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MH17: ‘No one deserves to die that way’

RT | July 17, 2015

With debris of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 still covering the crash site in eastern Ukraine, the investigation of the July 17, 2014 tragedy is surrounded by secrecy. RT talked to international experts and the victims’ families, still waiting for answers.

“He was a good man, a good brother. He promised to take me one day on board of his plane… He wanted to take me to Europe, but instead I brought his body home from Amsterdam on a plane,” the younger sister of flight MH17 captain, Wan Lailatul Mustarah Bt. Wan Hussin told RT Documentary (RTD).

RTD’s team visited Captain’s Wan Amran’s family in Malaysia. They couldn’t talk to the pilot’s wife, as she was sick, suffering from mental problems resulting from the trauma she experienced after her husband was killed in the crash.

“At first the youngest son couldn’t accept this all, he was always saying that his father would come back,” the captain’s older sister, Wan Aini Bt. Wan Hussin, told RTD.

The Malaysian captain’s family was shown a picture of his body, which they say “wasn’t damaged, just slightly burnt.”

“I was able to identify him. The person who cleaned the bodies told us that our brother’s body was in the best condition, with nothing missing,” Wan Lailatul Mustarah Bt. Wan Hussin said. The family, like all victims’ families, were not allowed to open the coffins by the government, they told RTD.

“The government is keeping quiet,” the captain’s sister said, adding that the family doesn’t blame anybody. “We just want and hope somebody will come up with something, especially from the black box,” she said.

“We want the facts, we don’t want propaganda,” Malaysian engineer Azahar Zanudin told RTD. “I’d like to know the real things about the disaster of MH17, because in MH17 case there is something wrong about the investigation,” the engineer said. Blaming the local media for “following the western media” bias, Zanudin has created a Facebook page, where he collects the news about the crash from around the world “for the people to see.”

“You can study the whole world behind your laptop, but the best thing you can do is check the spot yourself,” Dutch blogger Max Van Der Werff told RTD. The blogger has visited the crash site in Ukraine, and said that in the one week he spent there, he had learned more about the crash “than in a whole year behind my laptop.”

“The Netherlands is the official head of the investigation… (but) we are part of NATO, we are part of anti-Russian alliance, so we are not independent investigators,” Van Der Werff said, adding that the MH17 crash should have been investigated by the UN, “not a biased country like the Netherlands.”

Another independent researcher from the West also changed his opinion on the possible cause of the tragedy after visiting the crash site. “I thought that the story of (another) plane taking the Boeing was a propaganda of Russia,” German independent journalist Billy Six shared with RTD. Then he visited the site in eastern Ukraine and spoke to witnesses who claimed they saw military jets flying in the area, but no BUK missile launcher vapor trail.

“When I reached the crash site, my first impression was quite eye-opening. I saw that the mass media coverage claiming that it’s a very large field of 45-50 square kilometers (about 20 square miles) of wreckage – which gives a conclusion to people that the plane was smashed into pieces in the air – is not true,” Billy Six said, adding that he saw just two places where the MH17 wreckage was largely concentrated.

A lot of pieces of evidence can still be found in the area. On finding parts of the Boeing, people bring them to the local administration, which is said to be in touch with Dutch experts.

Whoever launched the rocket is “a different story,” Elmar Gimulla, a Berlin lawyer who represents the families of aviation crashes victims, told RTD. But the Ukrainian government “has failed” and is to blame for allowing the passenger plane to fly above the military zone, he said.

“Only two days before this crash occurred, a military plane was downed by the rebels. In that situation it was a responsibility of the Ukrainian government to close the air space for civilian flights,” Elmar Gimulla told RTD, adding that he had received threatening emails after news broke that he was aiding German families in launching a suit against Ukraine over the MH17 crash. Once, someone from Ukraine describing himself as “a Nazi” wrote the lawyer with the warning: “be careful what you do.”

“There is too much secrecy regarding the investigation,” former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad told RTD. Saying that the country is “very neutral because there is no real evidence,” the politician said that the investigation of the Malaysia Airlines crash, which claimed the lives of all 298 people on board, was “quite unusual.”“Involvement of Malaysia is limited,” the ex-prime minister said.

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Video | , | Leave a comment

The DOJ is investing millions of dollars in research to spy on students at public schools nationwide

PrivacySOS | July 17, 2015

The Department of Justice’s National Institute for Justice funds law enforcement research to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each year. The full list of grants, posted each year, is a valuable insight into future of law enforcement trends in the United States. NIJ funding for 2014 appears to have primarily focused on two issue areas: school safety and clearing DNA backlogs at police departments across the country.

Among the dozens of projects that focus on school safety, there are some that appear progressive, at least judging from the limited amount of information available online. But while a slice of the funding explicitly aims to examine and interrupt the school to prison pipeline using restorative justice methodologies, a lot of the money is going toward research that will probably further entrench disparate outcomes based on race in the criminalizing trend in school discipline.

One of those projects is a City of Chicago Board of Education program called “Connect and Redirect to Respect (CRR),” which aims “to use social media monitoring to identify and connect youth to behavioral interventions.” In other words, the DOJ is giving $2.1 million dollars to the Chicago public schools to conduct research on how spying on student social media can impact school discipline. In New York, police spying on youth social media has resulted in the criminalization of speech.

Elsewhere, DOJ awarded nearly $2.5 million to the University of Virginia to study how “student threat assessment” is a “safe and supportive prevention strategy.” DOJ gave the Miami-Dade public schools $4.2 million for research on a project called “Enhancing School Safety Through Digital Intelligence: Evaluating Campus Shield.”

