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Nemtsov Killed to ‘Destabilize’ Russia

teleSUR | February 28, 2015

Russia’s president and opposition figures alike have described the killing of Boris Nemtsov as a “provocation.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin has expressed condolences to the family of one of his staunchest political rivals, who was gunned down in Moscow late Friday.

Prominent opposition figure Boris Nemtsov may have been shot at as many as eight times from a passing vehicle while crossing a bridge in central Moscow. At least four bullets struck him in the back, killing him almost instantly. […]

One of Nemstov’s political allies Irina Khakamada has described the killing a “provocation” carried out to destabilize Russia.

“It is definitely not beneficial to Putin and it is aimed at destabilizing everything,” Khakamada told RT. … Full article

Washington supplying Kiev with satellite intelligence of conflict in east – report

RT | February 28, 2015

The US is supplying Kiev with spy satellite imagery of enemy positions in eastern Ukraine, but does so by deliberately reducing the quality, apparently so as not to anger Russia too much, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A debate has been on in the US for some time on whether the Obama administration should provide the Kiev government with actionable intelligence. As with providing “defensive” weapons, the disagreements are similar.

However, imagery reduced in quality has apparently been green-lighted, but only arriving to the Ukrainians 24 hours late at the least. This step is apparently to ensure the US isn’t in any way thought of as a participant in the conflict, the newspaper said, referencing its own sources.

Another reason for why the images are somewhat degraded is in the event of the photos accidentally ending up with the Russians, who as a result would learn more about American spy satellite capabilities. … continue

Israel Secretly Arrests Golani Druze, Accusing Him of Exposing Syrian Rebel-Jewish State Collaboration

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | February 28, 2015

Israel’s Shin Bet rearrested Golani Druze Sedki al-Maket (age 48). Until his release in 2012 (Hebrew), he’d been the longest serving Israeli security prisoner, having spent 27 years detained. News of his arrest is under gag order by Israeli media. The gag is laughable since the arrest has been reported not only by Syrian media, but in a Hebrew Facebook post.

Though Israeli security services haven’t offered any reason for his arrest, it’s likely they’re angered because a week ago he followed Syrian rebels to a meeting inside Israeli-occupied territory. The rebels met with Israeli forces who’ve previously been shown to receive logistical and intelligence support from Israel in previous reports here and in Israel and foreign media. Al Maket filmed a video  while the meeting was underway, in which he described what he saw and offered it to Syrian TV.  It was aired to the entire nation and likely monitored by Israeli security.

The Shin Bet doesn’t want any further leaks about such collaboration because it allows the Syrian regime to paint the rebels as Israeli stooges. It also gives the lie to those Israeli intelligence figures and journalists who’ve spoken falsely about Israel remaining neutral regarding the two sides fighting in Syria. Despite numerous air attacks against Syrian government facilities, assassinations of Syrian, Hezbollah and Iranian military, and security cooperation with rebels, Israel continues to maintain the fiction it hasn’t chosen sides. … continue

Israeli troops ‘violently’ attack Palestinian teen at border crossing

Ma’an – 28/02/2015

JENIN – A teenage Palestinian boy from the northern West Bank says he was violently assaulted by Israeli soldiers at al-Jalama crossing north of Jenin while he was trying to cross into Israel.

Muhammad Asri Fayyad, 17, told Ma’an Saturday that on Thursday morning he arrived at the crossing along with a busload of young men and teenagers who had organized a trip to Israel and obtained the needed permits from Israeli authorities.

He says he entered the crossing and complied with the instructions Israeli officers were giving through loudspeakers. The instructions included “that we shove our mobile phones in one place and we cross from a different place which we did.”

“Everybody received back their mobile phones except me. The soldiers asked me to pass through a path under a bridge on top of which stood a number of soldiers pointing their guns at me.

“They then asked me to enter a room which has several doors and I obeyed the orders. All the doors were immediately locked before the officers started to shout through loudspeakers demanding that I take off my clothes and my shoes.” … continue

Hamas slams ‘terrorist’ label by Egypt court

MEMO | February 28, 2015

dr-sami-abu-zuhri-3Palestinian faction Hamas on Saturday denounced as “shocking” an Egyptian court decision to designate the movement a “terrorist organisation”.”Labeling Hamas as a terrorist organisation is a dangerous decision that represents a shift in Egyptian-Palestinian relations,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Anadolu Agency.

“Unfortunately, the situation has been turned upside down: Israel the enemy has become a friend of Egypt while Hamas – which is an integral part of the Palestinian people – has become a terrorist,” Abu Zuhri said.

The spokesman, however, said that Hamas will not be affected by the Egyptian court verdict as it came to “export Egypt’s domestic problems.”

Earlier Saturday, an Egyptian court designated Hamas as a “terrorist” group over claims that the group had carried out terrorist attacks in Egypt through tunnels linking the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip.

In March 2014, the same court outlawed Hamas’ activities in Egypt and confiscated its offices. … continue

Egypt Sentences 4 Brotherhood Members to Death, 14 to Life in Prison

Al-Akhbar | February 28, 2015

An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced four Muslim Brotherhood members to death and 14 leading members to life in prison, over charges of inciting violence that led to the killing of protesters demonstrating outside the group’s headquarters in 2013.

Muslim Brotherhood top leader Mohammed Badie and his two deputies Khairat al-Shater and Rashad Bayoumi were among those sentenced to life in prison.

Two of those sentenced to death and three sentenced to life were tried in absentia. Saturday’s verdicts were subject to appeal.

The charges relate to violence that erupted on June 30, 2013 outside the Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo’s Moqattam district, during which nine people were killed and 91 injured, days before then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted President Mohammed Mursi.

