public asked to remain calm and cooperate if they come across personnel and equipment on the move, lsm.lv news outlet reported. … Full article

Okinawa’s Parliament Bans US Aircraft Flights Over Private Property – Reports

Sputnik – October 16, 2017

The parliament of Japan’s Okinawa prefecture on Monday adopted a resolution demanding the US armed forces to stop using helicopter landing strips in the Takae district of Higashi village and cease flights of US aircraft over private property and water resources across the whole prefecture following the recent accident involving a US helicopter, local media reported.

On Wednesday, a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter made an emergency landing after bursting into flames in midair over Okinawa. Local media reported that the helicopter landed in a private yard and only 400 meters (1,300 feet) away from the Fukuji Dam, which plays a crucial role in water supply in the prefecture.

According to the Okinawa Times newspaper, Okinawa’s lawmakers stressed that the central government mulled the construction of six landing strips next to the Higashi village despite protests of the local residents, which lead to the intensification of military drills in the area and resulted in the latest accident.

“The prefecture’s residents who should unavoidably coexist with military bases were strongly shocked, their fear and anxiety are immeasurable … This is the situation in which we are compelled to point out inadequacy of the security management of the US army,” the lawmakers stressed, as quoted by the newspaper.

The newspaper added that the resolution would be sent to the US government and US troop commanders, while the relevant notices would be submitted to the Japanese prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister and other key members of the cabinet. … Full article

Trump’s New Strategy on Iran Embraces “Israel-First”, “Saudi-Second” and “America-Last” Perspective

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | October 16, 2017

President Donald Trump’s move to decertify the Iranian nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), entered into a little over two years ago, was applauded by Israel, Saudi Arabia and a couple of Persian Gulf States, but by no one else. Quite the contrary, as the European and Asian co-signatories on the agreement, having failed to dissuade Trump, have clearly indicated that they will continue to abide by it. Also, the decision to kick the can down the road by giving Congress 60 days to increase pressure on Tehran in an attempt to include other issues beyond nuclear development like its ballistic missile program and labeling the country’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group are likely to create confusion as Washington is unable to communicate directly with Iran. That uncertainty could possibly lead to a fraught-with-danger Iranian decision to withdraw completely from the agreement.

The Trump speech could reasonably be described as embracing an “Israel-First” and “Saudi-Second” perspective that might plausibly suggest that it was actually drafted by their respective foreign ministries. Contrary to Trump’s campaign pledges, it might also be characterized as an “America-Last” speech, since it actually encourages nuclear proliferation while rendering it even more difficult for anyone to respect the agreements entered into by the United States government. … continue

Neocon Max Boot: Legal and illegal aliens need to enlist in the US army and die for Israel

By Jonas E. Alexis | Veterans Today | October 16, 2107

… Neocon hawks like Max Boot know that American soldiers are dying by the thousands for Israel. As a result, Boot proposed what seemed to be a diabolical project in 2005, and here it is:

The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones and, as important, to untold numbers of young men and women who are not here now but would like to come.

“No doubt many would be willing to serve for some set period in return for one of the world’s most precious commodities — U.S. citizenship.”

Did you catch that? The U.S. military should open its ranks to everyone, both legal and illegal, so that they can go ahead and die in the Middle East. Boot never told the American people about the cost of this diabolical plan. … Read full article

The moment of truth is coming for Trump’s Iran strategy

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | October 16, 2017

… The US faces a Hobson’s choice. It has the option of extricating itself from the Syrian conflict at this stage, claiming victory in the defeat of ISIS in Raqqa. But this would mean abandoning its Kurdish allies to their fate. Of course, if the US exercises this option, it paves the way for mending relations with Turkey.

But then, the flip side is that it also means a seamless expansion of Iranian influence in both Iraq and Syria and a possible Iranian presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. That, of course, would make a mockery of the tough strategy announced by Trump to counter Iran’s regional policies.

On the contrary, if the US intends to play a greater role in Syria following the capture of Raqqa (such as blocking Iran’s land route to Syria), it would require substantial, open-ended troop deployment to delay and harass the expansion of Iranian influence. Clearly, this is what the US’s regional allies – Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – are hoping for and what Trump’s new Iran strategy promises to do.

However, a continued US military presence means ongoing dependence on the Kurdish militia. This could spell doom for US-Turkey relations and even prompt Ankara to build an alliance with Russia and Iran – a shared agenda to create conditions on the ground that force the US at some point to cut its losses and withdraw from Syria, as happened, for example, in Lebanon in 1983. … Read full article

14,000 orphans among Rohingya refugees: Bangladesh

Press TV – October 15, 2017

A new influx of Rohingya refugees that hit Bangladesh contains around 14,000 orphans, authorities say, as new details emerge of a brutal crackdown in neighboring Myanmar which forced over half a million Rohingya Muslims to flee their homes.

Bangladesh’s social services department said Sunday that some 13,751 children without a parent or parents were identified in the crowded refugee camps along the country’s border with Myanmar.

“The majority of them said they lost one or both parents in the violence in Rakhine,” said Pritam Kumar Chowdhury, a department deputy director, adding, “Others said they didn’t know what happened to their parents, and they came to Bangladesh with relatives.”

The United Nations says children comprise the bulk of the exodus of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar since violence erupted in the country’s western state of Rakhine in late August. The total number of arrivals currently stands at 536,000, of which some 320,000 are children, one-third under five years of age. … continue

Zionism from the Diaspora: infinity.0

By Eve Mykytyn | October 16, 2107

I have noticed a distinct shift in the focus of the Zionist narrative in the US. For the last forty years or so, Israel has been sold to Americans as a necessary palliative for the Jewish people following the total destruction of the Holocaust. Now, the primary argument advanced is that the Jewish people have been a people tied to the land on which their state is located for a mythically uninterrupted period of time variously described as between 2,000 and 4,000 years. … continue