Among the projects DOJ funded that are not related to DNA testing or schools are the following:

  • Nearly $4 million to the private Rand Corporation to identify law enforcement technology needs;
  • $200,000 to Rand for something called the “Electronic Surveillance Continuation Project”;
  • About $500,000 to Carnegie Melon University for research into something called an “Adaptive Expert System that Learns to Detect and Track Patterns of Crime in Internet Advertisements”;
  • Follow-up funding, to reach a total of nearly $5 million, to FBI-connected private firm ManTech for “contactless finger print assessment”;
  • $261,000 to Arkansas State University to study internet “radicalization”;
  • About $4 million to war contractor Lockheed Martin “to operate a National Criminal Justice Technology Information Resource Center (NCJ-TIRC) within the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) System”;
  • $330,000 to Boston’s Children’s Hospital for research on “Gang Affiliation and Radicalization to Violent Extremism within Somali-American Communities”; and
  • $500,000 to the Chicago Police Department’s predictive policing program.

Read the full list of NIJ projects funded in 2014.

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

4 Ways to Spot Big Pharma’s Media Manipulation

By Heather Callaghan | ANTIMEDIA | July 17, 2015

Studies show that people are gullible enough to believe anything if it appears on TV and sounds authoritative. If this is really true, upper-echelon pharmaceutical companies may be using the media to bend the public’s perception.

Giant corporations—and other entities that act as though they own the entire galaxy—have a tendency toward the chameleonic behavior of astroturfing because it works so well.

Astroturfing involves an individual or organization masquerading as a grassroots movement while hiding the true wizardly sponsor and its intentions behind the curtain. It can get even more complicated with story layers—carefully constructed narratives—that include made-up groups “false flagging” themselves and co-opting a movement mimicking or debunking myths (that weren’t even myths in the first place) in order to sway public opinion.

Astroturfing can involve a deceptive or purposely controversial method of selling products all the way up to overthrowing governments with color revolutions. All of those goals can involve the use of online comments, blogs, studies, and social media to give the appearance of an organic effort with widespread support or to create confusion that lulls the audience into belief.

How far does it really go with Big Pharma?

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson explains how to keep from getting duped by the newest in expertly deceptive propaganda techniques. She calls the prevalence of astroturfing and media manipulation a “Truman Showesque alternate reality all around you.” With a probing, astute mind like hers, is it any wonder she was essentially shut down by CBS? Check out her new book: Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.

The TEDx Talk description explains that

In this eye-opening talk, veteran investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson shows how astroturf, or fake grassroots movements funded by political, corporate, or other special interests effectively manipulate and distort media messages.

Remember to look for these four astroturfing techniques as you encounter health-related information online:

  1. Inflammatory and charged language – i.e., “quacks,” “kooks,” “pseudo,” or “conspiracy theorist”
  2. Made up myths that are “debunked,” which can wind up on Snopes (I call them Inception stories)
  3. Attacking the character of people or organizations instead of addressing the facts
  4. Those that reserve all of their public skepticism and criticism for those exposing the wrong-doers instead of directing that skepticism to the wrongdoers themselves. A prime example Attkisson mentions is those “skeptics” who, instead of questioning authority, question those that question the authority.

After watching this, you will never again read Wikipedia, Snopes, the news, blogs, Facebook comments, or Google results without a major guard. With just ten minutes and the tips above, you, too will be better at researching and spotting hidden propaganda and bots and not falling for the appearance of skeptics—which could actually be pharma-funded attackers on legitimate exposé.

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Greece Surrendered: But to Whom Exactly?

By Diana Johnstone | CounterPunch | July 17, 2015

Paris – On July 12, Greece surrendered abjectly and totally. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who had promised to combat the austerity measures that are driving the Greek people to ruin, poverty and suicide, betrayed all his promises, denied the will of the people expressed in the July 5 referendum, and led the Greek parliament to accept an agreement with the nation’s creditors even worse than all those that had already caused the economy to shrink and which further abandoned the last scraps of national sovereignty.

Yes, Greece surrendered unconditionally, as has been thoroughly and eloquently expressed here on CounterPunch and elsewhere. But one crucial question appears not to have been adequately answered. To whom, exactly, did Greece surrender?

A common answer to that question is: Germany. The poor Greeks surrendered to the arrogant Germans. This theme has served to revive anti-German feelings left over from World War II. Frau Merkel is portrayed as the heartless villain. One thing is sure: the animosity between Greece and Germany aroused by this debt catastrophe is proof that the “European dream” of transforming the historic nations of Western Europe into one single brotherly federation, on the model of the United States of America, is a total flop. The sense of belonging to a single nation, with all for one and one for all, simply does not exist between peoples whose languages, traditions and customs are as diverse as those between Finns and Greeks. Adopting a common currency, far from bringing them together, has driven them farther apart.

But was this disaster actually dictated by the wicked Germans?

In reality, very many Germans, from the right-wing Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaüble all the way to the former leader of the left party “Die Linke” Oskar Lafontaine would have preferred a very different solution: Greece’s exit from the Eurozone. Schaüble was thinking of German finances, while Lafontaine was thinking of what would be best for the people of Greece – and of Europe as a whole.

Between those two extremes, a German compromise could have averted the abject surrender of July 12, by organizing Greece’s return to its national currency, the drachma.

Indeed, by the time of the Greek referendum, a majority of European Union creditor governments would have preferred to see Greece leave the Eurozone.

The one government that crowed with victory over the Greek surrender was the French government of François Hollande. In last minute negotiations, France took the position that Greece absolutely must be kept in the Eurozone, in order to “save Europe”.  French commentators are jubilant that Hollande “stood up to Merkel” and saved both the sacrosanct “Franco-German couple” and the European Union itself by insisting that Greece stick to the hard currency that is killing it.

So can we conclude that Greece surrendered to France?

Let’s not be ridiculous. The French debt rivals that of Greece, with the difference, of course, that France has a real economy. France owns the largest share of Greek debt after Germany. But nevertheless, France is also eventually threatened by the Eurozone rules that are imposing debt servitude on southern European member states. France is in no position to dictate economic policy to Germany.

And that observation brings us around to the factor that has been overlooked in the case of Greece: the relationship of forces within the “trans-Atlantic community” and its military branch, NATO.