Badie and the other defendants present in court for the verdict denounced the sentence and shouted: “Down with military rule.”

Once the top leader of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Badie has already been sentenced to multiple life terms.

He was also one of 182 given the death sentence in a mass trial in connection with violence that erupted in the southern town of Minya following the Mursi’s ouster. The trial drew international criticism of Egypt’s judicial system. … Full article

Autopsy contradicts police accounts of fatal Denver shooting

Press TV – February 28, 2015

An autopsy result counters Denver police officers’ accounts of their fatal shooting of a 17-year-old American girl while she was driving a stolen car.

On January 26, Jessica Hernandez was shot three times by officers Daniel Greene and Gabriel Jordan who claimed the victim was driving the car toward them.

545905cc-1cae-4fd2-aece-4bd8322ef04eThe officers found the girl and four other teenagers inside the car in an alley and asked the teens several times to get out of the vehicle. But they opened fire after Hernandez allegedly drove toward one of the officers.

According to the autopsy report released by the Denver medical examiner’s office on Friday, one bullet entered the left side of Jessica’s pelvis and traveled to her right tight.

The two other bullets entered through the left side of the victim’s chest and passed right through her body, which according to her family’s lawyer, suggests that Hernandez was shot from the driver’s side of the car.

“These facts undermine Denver Police Department’s claim that Jessie was driving at the officers as they shot her,” Mohamedbhai said in a statement. “The wound path and trajectory of the bullet that likely killed Jessica Hernandez undermines the version of events as indicated by the Denver Police Department.”

He said the “objective evidence” contradicts officers’ claims that “Jessie was to blame for her own death”. … Full article

“How Dare you Say Peace is the Answer.” … Fear is a Much Better Alternative

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky | Global Research | February 28, 2015

The following email was sent to me by a Global Research reader, widow of an American serviceman, an unspoken victim of  America’s wars.

Her response shows how effective war propaganda has become, in turning concepts up side down.

Western civilization is threatened, the ISIS bogeyman seeks World domination. Our American way of life is threatened.

She blames the enemy for the death of her husband, rather than the US government.

I offered to send her my book regarding the impacts of nuclear war. I signed my email with the words “For Peace”.

She responded by saying:  ”How dare you think peace is the answer.”

War is the solution, she says. “total annihilation is the answer. .. What we have to do is to teach nations to fear us”continue

US fails to take Cuba off list of state sponsors of terrorism

Press TV – February 28, 2015

The United States and Cuba have held another round of talks to reestablish diplomatic relations and explore the possibility of opening embassies in Washington and Havana.

However, the Friday talks left a serious issue unresolved as Washington has failed to remove Cuba from its list of “state sponsors of terrorism” so far.

The US said it was still reviewing Cuba’s place on the list maintaining that the issue is separate from the talks and won’t affect the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.

However, the head of the Cuban delegation, Josefina Vidal, said that the removal from the terror list was a “very important issue” and a priority for Havana. … continue

Cuba: the Weight of a Long History

200 Years of US Interventionism

By MANUEL R. GÓMEZ | CounterPunch | February 27, 2015

The U.S. and Cuba are meeting again this week for their second round of normalization talks. When asked by the media what she expected from the first round, Roberta Jacobson, the senior diplomat leading the U.S. team, said that she was “not oblivious to the weight of history.” She was right on target: There is a very long history that begins well before the Revolution, deserves careful analysis, and will impact the talks.

As far back as 1809, Jefferson tried to purchase Cuba. In 1820 he went further; he told Secretary of War J.C. Calhoun that the U.S. “ought, at the first possible opportunity, to take Cuba.” As President, John Quincy Adams predicted that Cuba would fall “like a ripening plum into the lap of the union.” These are but two of many prominent examples of a widespread ambition to annex Cuba, or at least to control its destiny, from very early in U.S. history. After “the West,” Cuba figured as a prominent second place in U.S. expansionist aims from the beginning of the Republic.

In subsequent decades, support for annexing Cuba shifted tactically to Southerners who saw Cuba as a potential new slave state, though “manifest destiny” continued to be the fundamental driving force. Presidents Polk, in 1848, and Pierce, in 1854, offered unsuccessfully to buy Cuba. John Louis O’Sullivan, the newspaper editor who coined the phrase “Manifest Destiny” in 1845, supported Cuba’s best known “annexationist,” taking him to Polk’s White House in search of support for his armed expeditions. And even Walt Whitman—no advocate of slavery—wrote in 1871 that, “‘manifest destiny’ certainly points to the speedy annexation of Cuba by the United States.”

President McKinley again unsuccessfully offered to buy Cuba in 1898, shortly before declaring war on Spain. … continue

Virginia to Compensate Forced Sterilization Victims

teleSUR | February 27, 2015

Legislators in the U.S. state of Virginia voted Thursday to allow compensation for victims of forced sterilization, though few survivors are alive today.

“I think it’s a recognition when we do something wrong we need to fix it as a government,” said Democrat delegate Patrick Hope. “Now we can close this final chapter and healing can begin.”

Close to US$400,000 is available in a fund earmarked for compensation payments, though only around 11 sterilization victims in the state are known to be alive today. However, Hope stated if any new victims come forth, they too could be eligible for compensation.

From 1924 to 1979, over 8,000 people were forcibly sterilized in Virginia. The victims ranged from people with psychiatric disorders to people considered social misfits. While most victims were patients at state mental institutions, some were homeless people who were sterilized to reduce poverty figures. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 22 percent of victims were African-Americans, and 66 percent were women. At the time of sterilization, most victims were misled, being told they were undergoing surgical procedures for miscellaneous health issues. … continue

I’m Still Not Charlie!

By ANDRE VLTCHEK | CounterPunch | February 27, 2015

I am an atheist, but I am not Charlie Hebdo!

My disgust with Western imperialism and fascism is much stronger than my aversion towards religions. And I don’t think that “all religions are equally evil.” I mainly hold Christianity responsible for most of the crimes committed in modern human history. I hold it responsible for “derailing” and radicalizing traditionally much more peaceful religions, like Buddhism and yes, like Islam.

Therefore, I am definitely not Charlie!

I don’t want to quarrel with dead people. Journalists at Charlie Hebdo should have never died in that terrible way. I actually don’t know exactly who is responsible for their demise, although I am well aware of the fact that there are many sound theories, not only the official one.

What is clear and absolutely certain is that for almost two months, their deaths have been politicized by the Western regime, by the Empire. Politicized to a sickening extreme.

Their deaths became a rallying cry of the “liberals,” of apologists who are once again ready to forget and forgive all the crimes committed by Western nations for those long centuries, all over the world. … continue

Video of Man’s Police Interaction Exposes Vast Conspiracy

Always Film Police

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

Washington Parish, LA — A man’s 30-second cell phone video has helped to expose an ominously plotted conspiracy within the Louisiana “justice” system.

Two years ago, Douglas Dendinger, 47, accepted an offer of $50 to act as a process server. All he would have to do is hand an envelope containing a lawsuit alleging police brutality to Chad Cassard, a former Bogalusa police officer.

Everything went smoothly. Dendinger handed the envelope to the former cop in front of a group of police officers and two St.Tammany prosecutors. But then Cassard blew up.

“It was like sticking a stick in a bee’s nest.” Dendinger recalled. “They started cursing me. They threw the summons at me; right at my face, but it fell short. Vulgarities. I just didn’t know what to think. I was a little shocked.”

Although he was shocked, Dendinger was still able to leave and simply drove home.

But things would get worse, much worse.

“Within about 20 minutes, there were these bright lights shining through my windows. It was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I mean I knew immediately, a police car.”

“And that’s when the nightmare started,” he said. “I was arrested.” … continue

Autopsy shows lawyer was tortured to death at Egyptian police station

Mada Masr | February 27, 2015

Recently deceased lawyer Karim Hamdy was tortured to death at the notorious Matareya police station, an autopsy report released on Thursday concluded.

Hamdy is the latest in a string of fatalities at the station, all of which were allegedly caused by torture.

The lawyer was arrested on Sunday with another suspect on charges of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to an Interior Ministry statement. Hamdy was found dead on Tuesday after he was interrogated by national security officers, reported the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.

The autopsy report concluded that Hamdy’s injuries were consistent with those caused by torture. He had broken ribs and bleeding in the brain due to severe trauma to the head, in addition to bruises all over his body, concentrated on the head and abdomen, Al-Ahram said. … Full article

UN Reveals ‘Credible and Reliable’ Evidence of US Military Torture in Afghanistan

By Sarah Lazare | Common Dreams | February 26, 2015

The United Nations revealed Wednesday it has “credible and reliable” evidence that people recently detained at U.S. military prisons in Afghanistan have faced torture and abuse.

The UN’s Assistance Mission and High Commissioner for Human Rights exposed the findings in a report based on interviews with 790 “conflict-related detainees” between February 2013 and December 2014.

According to the investigation, two detainees “provided sufficiently credible and reliable accounts of torture in a U.S. facility in Maydan Wardak in September 2013 and a U.S. Special Forces facility at Baghlan in April 2013.”

The report states that the allegations of torture were investigated by “relevant authorities” but provided no information about the outcome of the alleged probes or the nature of the mistreatment.

This is not the first public disclosure of evidence of torture during the U.S. war in Afghanistan, now into its 14th year. … continue

ExxonMobil admits $1bn lost from anti-Russia sanctions

RT | February 27, 2015

The contracts with Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft damaged by the West’s anti-Russian sanctions have cost ExxonMobil $1 billion, the company said in its annual report.

“In 2014, the European Union and United States imposed sanctions relating to the Russian energy sector. In compliance with the sanctions and all general and specific licenses, prohibited activities involving offshore Russia in the Black Sea, Arctic regions, and onshore western Siberia have been wound down. The Corporation’s maximum exposure to loss from these joint ventures as of December 31, 2014, is $1.0 billion,” the report said.

Rosneft and ExxonMobil established projects to conduct exploration and research activities in 2013 and 2014. The European Union and United States imposed sanctions relating to the Russian energy sector in 2014, prohibiting any activities that involve offshore work in the Russian Black Sea and Arctic regions, and onshore in western Siberia.

The two companies began an exploration project in the Kara Sea in August despite the sanctions. Oil reserves in the Kara Sea could be as high as 13 billion tons, which is more than in the Gulf of Mexico or the whole of Saudi Arabia. … Full article

Settlers spray-paint racist graffiti on Nablus school

Ma’an - 27/02/2015

NABLUS – Settlers on Thursday spray-painted racist graffiti on the walls of a Palestinian school in the village of Urif south of Nablus, a Palestinian official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settler activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that a group of settlers from the illegal Yizhar settlement sprayed anti-Palestinian graffiti on the school.

“Death to Arabs” was also written on the walls. … Full article

Israeli Forces Again Open Fire in Gaza

soldiergazaalray_1IMEMC News & Agencies | February 27, 2015

Israeli forces opened gunfire on Palestinian houses in the central Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon, according to WAFA correspondents.

Soldiers deployed and stationed along the border to the east of the blockaded strip indiscriminately opened fire on Palestinian houses.

No casualties were reported in the cross-border attack which constitutes a flagrant violation of the ceasefire deal that ended the latest deadly Israeli onslaught on the war-torn coastal enclave.