The United States has been relatively discrete during this crisis, but Washington’s will is known. Greece must stay tightly within the European Union, for geopolitical reasons. Just look where Greece is, and what it is: an Orthodox Christian country with traditional good relations with Russia, located on the Mediterranean not so far from “Putin’s Russia”. Greece must not be allowed to drift away. Period.

Another question that has been totally overlooked: is it possible for a NATO member country to shift policy in a way contrary to U.S. interests? Is it free to move toward truly friendly relations with Russia? Greece has seen a military putsch in the not so distant past. The command and control of NATO member countries is closely monitored by the United States military.

Since former President Nicolas Sarkozy reversed General de Gaulle’s strategic move to ensure national independence and returned France to the NATO command, France has indeed aligned itself with Washington to an unprecedented extent. With his brief show of “standing up to Madame Merkel”, François Hollande was in fact carrying out the policy of Victoria Nuland.

The European Union (including Germany) will continue to wrestle with its “Greek problem”, while Greece will continue to be strangled by the European Union.

The European surrender to the United States occurred about seventy years ago. It was welcomed as a liberation, of course, but it has turned into lasting domination. It was simply reconfirmed by the July 12, 2015, Greek surrender. And that surrender has been enforced by an increasingly hegemonic ideology of anti-nationalism, particularly strong in the left, that considers “nationalism” to be the source of all evil, and the European Union the source of all good, since it destroys the sovereignty of nations. This ideology is so dominant on the left that very few leftists dare challenge it – and Syriza was leftist in exactly that way, believing in the virtue of “belonging to the European Union”, whatever the pain and suffering it entails. Thus Syriza did not even prepare for leaving the Eurozone, much less for leaving the European Union.

As a result, only “right-wing” parties dare defend national sovereignty. Or rather, anyone who defends national sovereignty will be labeled “right-wing”. It is too easily forgotten that without national sovereignty, there can be no democracy, no people’s choice. As the Greek disaster obliges more and more Europeans to have serious doubts about EU policy, the mounting desire to reassert national sovereignty faces the obstacle of left-right stereotypes. Much of the European left is finding itself increasingly caught in the contradiction between its anti-nationalist “European dream” and the destruction of democracy by the EU’s financial bureaucracy.  The Greek drama is the opening act of a long and confused European conflict.

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book, Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton, will be published by CounterPunch in September 2015. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

U.S. officials flex their power over Ukrainian parliament

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Nuland and Pyatt, lords of the Verkhovna Rada
By Dmitry Rodonov | SVPressa | July 17, 2015

(Excerpts)

Yesterday the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, introduced to the parliament constitutional amendments on the special status of Donbass. …

The amendments were introduced during the visit to Ukraine by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, who along with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt was present of the floor of the Verkhovna Rada.

Nuland said that the constitutional amendments made by Kiev suggest that Ukraine has fulfilled its obligations under the Minsk Agreement.

According to her, at a meeting with President Petro Poroshenko, they discussed the importance of Ukraine’s compliance with its obligations under the Minsk Agreement. She paid particular attention to the need for legislative recognition of the special status of Donbass. In her opinion, this is necessary for the restoration of peace and territorial integrity in eastern Ukraine.

The special status of Donbass will be “the answer to any question about Ukraine’s compliance with the Minsk agreement,” she said.

Political analyst Victor Shapinov said that to accept constitutional changes you need a minimum of 300 votes of the deputies (out of 450), whereas the draft proposed by Poroshenko received only 288 votes, and will now be sent to the Constitutional Court for examination.

Victor Shapinov: So the case drags on. The law itself was enacted under unprecedented pressure from the United States. Victoria Nuland personally came to the Parliament to conduct the ballot – an unprecedented case even for puppet regimes like South Vietnam. The United States, and even more so the EU, has already “got” the situation where the Kiev regime is defiantly not fulfilling the Minsk agreement. On the other hand, the Kiev regime, under the dictation of the United States, “complied” in such a way that Donbass can under no circumstances accept it.

Once again there is an impasse – which probably suits the Washington strategists.

The Russian media response is surprising, with some beginning to say that Poroshenko’s proposal is exactly what the Donbass republics sought. In fact, the population of the republics initially demanded at least federalization of the country, and then voted in a referendum for complete independence from Ukraine and the creation of their own state.

Free Press: The adopted amendments really look like a mockery of Minsk, which is recognized in Donetsk and Lugansk, and in Moscow. What do you think?

VS: The same. Even Poroshenko said that his proposals do not provide for special status for Donbass and the “additional provisions for the peculiarities of local self-government in some areas of eastern Ukraine.” This is a direct mockery of the spirit and letter of the Minsk accords.

Kiev’s maneuver is obvious — to simulate the execution of Minsk, but in fact leave no chance for the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics to agree to its proposals. It is an attempt to shift responsibility for the escalation of the war onto the republics and put Russia in an awkward position: either Moscow abandons the republics to Kiev under unacceptable conditions, or it becomes responsible for a new round of war.

However, the Kiev authorities have not taken into account that the tail can’t wag the dog. Or if so, not for long. Kiev’s European senior partners have repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the collapse of Minsk-2. Now Washington is unhappy with its satellite. And they don’t hesitate to show this openly. Before our eyes Kiev goes from being a convenient tool in the hands of the West to an inconvenient one. They shame Kiev. And from this it is only one step to withdrawal of support, which the Kiev regime clearly would not survive.

FP:  They speak of completely unprecedented pressure on Kiev from the West to adopt this decision. Why now?

VS:  Washington is now talking about the need for cooperation with Russia on the situation in Syria and the Middle East as a whole. Apparently, by “turning up the heat” on official Kiev, they are trying to show Moscow that an agreement is possible, that for the U.S. the Ukrainian conflict is not so fundamental, and they are willing to compromise. Another thing is that any compromise will be rotten.

FP: Is the adoption of the amendments connected with the intensification of fighting in Donbass?

VS: Quite the opposite. They were training and preparing the intensification of hostilities. Now the United States showed that they can rein in their satellite if necessary. They demonstrate their control over Kiev in tradeoff with Russia.