Yesterday, Israeli forces opened fire at farmers in central Gaza.

Ideological roots of ISIS

By Omar Ramahi · The Independent International Political Research Center · February 26, 2015

With some recent, high-profile crimes committed by people purporting to follow the religion of Islam, the image of Muslims around the globe has largely been manipulated to project extremism, violence and intolerance. This manufactured image was long in the making, beginning as early as the 1980s, and reached epic proportions following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, irrespective of whether or not Muslim individuals, either by faith or birth, were behind it as executors or plotters. The negative propaganda which Muslims found themselves subjected to was done with the intention and precise objective, as the days following 9/11 have proven, to justify war against two predominantly Muslim countries. If the negative portrayal of Muslims was for reasons related to Islam, and not for other motives, then it would be difficult to explain the protective and shielded media coverage of several Middle Eastern monarchies with histories of violence and intolerance not only towards non-Muslims but also Muslims and those monarchies own citizens. Many Muslims throughout the world found themselves defending an unjust campaign portraying Muslims in negative stereotypes and associating Islam with violence and savagery. Mysterious groups alleged to be part of a global Islamic movement emerged with no objective but beheading Westerners and Christians, and distributing the gruesome savagery on YouTube and other media for the world to see.

While it cannot be ascertained who is the mastermind behind the illusive, ghostly and mercurial global al-Qaida organization (if it qualifies for such designation), it is highly likely that it has roots in Saudi and US intelligence establishments. … continue

Report Thy Neighbour: Policing Sisi’s Egypt

By Maha Abdelrahman | Open Democracy | February 23, 2015

A regime bereft of legitimacy, save for its promise to guarantee national security, turns citizens into active players in a new culture of surveillance and reporting.

During his recent visit to Cairo in November 2014, Alain Gresh, former editor- in-chief of Le Monde Diplomatique, met with a couple of Egyptian acquaintances (a journalist and a student) in a downtown Cairo café. During their chat, which unsurprisingly involved Egyptian politics, a middle-class Egyptian woman at the next table became highly alarmed by the exchange. Her anxiety did not stop at shouting at the journalists, accusing them of conspiring to destroy Egypt, but extended to actually calling upon the security personnel guarding the nearby British Embassy to investigate the said conspiracy. The sad saga, which lasted for a few hours, ended with embarrassment for the Egyptian authorities and an apology to the French journalist.

Despite the Kafkaesque tone of the event, the ‘concerned citizen’ had actually behaved in the only logical way expected of her after a relentless, year-long campaign by the regime and dominant pro-regime media to create a state of mass hysteria regarding Egypt’s security. Since the military takeover of 2013, a public discourse has evolved churning out incessant accounts in which enemies of the Egyptian state and its people, external and internal, known and unknown, human and otherwise, are constantly conspiring to plot against the country and target its security as well as the health of its national economy. Against a rich tapestry of intrigue and terrorist discourse, the security apparatus has emerged, in this narrative, as the only national saviour capable of protecting the country from complete chaos. In fact, the legitimacy of the Sisi regime continues to derive largely from his promise to rid the country of terrorists and to restore security and order. In this regard, he makes grateful use of actual violent attacks against military and other targets especially in Sinai. … continue

Egypt Refers 271 Muslim Brotherhood Supporters to Military Court

Al-Akhbar | February 27, 2015

Egyptian prosecutors referred 271 people to a military court on charges of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and attacking court buildings in central Egypt two years ago.

The defendants were charged with ransacking and torching a court building, as well as a prosecution office in the city of Malawi in the Minya province, in August of 2013.

The attack on Malawi’s official buildings happened following the dispersal of two major protest camps staged by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Mursi in Cairo and Giza, during which police and security forces killed more than 1,400 people.

Egyptian prosecutors are legally permitted to refer cases to the military prosecution in cases involving charges of vandalizing government property.

In October of last year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a law that allows the referral of violations against state institutions to military courts. … continue

Bahrain court sentences 3 to death over ‘police killings’

Press TV – February 26, 2015

1b9c4229-4e66-4c24-a9c8-425476cfccebA Bahraini court has sentenced three people to death and seven others to life in prison after convicting them of allegedly killing three policemen in a village near the capital, Manama, last year, Bahrain’s main opposition group says.

According to a tweet by the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the supreme criminal court also revoked the Bahraini citizenship of eight defendants.

On March 3, three police officers, one from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were killed in a bomb attack in Daih village near the Bahraini capital.

However, no group claimed responsibility for the explosion, which occurred as Bahraini troops attacked the mourners of an anti-regime activist, who had died in prison a few days before. … Full article

Russian journalists detained in Kiev as Ukraine steps up censorship

RT | February 26, 2015

Four Russian journalists were detained in Ukraine and ordered to return back to Moscow. Three of them were stopped when filming a Right Sector rally. The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed outrage at the incident, calling it a “provocation.”

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) detained Channel One journalists Elena Makarova and Sergey Korenev, and NTV’s Andrey Grigoryev, who were in Kiev at the time. The SBU indicated that they will all be deported back to Russia and banned from entering Ukraine for the next five years.

Grigoryev is already back in Moscow, NTV reported. “I got detained right in Kiev’s downtown area while filming the rally, which included ultra-nationalist Right Sector members, football fans, and others who disagree with the direction the current government is taking,” Grigoryev said. “A few of the rally participants approached me and asked for my ID. I told them I would show my identification only to police, which is where they escorted me to.” … continue

Drug-Induced Dementia isn’t Alzheimer’s

By Dr. Gary G. Kohls | Global Research | February 26, 2015

… Over the past several decades there have been a number of well-financed campaigns, promoted by well-meaning laypersons, to raise public awareness to the plight of patients with dementia. Suspiciously, most of these campaigns that come from “patient support” groups lead the public to believe that every dementia patient has Alzheimer’s dementia (AD).

Not so curiously, it turns out that many – perhaps all – of these campaigns have been funded – usually secretly – by the very pharmaceutical companies that benefit economically by indirectly promoting the sale of so-called Alzheimer’s drugs. Such corporate-generated public relations “campaigns” are standard operating procedure for all of BigPharma drugs, especially its psychopharmaceutical drugs. BigPharma has found that the promotion and de-stigmatization of so-called “mental illnesses” (for which there are FDA-approved drugs) is a great tool for marketing their drugs. … Read full article

Argentine judge rejects cover-up charges in AMIA case

Press TV – February 26, 2015

b6e4fa68-6070-49dd-81ef-17448d3af00cAn Argentine judge has dismissed cover-up charges against the country’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in the 1994 AMIA case.

Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas said there were no elements to justify continuation of an investigation on an alleged political effort by President Kirchner to cover up the role claimed to have been played by Iran in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center.

The documents against Kirchner failed to meet “the minimal conditions needed to launch a formal court investigation,” the judge added.

Argentina’s Federal Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita is expected to appeal the ruling.

Pollicita replaced Alberto Nisman who was found dead in the bathroom of his apartment in the capital, Buenos Aires, on January 18. … continue

ISIS killer Jihadi John ‘radicalized by UK govt,’ claims charity

RT | February 26, 2015

Following the identification of the British extremist formerly known as Jihadi John, thought responsible for the execution of a number of ISIS held hostages, a charity has blamed the UK government for his radicalization.

Jihadi John was revealed on Thursday by the Washington Post to be Mohammad Emwazi, a young British man from West London who was known to British security services.

The Home Office refused to confirm his identity due to operational risk, claiming lives were at stake if his identity was publicly known.

Emwazi is thought to have killed American journalist James Foley in a video released last August.

He is further believed to have featured in the videos of the beheadings of US journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning and US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter.

The advocacy organization CAGE released a statement Thursday afternoon, blaming the government for shifting focus onto the vilification of Muslims as the sole cause of violence at home and abroad.

Emwazi was in communication with CAGE for two years after UK security forces interfered with his plans to travel to Kuwait and attempted to recruit him as a spy. … Full article

French PM decries MPs for meeting Assad

Press TV – February 26, 2015

France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls has slammed a move by three French lawmakers to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“I want to condemn this initiative with the greatest strength,” Valls said on Thursday.

“For parliamentarians to go without warning to meet a butcher…. I think it was a moral failing,” he said.

A French Parliamentary delegation headed by French Senator Jean-Pierre Vial, Chairman of the Syrian-French friendship Committee, met with Assad on Wednesday. … continue

Kerry warns Congress about Netanyahu’s Iran speech, says Bibi pushed US to attack Iraq

Press TV – February 26, 2015

benjamin-netanyahu-2_190_190US Secretary of State John Kerry has reminded American officials that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is against a nuclear deal with Iran, was also in the US in 2002 to push for the invasion of Iraq.

Netanyahu is set to use his next week’s address to a joint session of Congress to condemn a potential nuclear agreement with Iran.

During a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Wednesday, Kerry warned Congress about the controversial speech.

“The prime minister, as you will recall, was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush, and we all know what happened with that decision,” Kerry said.

The top US diplomat was referring to testimony on the Middle East that Netanyahu delivered to Congress on Sept. 12, 2002.

During his speech, Netanyahu expressed strong support for Washington to oust former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Six months later, the US military bombarded the country.

“I think the choice of Iraq is a good choice, it’s the right choice,” Netanyahu said in 2002. “If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.” … continue

Israeli forces prevent villagers from opening road in Nablus

Ma’an – February 26, 2015

NABLUS – Israeli forces prevented Palestinian villagers from opening an agricultural road in the village of Azmut near Nablus on Thursday as settlers assaulted a local youth from the village.

Murad Muhammad, head of Azmut village council, told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers prevented villagers from opening an agricultural road in the northern part of the village to help farmers reach their land.

Israeli forces said the area was a closed military zone.

Meanwhile, settlers from Elon Moreh attacked a local municipality vehicle and forced Amin Raed Amer, 20, to take off his clothes for several hours in the cold weather, before allowing him access to his home near the settlement, Muhammad added.

Jewish Extremists Attack Palestinian Shop In Hebron

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC News | February 26, 2015

A group of approximately 20 Israeli colonizers, illegally squatting in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank attacked a Palestinian shop causing excessive property damage on Wednesday. Soldiers kidnapped the shop owner and his neighbor.

The Hebron Defense Committee has reported that the Israeli attackers, headed by extremist right-winger Baruch Marzel, who lives in Tal Romeida illegal outpost, invaded a shop, belonging to resident Abdulraouf al-Mohtaseb, causing excessive damage to many goods, especially those displayed outside his store.

The attackers also assaulted the shop owner, and struck him on the head, and also assaulted his son, causing various bruises and a cuts in his arm.

The Committee said Israeli officers, and soldiers, were standing just a few meters away from the store, but did not even attempt to intervene and remove the assailants.

Instead, the soldiers kidnapped Abdulraouf and one of his neighbors, while trying to file a complaint against the fanatic Israeli assailants.

The attack came amidst a provocative tour by Marzel and his followers, in addition to some journalist covering Marzel’s campaign for the upcoming Knesset election.

The Hebron Defense Committee stated that Marzel seems to be trying to run his campaign on a platform of hatred towards the Palestinians.