FP: Will the adopted amendments complicate the standoff with the authorities, provoking another coup by ultra-right radicals?

VS: So far, since Mukachevo, the so-called radicals have demonstrated very limited resources for mobilization. Without the support of the Ukrainian oligarchy and a “signal” from the West, they hardly dare to do anything serious. The United States continues to support Poroshenko, and the EU follows in their footsteps in this regard. The “radicals,” the Nazis, are only a tool of the oligarchy for suppressing street opposition and dissent. No one takes them seriously as contenders for power — at best, merely as junior partners.

Ukrainian journalist Andriy Manchuk stressed that yesterday’s events in Parliament showed that the foreign policy of Ukraine is dictated from outside — and, moreover, no one considers it necessary to conceal this fact from the public.

Andriy Manchuk: Nuland and Pyatt put direct pressure on the ruling coalition to force them to inscribe in the constitution a new version of the special status for the Donbass territory outside Kiev’s control. Of course, it looks like a humiliation for Ukraine’s national dignity, as with some of the Latin American “banana republics” of the last century — even though Latin American society usually responds much more forcefully to such cynical external dictates. And one can be sure that the nationalist rhetoric adopted by the regime is a cover for our country’s loss of sovereignty – even many of its ideological supporters are now becoming aware of that.

Internal policies of Ukraine are determined from the outside — across the full spectrum of major important political and economic issues. And it’s not the Kremlin’s doing.

FP: Adoption of the amendments comes amidst the government’s conflict with the radicals in the west. Is there a connection between these events?

AM: The conflict with the ultra-right, combined with the fact that Poroshenko was unable to hold a vote on the Donbas without the personal intervention of U.S. politicians and diplomats, really shows that the government does not control fully the situation in Ukraine. Another thing is that it fully coincides with the traditional political line of the U.S. State Department, which always seeks to act as an external arbiter between political forces weakened by internal conflicts in countries dependent on the U.S.

FP: Why did the U.S. suddenly decide to put pressure on Poroshenko?

AM: The reasons that the United States forced the Ukrainian parliament to take yesterday’s decision likely has a complex character — that is, it’s determined by different aspects of  U.S.-Russian relations on a wide range of issues, from the Iranian and Syrian issue to behind-the-scenes dialogue on the Ukrainian problem. Both sides are maneuvering in the context of an acute conflict, and are very far from ending the war – as shown by the escalated fighting at the front.

First, despite the fact that most citizens of Ukraine are waiting for peace, the politicians of the ruling coalition, as well as officials and businessmen who profit from this war — not to mention their clientele from among far-right militants, “civil society activists” and pro-government media — are categorically not interested in ending the conflict. And they will do all they can to make it last as long as possible. Second, external political forces that define our country’s policies also see the special status as something very vague that could be disavowed at any time, no more than a political bargaining chip, where the conditional “carrot” balances the “stick” of the proposed tribunal for Boeing [the MH17 crash].

FP: Do you see any non-military solution to the conflict? The media often write about the prospects of a Transnistrian or Bosnian scenario…

AM: Donbass is not Bosnia or Transnistria, and the economic and political situation in Europe and around the world today not at all similar to the situation in the early ‘90s. Peace is possible in the Donbass — the only question is, how many months or years of war separate us from it, and will this conflict be a prelude to more global shocks? I do not think Washington, Brussels or Moscow know the exact answer to this question.

Source

Translated by Greg Butterfield

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , , | 2 Comments

MH-17 Mystery: A New Tonkin Gulf Case?

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | July 17, 2015

One year ago, the world experienced what could become the Tonkin Gulf incident of World War III, the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. As with the dubious naval clash off the coast of North Vietnam in 1964, which helped launch the Vietnam War, U.S. officials quickly seized on the MH-17 crash for its emotional and propaganda appeal – and used it to ratchet up tensions against Russia.

Shocked at the thought of 298 innocent people plunging to their deaths from 33,000 feet last July 17, the world recoiled in horror, a fury that was then focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin. With Putin’s face emblazoned on magazine covers, the European Union got in line behind the U.S.-backed coup regime in Ukraine and endorsed economic sanctions to punish Russia.

In the year that has followed, the U.S. government has continued to escalate tensions with Russia, supporting the Ukrainian regime in its brutal “anti-terrorism operation” that has slaughtered thousands of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. The authorities in Kiev have even dispatched neo-Nazi and ultranationalist militias, supported by jihadists called “brothers” of the Islamic State, to act as the tip of the spear.

Raising world tensions even further, the Russians have made clear that they will not allow the ethnic Russian resistance to be annihilated, setting the stage for a potential escalation of hostilities and even a possible nuclear showdown between the United States and Russia.

But the propaganda linchpin to the West’s extreme anger toward Russia remains the MH-17 shoot-down, which the United States and the West continue to pin on the Russian rebels – and by extension – Russia and Putin. The latest examples are media reports about the Dutch crash investigation suggesting that an anti-aircraft missile, allegedly involved in destroying MH-17, was fired from rebel-controlled territory.

Yet, the U.S. mainstream media remains stunningly disinterested in the “dog-not-barking” question of why the U.S. intelligence community has been so quiet about its MH-17 analysis since it released a sketchy report relying mostly on “social media” on July 22, 2014, just five days after the shoot-down. A source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that the reason for the intelligence community’s silence is that more definitive analysis pointed to a rogue Ukrainian operation implicating one of the pro-regime oligarchs.

The source said that if this U.S. analysis were to see the light of day, the Ukrainian “narrative” that has supplied the international pressure on Russia would collapse. In other words, the Obama administration is giving a higher priority to keeping Putin on the defensive than to bringing the MH-17 killers to justice.

Like the Tonkin Gulf case, the evidence on the MH-17 case was shaky and contradictory from the start. But, in both cases, U.S. officials confidently pointed fingers at the “enemy.” President Lyndon Johnson blamed North Vietnam in 1964 and Secretary of State John Kerry implicated ethnic Russian rebels and their backers in Moscow in 2014. In both cases, analysts in the U.S. intelligence community were less certain and even reached contrary conclusions once more evidence was available.