Israel issues demolition order for school near Hebron

MEMO | February 26, 2015

Israeli forces raided the village of Al-Majaz, handing out demolition orders to the village’s main school, attended by dozens of students from neighbouring villages.

Israeli occupation forces this morning distributed demolition orders to a school, some buildings, and tents in the city of Yatta, south of Hebron, the coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlement in Hebron said.

In a statement to the Palestinian Information Centre, Rateb Al-Jabour said that the occupation forces were accompanied by teams from what is known as the Hebron City Administration and they raided the village of Al-Majaz, handing out demolition orders to the village’s main school, attended by dozens of students from neighbouring villages. They also gave out warnings to remove tents belonging to two brothers from the Abu Aram family.

He added that these warnings are part of a plan to seize Yatta territories, amounting to 50,000 dunams (50 square kilometres).

According to Al-Jabour, the school is made up of a number of caravans, which were donated by a European institution in early this year and is attended by 22 students.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Palestine team begins accompaniment of kindergarteners near Ibrahimi Mosque

CPTnet | February 26, 2015

mainThe Red Crescent Kindergarten School is fully equipped for the four-year-old children who will begin their education: carpeted floors, multiple rooms for playing and learning, as well as all the supplies needed to teach and entertain children. Most importantly, the school has caring teachers dedicated to their young pupils.

In 2000, the kindergarten had ten teachers and ninety students, but now only has three teachers and fifteen students. The school is in a particularly vulnerable location: immediately adjacent to the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is surrounded by Israeli Border Police. Due to constant soldier and settler harassment, parents in the nearby neighbourhoods are hesitant to send their children to the school. In response to this harassment and the effect it has had on the school children, the principal of the Red Crescent Kindergarten asked CPT to begin escorting the children to and from school.

One form of structural violence that the four-year-olds must face on their way to school is a divided path by the Ibrahimi Mosque. On one side of a tall fence is a wide, paved path for Israeli settlers, and on the other is a narrow, rocky path for Palestinians. Israeli Border Police have recently begun to deny these kindergarten students the right to walk on the “settler path.” … Full article

Hamas asks the international community to put Jewish State on terror list

Palestine Information Center – February 26, 2015

GAZA – Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, asked the international community to put Israel and its leaders on the terror list. The request was voiced after state-backed Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque and a church in the West Bank over two consecutive days.

On Thursday, Hamas leader and former Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Dr. Ismail Radwan, condemned the arson attack on both sacred sites, saying, “Torching the holy sites and writing anti-Islamic and anti-Christian slogans by Israeli settlers demonstrate that the Israeli occupation constitutes a danger to humanity and to holy places”.

Dr. Radwan called on the international community along with human rights organizations to work on putting Israel on the terror list for its crimes that show hatred and hostility to humanity and holy sites.

The extremist Jewish groups started a fire at dawn Wednesday in a mosque in Jaba town to the west of Bethlehem and did the same thing early Thursday in the Church of Dormition on Mt. Zion in Occupied Jerusalem.

Greek Orthodox Church decries attacks by Jewish settlers

church_building_torchedMEMO | February 26, 2015

The Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Theophilos III, denounced on Thursday what he called “repeated” attacks on Christian and Muslim places of worship in the Palestinian territories by extremist Jewish settlers.

“The targeting of churches and mosques is caused by pervasive racism and hatred,” he said in a statement.

Earlier Thursday, Jewish Settlers set fire to part of a religious school affiliated with Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Which they sprayed with anti-Christian graffiti.

On Wednesday, settlers torched and sprayed graffiti on a West Bank mosque. … continue

Jewish Settlers Uproot 100 Olive Saplings in Hebron, Khirbet Gween Slated for Demolition

IMEMC News & Agencies | February 25, 2015

Israeli settlers, on Wednesday, uprooted a hundred olive saplings recently-planted in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, said a local activist organization.

According to the Palestinian Voluntary Action Commission, settlers from the illegal settlement outpost of Beit Hadassa stormed a Palestinian land that had been planted with a hundred olive saplings near Qurtuba School.

Settlers destroyed the fence surrounding the land and proceeded to uproot a hundred olive saplings that were planted by Palestinian activists, three weeks ago, as part of a campaign to plant one million trees on land facing seizure in Hebron.

The campaign, WAFA reports, intended to help Palestinian farmers maintain ownership of their farmlands threatened by Israeli annexation and replant tree seedlings on damaged land. … Full article

Cop Assaults Man for Filming Brutality, Stomps Phone to Destroy Evidence — Video Survived

By Cassandra Rules | The Free Thought Project | February 26, 2015

Amherst, MA –  University of Massachusetts Amherst student, Thomas Donovan, who is majoring in legal studies and had planned to become a Massachusetts State Trooper, has filed a lawsuit alleging his civil rights were violated after he was pepper sprayed, assaulted, and arrested for filming police brutality.

The officer also repeatedly stomped on his cellphone in an attempt to destroy the evidence and cover up the crime – but the video survived. … continue

Washington state police shot 17 times at Hispanic man accused of throwing rocks

RT | February 26, 2015

A Mexican man accused of hurling rocks at cars and police officers was shot at a total of 17 times, Washington state police revealed Wednesday. He was hit by five or six of the shots during a controversial confrontation that spawned protests in the area.

According to Reuters, Kennewick Police Sergeant Ken Lattin confirmed that all three officers responding to the scene fired their weapons at 35-year-old Antonio Zambrano-Montes, an unemployed orchard worker and Mexican national who was reportedly throwing rocks at vehicles at a busy intersection when law enforcement arrived. […]

Caught on tape via a smartphone recording, the shooting unfolded earlier this month after police made their way to an intersection in downtown Pasco, where reports were coming in about a man tossing rocks at passing vehicles. Zambrano-Montes then reportedly threw rocks at the three responding officers – two of whom were injured and treated at the scene – before he was chased across the street.

As he ran away from police, the video shows Zambrano-Montes with his hands up and in front of him. Police said he did not respond to their orders to surrender. At one point in the video, he turns around to face the officers, who then fatally shoot him on the sidewalk. … Full article

Mexican Teacher Killed After Police Attack Protestors

teleSUR | February 25, 2015

On Wednesday, an official with the government of the Mexican state of Guerrero confirmed the death of a teacher after police violently attacked a protest by teachers.

The victim has been identified as Claudio Castillo Peña, a retired 65 year-old teacher. According to the secretary of civil protection, Castillo died as a result of head trauma. […]

Heavily-armed anti-riot police violently attacked protestors affiliated with teachers unions in the southern Mexican state. Protestors had been marching Tuesday to demand unpaid wages, eventually setting up a roadblock on the road leading to the airport in tourist destination of Acapulco. … Full article

Argentine Congress votes to scrap intelligence agency

Press TV – February 26, 2015

Argentine legislators have voted to disband the South American country’s intelligence agency and replace it with a new federal body that will be accountable to the Congress.

The lower house of Congress voted 131 to 71 in favor of the bill, which had already been approved by the Senate.

The measure came after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner drafted a proposal last month to dissolve the Secretariat of Intelligence (SI) and set up a new service to be called the Federal Intelligence Agency, after the government said a renegade spy was linked to the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

Fernandez has said Antonio Stiuso, who for years was the powerful director of operations at the SI, pushed Nisman into filing a formal criminal complaint against her, and was involved in the prosecutor’s death.

On Tuesday, Oscar Parilli, who was appointed as the SI director in December last year, said Stiuso and others had illegally imported electronic goods and other equipment between 2013 and 2014. … continue

US Aggression Against Venezuela: Fact, Not Fiction

The U.S. has a substantial history of aggression toward Venezuela

By Eva Golinger | teleSUR | February 25, 2015

Recently, several different spokespersons for the Obama administration have firmly claimed the United States government is not intervening in Venezuelan affairs. Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki went so far as to declare, “The allegations made by the Venezuelan government that the United States is involved in coup plotting and destabilization are baseless and false.” Psaki then reiterated a bizarrely erroneous statement she had made during a daily press briefing just a day before: “The United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means.”

Anyone with minimal knowlege of Latin America and world history knows Psaki’s claim is false, and calls into question the veracity of any of her prior statements. The U.S. government has backed, encouraged and supported coup d’etats in Latin America and around the world for over a century. Some of the more notorious ones that have been openly acknowledged by former U.S. presidents and high level officials include coup d’etats against Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1960, Joao Goulart of Brazil in 1964 and Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973. More recently, in the twenty-first century, the U.S. government openly supported the coups against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002, Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti in 2004 and Jose Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in 2009. Ample evidence of CIA and other U.S. agency involvement in all of these unconstitutional overthrows of democratically-elected governments abounds. What all of the overthrown leaders had in common was their unwillingness to bow to U.S. interests.

Despite bogus U.S. government claims, after Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela by an overwhelming majority in 1998, and subsequently refused to take orders from Washington, he became a fast target of U.S. aggression. Though a U.S.-supported coup d’etat briefly overthrew Chavez in 2002, his subsequent rescue by millions of Venezuelans and loyal armed forces, and his return to power, only increased U.S. hostility towards the oil-rich nation. After Chavez’s death in 2013 from cancer, his democratically-elected successor, Nicolas Maduro, became the brunt of these attacks.

What follows is a brief summary of U.S. aggression towards Venezuela that clearly shows a one-sided war. Venezuela has never threatened or taken any kind of action to harm the United States or its interests. Nonetheless, Venezuela, under both Chavez and Maduro – two presidents who have exerted Venezuela’s sovereignty and right to self-determination – has been the ongoing victim of continuous, hostile and increasingly aggressive actions from Washington. … continue

A giant art installation targets predator drone operators


jr_kpk_fullIn military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’, since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.

To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur.

Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.

The installation is also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites. … continue

State Dept asks for budget to counter RT

RT | February 26, 2015

Citing RT’s influence, Secretary of State John Kerry asked US lawmakers for more money for propaganda and “democracy promotion” programs around the world.

“Russia Today (sic) can be heard in English, do we have an equivalent that can be heard in Russian? It’s a pretty expensive proposition. They are spending huge amounts of money,” Kerry said in the course of the budget hearing on Wednesday, apparently forgetting that Voice of America has been broadcasting in Russian since 1947.

Representative Ed Royce (R-CA), chairing the House Foreign Affairs Committee, opened the hearing with the allegation that “Russia’s military aggression is matched only by its propaganda.” … continue

The Foiling of a Coup Plot in Venezuela

By GLORIA La RIVA | CounterPunch | February 25, 2015

A coup plot against President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution was thwarted this week as a retired Venezuelan Air Force general and 10 military and civilian opposition figures were arrested.

The bombing of the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly, Telesur TV network, the Defense Ministry and other Caracas sites was to take place February 12, the one-year anniversary of violent anti-government attacks known as “guarimbas,” which caused 43 deaths. A Tucano EMB 312 bomber would have been flown by renegade Air Force First Lieutenant José Antich Zapata to destroy the targeted sites.

U.S. spokesperson Jen Psaki and the Venezuelan far-right are dismissing the plot claim, but video evidence, a map of the bombing targets, and other key evidence have been unveiled on national television, with more details promised. Washington’s role in previous plots has been proven before.