In both cases, those divergent assessments appear to have been suppressed so as not to interfere with what was regarded as a national security priority – confronting “North Vietnamese aggression” in 1964 and “Russian aggression” in 2014. To put out the contrary information would have undermined the government’s policy and damaged “credibility.” So the facts – or at least the conflicting judgments – were hidden.

The Price of Silence

In the case of the Tonkin Gulf, it took years for the truth to finally emerge and – in the meantime – tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and millions of Vietnamese had lost their lives. Yet, much of the reality was known soon after the Tonkin Gulf incident on Aug. 4, 1964.

Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1964 was a young Defense Department official, recounts – in his 2002 book Secrets – how the Tonkin Gulf falsehoods took shape, first with the panicked cables from a U.S. Navy captain relaying confused sonar readings and then with that false storyline presented to the American people.

As Ellsberg describes, President Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara announced retaliatory airstrikes on Aug. 4, 1964, telling “the American public that the North Vietnamese, for the second time in two days, had attacked U.S. warships on ‘routine patrol in international waters’; that this was clearly a ‘deliberate’ pattern of ‘naked aggression’; that the evidence for the second attack, like the first, was ‘unequivocal’; that the attack had been ‘unprovoked’; and that the United States, by responding in order to deter any repetition, intended no wider war.”

Ellsberg wrote: “By midnight on the fourth, or within a day or two, I knew that each one of those assurances was false.” Yet, the White House made no effort to clarify the false or misleading statements. The falsehoods were left standing for several years while Johnson sharply escalated the war by dispatching a half million soldiers to Vietnam.

In the MH-17 case, we saw something similar. Within three days of the July 17, 2014 crash, Secretary Kerry rushed onto all five Sunday talk shows with his rush to judgment, citing evidence provided by the Ukrainian government through social media. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” David Gregory asked, “Are you bottom-lining here that Russia provided the weapon?”

Kerry: “There’s a story today confirming that, but we have not within the Administration made a determination. But it’s pretty clear when – there’s a build-up of extraordinary circumstantial evidence. I’m a former prosecutor. I’ve tried cases on circumstantial evidence; it’s powerful here.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sKerry’s Latest Reckless Rush to Judgment.”]

Two days later, on July 22, the Director of National Intelligence authorized the release of a brief report essentially repeating Kerry’s allegations. The DNI’s report also cited “social media” as implicating the ethnic Russian rebels, but the report stopped short of claiming that the Russians gave the rebels the sophisticated Buk (or SA-11) surface-to-air missile that the report indicated was used to bring down the plane.

Instead, the report cited “an increasing amount of heavy weaponry crossing the border from Russia to separatist fighters in Ukraine”; it claimed that Russia “continues to provide training – including on air defense systems to separatist fighters at a facility in southwest Russia”; and its noted the rebels “have demonstrated proficiency with surface-to-air missile systems, downing more than a dozen aircraft in the months prior to the MH17 tragedy, including two large transport aircraft.”

Yet, despite the insinuation of Russian guilt, what the public report didn’t say – which is often more significant than what is said in these white papers – was that the rebels had previously only used short-range shoulder-fired missiles to bring down low-flying military planes, whereas MH-17 was flying at around 33,000 feet, far beyond the range of those weapons.

The assessment also didn’t say that U.S. intelligence, which had been concentrating its attention on eastern Ukraine during those months, detected the delivery of a Buk missile battery from Russia, despite the fact that a battery consists of four 16-foot-long missiles that are hauled around by trucks or other large vehicles.

Rising Doubts

I was told that the absence of evidence of such a delivery injected the first doubts among U.S. analysts who also couldn’t say for certain that the missile battery that was suspected of firing the fateful missile was manned by rebels. An early glimpse of that doubt was revealed in the DNI briefing for several mainstream news organizations when the July 22 assessment was released.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sThe Mystery of a Ukrainian ‘Defector.’”]

The Russians also challenged the rush to judgment against them, although the U.S. mainstream media largely ignored – or ridiculed – their presentation. But the Russians at least provided what appeared to be substantive data, including alleged radar readings showing the presence of a Ukrainian jetfighter “gaining height” as it closed to within three to five kilometers of MH-17.

Russian Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov also called on the Ukrainian government to explain the movements of its Buk systems to sites in eastern Ukraine and why Kiev’s Kupol-M19S18 radars, which coordinate the flight of Buk missiles, showed increased activity leading up to the July 17 shoot-down.

The Ukrainian government countered by asserting that it had “evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation,” according to Andrey Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council, using Kiev’s preferred term for the rebels.

On July 29, amid this escalating rhetoric, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of mostly retired U.S. intelligence officials, called on President Barack Obama to release what evidence the U.S. government had, including satellite imagery.

“As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information,” the group wrote. “As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence.”

But the Obama administration failed to make public any intelligence information that would back up its earlier suppositions.

Then, in early August, I was told that some U.S. intelligence analysts had begun shifting away from the original scenario blaming the rebels and Russia to one focused more on the possibility that extremist elements of the Ukrainian government were responsible, funded by one of Ukraine’s rabidly anti-Russian oligarchs. [See Consortiumnews.com’sFlight 17 Shoot-down Scenario Shifts”and “Was Putin Targeted for Mid-air Assassination?”]

Last October, Der Spiegel reported that the German intelligence service, the BND, also had concluded that Russia was not the source of the missile battery – that it had been captured from a Ukrainian military base – but the BND still blamed the rebels for firing it. The BND also concluded that photos supplied by the Ukrainian government about the MH-17 tragedy “have been manipulated,” Der Spiegel reported.

And, the BND disputed Russian government claims that a Ukrainian fighter jet had been flying close to MH-17, the magazine said, reporting on the BND’s briefing to a parliamentary committee on Oct. 8, 2014. But none of the BND’s evidence was made public — and I was subsequently told by a European official that the evidence was not as conclusive as the magazine article depicted. [See Consortiumnews.com’sGermans Clear Russia in MH-17 Case.”]