According to President Maduro, detained coup leaders have confessed their role. He spoke on national television Sunday morning, to reveal more facts and accuse the United States government of conspiring with coup plotters.

Antich Zapata received U.S. visas for himself and other conspirators from the U.S. embassy in Caracas, for escape from Venezuela in case the plot failed. … continue

Video Exposes Lying Cop Who Punched a Man in the Face and Charged HIM with Assault

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project | February 25, 2015

Baltimore, MD — A Baltimore police officer is being investigated after a cell phone video exposed his attempt to bully an innocent man.

Had the camera not been recording the police interaction of 19-year-old Antonio Moore a jury would have most assuredly convicted him of the charges he faces for being assaulted by a cop.

After he had been punched in the face, Moore was then arrested and charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. … Full article

Experts: Israel violating international law by drilling for oil in Golan Heights

MEMO | February 25, 2015

Israel’s decision to allow oil exploration in the southern area of the occupied Golan Heights violates international law and United Nations resolutions regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Anadolu Agency reported experts as saying.

Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper said last week that Afek Oil will begin drilling in the Golan Heights after receiving the necessary approval from the Israeli government.

Afek Oil, which is controlled by the US’s Genie Energy, is run by Israel’s former Minister of National Infrastructure, Effie Eitam.

Former US Vice President Dick Cheney also works as an adviser for the company.

Professor of International Law at Cairo University, Dr Ahmad Abu Al-Wafa, told the Anadolu Agency that the move contradicts international resolutions regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, in particular resolution No. 3175 which recognises the right of Arab states and people under foreign occupation to have sovereignty over their national resources.

Abu Al-Wafa pointed out that all measures taken by Israel to exploit the human or natural resources in the occupied Arab lands are illegal, stressing that the UN General Assembly affirms the right of Arab countries and people whose territories were occupied by Israel to recover their lands.

The United Nations resolution No. 3175 says that Arab states are entitled to full compensation for the exploitation of their natural resources and the damages they sustained as a result of the occupation, he said. … Full article

Jewish Extremists Burn A Mosque In Bethlehem

IMEMC & Agencies | February 25, 2015

4ebca6a8-22e6-4728-b311-66fb3bc8182cA group of Israeli extremists burnt, on Wednesday at dawn, a Palestinian mosque in the al-Jab’a village, west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and wrote racist anti-Arab and anti-Islamic graffiti.

Head of the al-Jab’a Village Council No’man Hamdan said Israeli fanatics infiltrated into the village, approximately at 4 at dawn, before breaking into the mosque and setting it ablaze after writing racist graffiti.

A group of Palestinians noticed the fire, and alerted the residents who helped them extinguish the fire.

Hamdan added that the fires caused excessive interior damage to the mosque, its carpets and furniture.

He further stated that, among the graffiti written by the Israeli fanatics, was the infamous “Death to Arabs” that appears practically every time they attack holy sites and property in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem. […]

Today, February 25, marks the 21st anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, when the American-born Israeli fanatic Baruch Kopel Goldstein stormed the mosque and opened automatic fire on kneeling Muslim worshipers, killing 29 and wounding approximately 150… Full article

Autopsy Reveals Israeli Forces Shot Palestinian Teen at “Close Range”

Al-Akhbar | February 25, 2015

Autopsy results for a young Palestinian man killed by Israeli Occupation Forces near Bethlehem early Tuesday revealed that he was shot in the upper body at close range, a forensic expert told Ma’an news agency.

Sabri al-Aloul said that the autopsy results showed that 19-year-old Jihad al-Jaafari bled to death after being hit with an M16 bullet that penetrated his body through the left shoulder and struck his lungs before exiting and causing severe bleeding in his arteries and around his spine.

The killing was “similar to an execution” because he was shot from a very close range, Aloul said. The autopsy was performed between 10:45 am and 12:30 pm and adhered to international standards, he added.

He said the autopsy was significant given that the report could be used to hold Israel accountable in international courts.

Jaafari was killed early Tuesday during a predawn arrest raid in Bethlehem’s Duheisha refugee camp.

Witnesses at the scene saying Israeli forces stopped ambulances from reaching his body. … Full article

Dancing children attacked by Israeli forces

International Solidarity Movement | February 25, 2015

soldiers-on-rooff-600x450Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On the 24th of February in occupied Al-Khalil (Hebron), Israeli forces opened fire on dancing Palestinian youth, firing tear gas and throwing stun grenades at group of young children performing a traditional Palestinian dance as a form of protest in front of Shuhada checkpoint.

The fifteen young dancers, Palestinian girls and boys between the ages of six and twelve, gathered to perform a traditional Palestinian dance. They staged their dance in the open street in Bab Al-Zawiye (in the H1 – officially Palestinian Authority-controlled – part of Hebron) near Shuhada checkpoint, as part of a week of actions planned by Palestinian organizers around the annual Open Shuhada Street campaign. The children began performing under heavy military surveillance, as at least thirteen soldiers occupied roofs surrounding the entrance to the checkpoint.

Even before the demonstration had begun, Israeli forces closed Shuhada checkpoint to Palestinian men, only allowing a few women through. Shuhada checkpoint controls the main access between Bab Al-Zawiye and the the H2 (fully Israeli-controlled) neighborhood of Tel Rumeida. On the H2 side, the checkpoint faces Shuhada street, and soldiers restrict Palestinian access onto the short portion of Shuhada street where they are still allowed to walk.

“As soon as the dancing kids moved closer to the checkpoint, soldiers immediately attacked with two tear gas grenades and two stun grenades,” reported an ISM volunteer who witnessed the incident. “Israeli soldiers fired tear gas even though the children were not throwing stones.” … continue

February – 2015

January – 2015


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