Dog Still Doesn’t Bark

When the Dutch Safety Board investigating the crash issued an interim report in mid-October, it answered few questions, beyond confirming that MH-17 apparently was destroyed by “high-velocity objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.” The 34-page Dutch report was silent on the “dog-not-barking” issue of whether the U.S. government had satellite surveillance that revealed exactly where the supposed ground-to-air missile was launched and who fired it.

In January, when I re-contacted the source who had been briefed by the U.S. analysts, the source said their thinking had not changed, except that they believed the missile may have been less sophisticated than a Buk, possibly an SA-6, and that the attack may have also involved a Ukrainian jetfighter firing on MH-17.

Since then there have been occasional news accounts about witnesses reporting that they did see a Ukrainian fighter plane in the sky and others saying they saw a missile possibly fired from territory then supposedly controlled by the rebels (although the borders of the conflict zone at that time were very fluid and the Ukrainian military was known to have mobile anti-aircraft missile batteries only a few miles away).

But the larger dog-not-barking question is why the U.S. intelligence community has clammed up for nearly one year, even after I reported that I was being told that U.S. analysts had veered off in a different direction – from the initial blame-the-Russians approach – toward one focusing on a rogue Ukrainian attack.

For its part, the DNI’s office has cited the need for secrecy even as it continues to refer to its July 22 report. But didn’t DNI James Clapper waive any secrecy privilege when he rushed out a report five days after the MH-17 shoot-down? Why was secrecy asserted only after the U.S. intelligence community had time to thoroughly review its photographic and electronic intelligence?

Over the past 11 months, the DNI’s office has offered no updates on the initial assessment, with a DNI spokeswoman even making the absurd claim that U.S. intelligence has made no refinements of its understanding about the tragedy since July 22, 2014.

If what I’ve been told is true, the reason for this silence would likely be that a reversal of the initial rush to judgment would be both embarrassing for the Obama administration and detrimental to an “information warfare” strategy designed to keep the Russians on the defensive.

But if that’s the case, President Barack Obama may be acting even more recklessly than President Johnson did in 1964. As horrific as the Vietnam War was, a nuclear showdown with Russia could be even worse.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 3 Comments

US Prepares to Put More Pressure on Russia, Threatens ‘Scaling Up Costs’

Sputnik | 18.07.2015

The US is prepared to put more pressure on Russia if the conflict in Ukraine escalates, and threatens that “the costs [then] will go up”, according to US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland; she also revealed that the US has spent $150 million on training the Ukrainian military, which it regards as “security assistance”.

“As you know, the sanctions that the international community has put in place – that the US and the EU have in place – are there to change the policy of Russia, to encourage it to fulfill its obligations. We’ve made clear that they will stay in place until Minsk is fully implemented, including an end to the violence, including a return of hostages, a return of the border. But we’ve also made clear that if the violence increases, we’re prepared to put more pressure on Russia,” Nuland said in an interview with the host of “Shuster Live” talk show on 112 Ukraine TV channel.

“Our hope is that we can use this pressure – the increased capability – to see Russia and those that they manage in Donetsk and Lugansk, implement the obligations that they’ve made. If not, the costs will go up,” she said, adding that it will be both economically and militarily.

The politician also revealed that the US has “contributed about $150 million dollars so far to security assistance – to training. We’re training out in Yavoriv.”

Currently over 300 paratroopers from the US army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade have been training the Ukrainian military at the Yavoriv range in the Lviv region since April 20. The declared purpose is “to develop professional skills of the National Guard servicemen.”

US Assistant Secretary of State recently commented on Ukraine’s fulfilment of Minsk agreement, claiming that Kiev’s amendments to its constitution addressing the special status of Donbass “show that Kiev has implemented its side of Minsk II, the second ceasefire agreement in the Donbass conflict”.

The claim was bashed by the chairman of the Russian State Duma’s Foreign Relations Committee as “far from the Minsk Agreements and only close to [President Poroshenko] own political fantasies.”

On July 16, Poroshenko submitted a proposal on constitutional amendments which would address the special status of the Donbass region to the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

The draft amendments to Ukraine’s Constitution imply no federalization or special status for the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics known as Donbas, President Poroshenko said on Thursday.

“There is not a single hint of federalization. Ukraine was, is and will remain a unitary state. The draft envisages no special status of Donbas. I am sure that the proposed draft is no way beyond the framework of the Minsk agreements,” Poroshenko said.

According to the draft amendments, “a special law will regulate peculiarities of local self-government” in the districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

However, the Verkhovna Rada is not set to vote for the constitutional amendments submitted by Poroshenko and this draft will be sent to the Constitutional Court, an MP from the Poroshenko Bloc faction said earlier on Thursday.

Constitutional amendments providing more autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions were stipulated by the February Minsk agreements signed by Kiev and Donbass representatives, along with a ceasefire deal.

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

US oil service giants yearn for return to Iran

Press TV – July 18, 2015

Halliburton and Schlumberger, both among the world’s largest oilfield services companies, are waiting in hopeful anticipation that Iran will ramp up oil exports, US media have said.

The Houston-based giants have “a well-established presence” in the Persian Gulf region and given the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)’s vast oilfield service needs, the US firms are positioned to benefit, the Houston Business Journal said.

“They are the quiet beneficiaries,” Randall Grace, lead energy analyst at Houston-based Chilton Capital Management, told the publication.

“Schlumberger is the Western company with substantial expertise in Iran, operating for several decades until sanctions forced their departure in 2013,” said Grace.

Schlumberger’s commitment to Iran is so strong that one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries forked over $232.7 million in penalties to the US Department of Justice in March, the Journal said.

“And let’s not forget the incentives. Iranian revenue was $418 million for Schlumberger in 2012, with operating margins north of 50%, more than double the corporate average of about 20%,” it added.

“The profitability potentials are huge,” said Grace, according to the Houston Business Journal.

Non-US affiliates of Schlumberger continued to work for the NIOC and its subsidiaries after the American company ceased operations in Iran in 2013.

According to Schlumberger’s Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard, cited by the media, the company was awaiting the lifting of sanctions on Iran to return to the country.

“When the sanctions are lifted and when it is permissible, we will evaluate going back in,” he was quoted as saying.

Iran’s energy officials have said the country would raise oil output by 500,000 barrels per day after two months and by 1 million bpd after six months when the sanctions were lifted.

On Wednesday, NIOC Managing Director Rokneddin Javadi said Iran’s oil production could reach its pre-sanctions level of 4 million bpd within six to 12 months if there is enough demand. He said NIOC had tested a production increase and been ordered to raise output in all fields.

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , | 1 Comment

The Iran Nuclear Straw Man

By Patrick Foy | CounterPunch | July 17, 2015

Am I laughing. As Peace Prize Obama lectures us and the Republicans and Neocons have a cow, maybe we should pause to contemplate the full fraudulent spectacle in progress and analyze what we are being told about the just-concluded nuclear negotiations with Iran.

First of all, I’ve been wondering what in the world the phalanx of negotiators could possibly have been talking about behind closed doors all these many months, busting through multiple deadlines, in view of the fact that Iran possesses no nukes and has no nuclear weapons program, is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and that Iran’s Mullah leadership has denounced and outlawed nuclear weapons from day one.

In the second place, it is amazing that any deal at all was arrived at, since Obama & Company, following in the footsteps of Bush and Clinton, has allowed the incredible demonization of Iran to go unchecked and unchallenged. The demonization continues and may yet blow up the agreement on Capitol Hill.

Both the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini (who ignited a revolution which terminated the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979) and the current supreme leader, the Grand Ayatollah Hosseini Khamenei, issued Fatwas which prohibit the manufacture and/or use of nuclear weapons by Iran.

On top of that, the U.S. intelligence community has itself informed the White House, the U.S. Senate, and the Congress of the non-existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program in no uncertain terms in 2007.  These conclusions were reiterated in 2011. The information was contained in National Intelligence Estimates compiled by Washington’s 16 intelligence agencies.

Alas, no one at the White House or on Capitol Hill dares mention these important documents, or cares to inform the ignorant American public about the facts. Why? Do the beltway politicians want the average American to remain in the dark? Hmm. What is going on here?

What is going on is blatant extortion and blackmail by the Obama White House, with Tehran on the receiving-end. President Obama has done a very effective job of it, building upon the hysteria, insanity and wholesale mendacity of the Cheney Regency, aka, the G.W. Bush Presidency. Obama does indeed deserve a prize for taking the targeting of Iran to the next level.

The non-existent Iranian nuke program and the purported, much-hyped Iranian race to build a nuclear weapon have been used as a stick to try to beat Iran into the ground, or at least to its knees, via all-encompassing economic and financial sanctions. The injustice and dishonesty of this undertaking is breathtaking. Europe stood by and watched. No, it did more. It joined in. The hapless leadership in Tehran had no choice at the end of the day but to deal with the extortionists. Tehran wanted to reunite with the world economy.

Here it gets tricky. Because Tehran had no nukes and Tehran knew that Washington knew that Tehran had no nukes, what exactly could Tehran do to prove a negative–thereby eliminating the purported “threat”–which negative was already well known to be a fact by the sanctimonious, stone-faced extortionists sitting across the table? Tehran concluded, nevertheless, it should go along with this charade, and not embarrass Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. In short, Tehran decided the best tactic was to humor the bullying White House.

All that mattered for Tehran was an abatement of economic warfare and, most importantly, renewed access to European markets and to the international banking system. To achieve this, Tehran has agreed, under the current document, to amazingly intrusive, and redundant intervention into its nuclear energy program. This amounts to a de facto foreign takeover of the Iranian civilian nuclear program. It is an insult to Iran’s sovereignty, but what has Iran actually lost? It had nothing to lose to begin with.

One might ask as this point: what was the motivation for Washington’s peculiar conduct? Well, here it is. In the United States, as in Europe, there is something called domestic politics, which has now degenerated into a self-perpetuating business, dominated by special interest groups and lobbies, all largely driven by cash, to wit, campaign contributions. It is big business.

Since the general public does not have the time nor inclination to figure out which politician is relatively honest and which is an outright charlatan, advertising is most important to clarify the issue. Brainwashing or, if you like, spin and PR, costs money. It requires enormous campaign contributions and media support.

To achieve that, Washington politicians, if they want to hold onto their jobs, must pander to what is called the Israel Lobby, the most powerful lobby in Washington. In this direct way and by this simple method, domestic politics gets translated immediately into foreign policy. At least with respect to the Middle East, U.S. foreign policy has nothing to do with what is right and wrong, reasonable or ridiculous, or even about what is in the best interests of the United States or the American people.

All that is secondary. First and foremost are the dictates of the U.S. Israel Lobby, whose apparatchiki receive their cue from Tel Aviv, currently run by Likud and its leader, the charming con man Benny Netanyahu whom some consider to be a war criminal. That’s it in a nutshell.

I realize that the above scenario might appear outlandish and grotesque, but it actually conforms to business as usual. For confirmation, you might study chapter 10–“Iran in the Crosshairs”–of The Israel Lobby (2007) by Professors John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt. It should be on the desk of every Senator and Congressman in Washington, if only to give them a second chance to mend their ways.

In the meantime, please read the up-to-the-minute article by Professor William O. Beeman, titled “Iran Won the Vienna Accords By Agreeing to Stop What It Never Was Doing”. Beeman is an Iran expert, curiously unfazed by establishment propaganda.

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Abdulazeez and Abdulaziz

By Robert Barsocchini | Empire Slayer | July 17, 2015

Former engineer Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, according to investigators, was a lone gunman with no prior infractions who this week targeted two US military facilities in Tennessee, killing four militants and no civilians.

Salman bin Abdulaziz is one of the world’s worst dictators. He has many prior infractions, such as publicly announcing becoming a rogue nuclear state, beheading and torturing hundreds of people and repressing millions, and is currently carrying out a war of aggression against one of the poorest countries in the world, Yemen, killing thousands of civilians and enforcing a blockade that risks starving millions, as Yemen imports almost all of its food.

The despot Abdulaziz is one of Washington’s top allies. His terrorist regime is the recipient of the biggest shipment of weapons in US history, approved by Obama in 2010 (the US is the world’s biggest arms trafficker). These killing machines are now being used on the people of Yemen. In 2013, Obama sent the despot almost a billion dollars worth of banned cluster bombs, which both Obama and Abdulaziz have now used against Yemenis.

Many foreign nationals are trapped in the war-zone in Yemen, and eight countries, including India, China, and Russia, are performing risky missions to rescue civilians, their own citizens as well as others. While there are thousands of US civilians trapped in Yemen, Washington vocally refuses to rescue them, issuing a facile claim that it would be too risky, while at the same time performing rescue missions for Saudi pilots whose planes have gone down in Yemen.

Washington is also personally coordinating with dictator Abdulaziz on the strikes, and is refueling the US planes being flown by Saudi pilots.

Obama continues to bomb Yemen himself, killing hundreds of suspects and civilians in a death campaign he has been pursuing for years. He is also participating in enforcing the blockade, which human rights groups say has led the country to the brink of a mass humanitarian catastrophe.

The attack by Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez is a small and diluted taste – no explosives were used and no suspects or civilians were killed – of what drone strikes on one’s country are like.

Whenever the US gets a small taste of its own medicine, it doesn’t like it, yet continues to administer the medicine to others in mega-doses. Washington elites know their violence causes violent retaliation, but continue it because they themselves are insulated and safe, and only lower-level grunts and civilians, their human shields, will take the hits.

The Tennessee shooter is quoted in his high school year book as saying that his name, Abdulazeez, “causes national security alerts”. This is now literally true, but is dependent on circumstances. One attack by an Abdulazeez is saturating US headlines and receiving stark condemnation from the US government/oligarchy (Obama called it “heartbreaking”), while an incomparably worse attack by an incomparably worse Abdulaziz, raining down on thousands of people, including US Americans abandoned by their oligarchy, is met with media silence and extreme support and participation from Washington.

Author is a US-based researcher focusing on force dynamics, national and global. @_DirtyTruths

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sectarian, tribal wars protecting Israel: Khamenei

Press TV – July 18, 2015

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the ongoing sectarian and tribal wars have been imposed on the Middle East region to deflect Muslims’ attention away from the atrocities of the Israeli regime.

The Leader made the remarks in a Saturday meeting with senior Iranian officials and ambassadors of Muslim countries posted in Iran on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

“If the Islamic Ummah were united and relied on their own commonalities, they would certainly be a unique power in the international political scene but big powers have imposed such divisions on the Islamic Ummah to pursue their own interests and safeguard the Zionist regime [of Israel],” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader added that certain incompetent officials in Muslim countries support the “illegitimate” Israeli regime, noting that arrogant powers created “criminal” terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the ISIL.

“Iran has no trust in the US because American politicians are completely dishonest and unfair,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

He stressed the importance of reinforcing unity among Muslim nations, and said Shia and Sunni Muslims have long coexisted peacefully in the region.

“With regard to regional issues like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Bahrain, the Islamic Republic of Iran does not pursue its own interests but it believes that the main decision-makers in these counties are the nations and others have no right to interfere and make decisions,” the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to arrogant powers’ policies on Yemen, saying the US is supporting the Arab country’s fugitive former president who left the country at a sensitive juncture.

He added that arrogant powers also seek to overthrow a popular government in Iraq, sow discord among Muslims and divide the country, but the Islamic Republic’s policy vis-a-vis its western neighbor is based on supporting a democratic government, resisting factors of civil wars and defending Iraq’s territorial integrity.

Arrogant powers intend to oust the Syrian government which is strongly resisting the Israeli regime, the Leader said, adding that Iran considers an anti-Zionist country as useful for the Muslim world.

Ayatollah Khamenei once again reaffirmed Iran’s support for the Lebanese resistance movement due to its bravery and genuine resistance against aggressive powers.

“The Americans dub the Lebanese resistance as terrorist and regard Iran as a supporter of terrorism because of its support for the Lebanese Hezbollah, while the Americans, themselves, are the real terrorists who have created Daesh [ISIL] and support the wicked Zionists,” the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei further pointed to the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in Vienna, and called on the Iranian nation to remain united because the negotiators are pursuing national interests.

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian teen near Gaza Strip border

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Ma’an – July 18, 2015

GAZA CITY – Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian teenager Friday evening in the town of Abasan al-Kabira east of the Khan Younis district in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

Mansour Abu Taima, 14, was reportedly hit with a live bullet in his left foot near the border line.

The teen was taken to the Gaza European Hospital for treatment where his injury was reported as moderate.

An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on the incident.

Last week, there were at least 11 incidents of live fire from Israeli forces towards Palestinians in “access restricted areas” inside of the Gaza Strip, according to the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Also referred to as a “buffer zone” Israeli authorities restrict access by Palestinian residents to areas along both the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip.

The zone is enforced on the pretext of security, however its exact limits have historically fluctuated and have had a detrimental impact on the Palestinian agricultural and fishing sectors.

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian civilians near the border since a ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 ended a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

Part of the agreement intended to pave the way for eased restrictions on access to border areas.

In March alone, there were a total of 38 incidents of shootings and incursions into the Strip as well as arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).

That was up from 26 incidents through February that left seven Palestinians injured and one dead.

According to PCHR, the “buffer zone,” which Palestinians are prohibited from entering, “is illegal under both Israeli and international law.”

The group said: “The precise area designated by Israel as a ‘buffer zone’ is not clear and this Israeli policy is typically enforced with live fire.”

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment