Aletho News


The Precarious State of the Private-Sector Drone Industry

By Jay Stanley | ACLU | September 9, 2015

A lot of people are taking it as a given that drones will become ubiquitous in the coming years. But it seems to me that that’s far from a given; there is still a lot of uncertainty over the future of this technology (and therefore over the kinds of privacy threats and free expression opportunities that it will in the end present).

This is an industry that is still in a very early stage of its development, when it is highly sensitive to shocks. Incidents and accidents that happen at this stage can have lifetime effects, lasting many decades. That is especially true with a huge media spotlight on this technology. The amount of press coverage generated by the landing of a harmless toy drone inside the White House fence is indicative here.

Imagine the uproar if we were to see somebody put a gun on a drone and start shooting people remotely. Or drones used to bypass security perimeters and deliver explosives to a high-value target such as the White House. Even if the explosives did no more than blow a small hole in the White House lawn in the middle of the night, hurting no one, that would decisively alter the course of the drone industry.

Another possibility is some kind of spectacular accident. The safety record of this new technology is not great. There has been a lot of attention paid lately to drone “near-misses” with passenger airliners. (I have heard some experts express doubt that an accidental collision between a small drone and an airliner would cause the airliner to crash—but that’s certainly not something anyone wants subject to uncontrolled real-world tests.) Should a drone bring down an airliner, the drone industry might never recover. Even an accident in which a drone falls out of the sky could be a game-changer. If the 375-pound military drone that crashed onto an elementary school playground in Pennsylvania in April 2014 had killed children, we would likely be having a different conversation today.

Even without anything so dramatic, an accumulation of smaller accidents could shape the technology over time. Any technology that involves complex interactions with human beings will inevitably have some rocky times as we attempt to smoothly integrate it into life. If drones—even small lightweight private ones—are regularly crashing onto people’s rooftops, windshields, and heads, tolerance for the technology is likely to go down fast. If drones become popular enough that the skies over our neighborhoods are regularly criss-crossed with them, this could well happen—especially given the many unknowns such as whether territorially jealous birds will routinely attack them.

There may also be a nuisance factor. Even if large numbers of small drones constantly flying overhead turn out not to be dangerous, they may simply annoy people. To start with there’s the buzzing noise they make, and of course there’s also privacy. At the ACLU we have been most focused on the danger that drones will be used to construct regimes of constant wide-area surveillance. And there is a very real potential that private-sector drones may also become a tool for directly harmful privacy invasions. But even without such significant invasions, private-sector drones may spark nebulous feelings of intrusion. I found it interesting in this regard that firefighters in a recently circulated video found drones to be annoying enough that they tried to blast them out of the sky with their hoses. When a drone hovered over a crowd of hockey fans after a 2014 game in Los Angeles, a “mob mentality set in” as the LA Times put it, and “revelers were throwing everything they could to knock the drone down.”

I can’t claim to know what motivates people in incidents like these. I do know that while photography in public is a First Amendment right, as a matter of etiquette it is often unacceptable. As I’ve discussed before, training a camera on someone who does not want to be photographed may be constitutionally protected in public (as is yelling and swearing at them), but it is also perceived as rude.

These kinds of factors may add up to a general feeling by communities that they’d rather do without the putative advantages of widespread drone usage. In this drones may prove to fall into the same category as Google Glass—a widely anticipated and talked about technology that is naively viewed as inevitable, but ultimately one that remains confined to relatively narrow applications due to the subtleties and caprices of human etiquette.

All this makes it very hard to predict what will happen to this technology. In many ways what we’re witnessing is a race against time. If drones prove to be useful enough machines with enough practical benefits that Americans feel they can’t live without them, they’ll likely tolerate the occasional tragic accident or terrorist attack, as well as a good deal of annoyance. But if the disaster happens first, drones may never get a chance to prove themselves.

September 9, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

City of Boston’s license plate reader database was online in plain text with no password protection

PrivacySOS | September 8, 2015

The Boston Transportation Department has been operating a license plate tracking program seeking to identify parking scofflaws, people with expired insurance, stolen cars, and even people suspected of gang and terrorist ties, according to recently discovered documents. Up until a few weeks ago, this sensitive information about thousands of people, including every person with a Boston resident parking permit, was stored online in plain text for the world to see.

In mid-August 2015, officials in Boston were surprised to receive a phone call from journalist Kenneth Lipp, who informed them that the Boston Transportation Department’s entire license plate reader database was online and available to download for anyone with an internet connection. There was no password guarding the database, which contained a million or so license plate reader records, the home addresses of every single person with a Boston parking permit, and lists of 2,500 people the police or FBI (it remains unclear which) have designated suspected gang members or terrorists, among other data.

Through some Googling, Lipp discovered that BTD’s license plate reader system, run by the Canadian technology giant Genetec, was dumping all of its records into an online server maintained by a Xerox subsidiary for the world to see—if it knew where to look.

Included in the files available on this public facing, password-free server were records suggesting that the Boston Police Department has been piggybacking off BTD license plate reader data for years. One of the files shows what appear to be records of automated emails from the BTD server to the Boston Police department’s stolen vehicle office, alerting the police each time a car on the stolen car hotlist encountered a BTD license plate reader.

I was surprised to discover these records because in 2013, in the wake of local reporter Shawn Musgrave’s expose on privacy and civil liberties problems with the department’s license plate reader program, the Boston Police told the public that it was scrapping the program altogether. The Xerox records suggest scrapping isn’t at all what occurred. Indeed, the automated emails from BTD’s license plate reader program to the Boston Police, left on the Xerox server for anyone to download at will, appear to have started at around the same time the cops told the public they’d stopped using license plate readers. That’s to say, instead of scrapping the program as the police told the public they would, BPD appears to have bootstrapped their license plate reader program from BTD data.

While the Boston Transportation Department’s license plate reader program is primarily used for parking enforcement, the records obtained freely online reveal that the information was processed for other purposes that go well beyond hunting for stolen cars.

Lipp reports for the Dig :

In collecting data, the BTD patrols city blocks—in some cases, both literally and figuratively sweeping the street with ALPR-equipped sanitation trucks—and not exclusively in search of plates belonging to scofflaws. Files obtained in our investigation reveal that as the BTD’s software searches databases, it alerts department operators if a plate is connected to a “convicted person on supervised release,” or to someone pegged to a “protection order.” Commonly called hotlists, these compendiums are created by fusing criminal intelligence from sources like the FBI’s National Crime Information Center and the AMBER Alert program, as well as from data furnished by banks, collection agencies, and the civil court system.

It’s not clear whether or how the public is any safer when authorities use massive watchlists. In Boston, a city of approximately 600,000 people, parking enforcement has one hotlist with 720,000 hits, each of which notes a plate number, location info, and available make and model data. Among the targets listed in August: 19 license numbers classified as “immediate threats,” nearly 4,000 affiliated with “wanted persons,” 25 plates linked to bad checks, 75 tied to payment defaults, and 468,617 flagged for cancelled insurance. Also exposed were 2,500 hits on a “Gang/Terrorist Watch…”

We don’t know for certain from which list the 2,500 people identified as gang members or terrorists were so designated, or who designated them, but a likely suspect is the FBI’s Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF) database.

According to a 2007 Inspector General report, the FBI at that time included nearly half a million people in this database, assigning them one of three codes meant to inform law enforcement “whether there is an active arrest warrant, a basis to detain the individual, or an interest in obtaining additional intelligence information regarding the individual,” respectively.

It’s not certain that the 2,500 people identified as “Gang/Terrorist Watch” in the Xerox/Boston Transportation Department license plate reader database were identified as such because of their inclusion in the FBI’s VGTOF, but it seems probable. The FBI may be interested to know that information about who is a suspected terrorist is posted on the internet for anyone in the world to download and peruse.

Government agencies routinely implore the public to trust them with our sensitive information, whether it’s license plate reader records detailing our movements and life patterns or information collected about political activists for so-called “public safety” purposes. But incidents like this one demonstrate that we should be very circumspect about allowing governments and corporations to collect, share, and manipulate information about us in secret.

Journalist Kenneth Lipp found this database and exposed it to the company and transportation department, triggering an added layer of security that shielded the information from the public. We will likely never know how many other people stumbled across it, or what they might have done with the information, before then.

September 9, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

American False Flags That Started Wars

By Robert Fantina | Blacklisted News | September 9, 2015

KITCHENER, Ontario — As this is being written, Congress is experiencing extensive and dramatic hand-wringing as it decides between doing what is best for the country and the world or doing what is best for the American Israel Political Affairs Committee. This is no easy task for members of Congress, especially Democrats who, on the one hand, want to assure a “victory” for President Barack Obama, but who are also loathe to displease the Israeli lobby. Whether preventing a war factors into their deliberations is not known.

AIPAC and its countless minions in Congress are painting the recent agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany), as nothing short of the end of Israel.

If this deal preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons is approved, they warn darkly, Iran will secretly develop nuclear weapons. This will mean the destruction of Israel, they say. But if it isn’t approved, Iran will develop such weapons. This, they say, will also mean the destruction of Israel. Feel free to re-read those sentences whenever time allows.

From this point of view, the only alternative is war, with the ostensible purpose of destroying Iran’s nuclear capabilities — capabilities that the Islamic Republic has always said are for peaceful energy purposes. Yet the risk of Iran ever having nuclear weapons is too great. If it did obtain them, then Israel would have a hostile nation to counterbalance its power in the Middle East, and, of course, it doesn’t want that competition. And whatever Israel wants, the U.S. wants. Hence the fear-mongering.

This is a tried-and-true method in the U.S. of getting wars started: Tell lies about some situation that can be construed as a threat to U.S. security (or in this case, Israel’s national security, which seems to be threatened by just about everything), get the populace riled up with jingoistic fervor, watch pompous politicians proclaim their great patriotism on the evening news, and then go bomb some country or other.

The U.S. again gets to flex its international muscle, the citizenry is, for some bizarre reason, proud of the destruction the country has caused, the weapons manufacturers spend all their time tallying their astronomical profits, and all is once again right in the twisted world of U.S. governance.

A few examples will suffice to show that this means of starting wars has been used repeatedly. The examples discussed herein do not by any means represent an exhaustive list, but only show that lying to the world to make the citizenry believe that the U.S. or its citizens had been threatened in some way, and that war was the only response, is business as usual in the U.S.

The War of 1812 (June 18, 1812 – Feb. 18, 1815)

Less than 40 years after the American Revolution, the still-new U.S. government felt constrained in areas of international trade, despite tremendous growth in such trade in the years leading up to the war. In 1811, Britain issued an Order-in-Council, excluding American salted fish from the West Indian colonies and imposing heavy duties on other U.S. imports. This, the U.S. could not countenance.

Additionally, although the heady concept of Manifest Destiny would not actually be defined for several more years, territorial expansion was always on the minds of the leaders of the fledgling nation. Canada, with its rich abundance of natural resources and wide expanses of land, was coveted.


The Battle Lake Borgne Hornbrook, War of 1812.

Yet trade and expansion were not foremost on the minds of the populace, at least not sufficiently for them to support a war. But many nations at this time had a policy of impressment, wherein the ships of another country were boarded, and their sailors kidnapped and forced to work for the kidnapping navy. This was something with which the common man and woman could identify. Although this wasn’t a common occurrence, it was exaggerated and combined with the trade issues to introduce the rallying cry of “Free Trade and Sailor’s Rights,” Carl Benn wrote in his 2003 book “Essential Histories: The War of 1812.” However, this wasn’t a simple, spontaneous cry of justice. It seems to have been promoted by annexationists running the government, and was sufficient for the U.S. to start an unsuccessful war against Canada.

Spanish-American War (April 25, 1898 – Aug 12. 1898)

Fast-forward to the end of the 19th century. On Feb. 15, 1898, the battleship Maine exploded in Havana harbor, killing 266 men. According to Hyman George Rickover, in his 1976 book “How the Battleship Maine was Destroyed”:

“Lieutenant Frank F. Fletcher, on duty at the Bureau of Ordnance, wrote in a personal letter to [Lieutenant Albert] Gleaves: ‘The disaster to the Maine is the one topic here now. Everybody is gradually settling down to the belief that the disaster was due to the position of the magazine next to the coal bunkers in where there must have been spontaneous combustion.’”


Theodore Roosevelt (center front, just left of the flag) and his “Rough Riders,” 1898.

The official inquiry into the disaster, however, concluded that an underwater mine had been the culprit. With the battle cry “Remember the Maine,” the U.S. quickly declared war on Spain.

But this “inquiry” was more than a bit flawed. Two widely-recognized experts in ordnance volunteered their services for the investigation, but were not invited to participate. One of them, Prof. Philip Alger, had greatly displeased Secretary of the Navy, and future president, Theodore Roosevelt, when he commented on the disaster in an interview for the Washington Evening Star a few days after it happened. He said, in part, the following, as reproduced by Rickover:

“As to the question of the cause of the Maine’s explosion, we know that no torpedo that is known to modern warfare, can of itself cause an explosion of the character of that on board the Maine. We know of no instances where the explosion of a torpedo or mine under a ship’s bottom has exploded the magazine within. It has simply torn a great hole in the side or bottom, through which water entered, and in consequence of which the ship sunk. Magazine explosions, on the contrary, produce effects exactly similar to the effects of the explosion on board the Maine. When it comes to seeking the cause of the explosion of the Maine’s magazine, we should naturally look not for the improbable or unusual causes, but those against which we have had to guard in the past.”

But Roosevelt was anxious to establish the U.S. as a world power, especially in terms of its Navy. By accusing Spain of blowing up the ship, he had the perfect excuse to launch the Spanish-American War.

The Vietnam War (major U.S. involvement: 1964 – 1975)

Off the coast of China and northern Vietnam is the Gulf of Tonkin, which was the staging area for the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the early 1960s. On the evening of Aug. 4, 1964, the U.S. destroyers Maddox and the C. Turner Joy were in the gulf, when the Maddox’s instruments indicated that the ship was under attack or had been attacked. Both ships began firing into the darkness, with support from U.S. warplanes. However, they “later decided they had been shooting at ghost images on their radar. … The preponderance of the available evidence indicates there was no attack.”

U.S. Huey helicopter spraying Agent Orange over Vietnam. (Photo by the U.S. Army Operations in Vietnam R.W. Trewyn, Ph.D.)

U.S. Huey helicopter spraying Agent Orange over Vietnam. (Photo by the U.S. Army Operations in Vietnam R.W. Trewyn, Ph.D.)

Yet something needed to be done about Vietnam, with anti-Communist hysteria still rampant in the U.S., and this gave Congress the perfect ploy to escalate the war. This non-incident was presented to the world as an act of aggression against the U.S. Congress quickly passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. By the end of the following year, the number of U.S. soldiers invading Vietnam increased from 23,000 to 184,300. Eleven years later, with over 55,000 U.S. soldiers dead, hundreds of thousands wounded, and, by conservative estimates, 2,000,000 Vietnamese dead, the U.S. fled Vietnam in defeat.

The Gulf War (Aug. 2, 1990 – Feb. 28, 1991)

In order to gain support for the Gulf War of 1990, Congress and President George Bush relied heavily on what is commonly referred to as the Nayirah testimony. In early October 1990, a 15-year-old girl referred to only as “Nayirah,” who claimed to have been a hospital volunteer, testified of seeing babies dumped by Iraqi soldiers from hospital incubators. This, in the eyes of Congress and the president, highlighted the monstrosity of Iraq, and was widely used to gain support for the war.

However, like nearly all of the information the government feeds to the citizenry to start its wars, this testimony was all lies. “Nayirah” was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. She later admitted that she had once visited the hospital in question, but only for a few minutes. She did see an infant removed from an incubator, but only very briefly. A group called Citizens for a Free Kuwait had hired one of the world’s foremost public relations firms, Hill and Knowlton, to create the illusion of legitimacy for an invasion. They coached “Nayirah” on what to say and how to say it when she appeared before Congress.

We will do no more than mention the U.S.’s drafting of a letter for Grenada to send to the U.S., requesting military intervention when that small island nation’s government was overthrown in 1983. Nor will we dwell on the weapons of mass destruction that Iraq was said to possess in 2002, which justified in the eyes of U.S. citizens the disastrous 2003 invasion of that nation. But as we look at this ugly record of lies that the U.S. has used to expand its territory, power and/or influence around the world, we must consider that it is once again using the same tactics to march the nation toward war with Iran.

The U.S. for generations was successful in deceiving its citizens, and a good part of the world, that it was a beacon of freedom and peace, despite the fact that it has been at war for most of its bloody existence. That myth began to crack during the Vietnam War, broke into pieces with the Iraq War, and may have been dealt a fatal blow by the U.S.’s support of Israeli atrocities in 2014.

Regardless of the outcome of the congressional vote on the Iran agreement, the U.S. will find itself less able to lie its way into corporate wars in the future. That capacity diminished during the lead-up to the Iraqi invasion, and while no one ever went broke betting on the gullibility and short-term memory of the U.S. citizenry, people are beginning to wake up. When they finally do, much of the carnage in the world will end. That day cannot come soon enough.

September 9, 2015 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Media will misdirect with emotion while 9/11 anniversary events explore actual evidence

By Craig McKee | Truth and Shadows | September 8, 2015

It’s that time of year once again, when the public’s interest in 9/11 propaganda is resuscitated for a few days and the volume of lies is ramped up to meet the demand.

The members of the general public who pay any attention to the 14th anniversary will sit in front of their TVs watching mainstream coverage that tells them to “Remember 9/11” but deceives them about what they should remember. One thing the media will never do is encourage viewers to question what they’ve been told about what actually happened and who was really responsible. There may be some mention of the effort to declassify the famous 28 pages that allegedly point to Saudi involvement in 9/11, but only because that does not challenge the idea that America was attacked by external terrorists. It goes without saying that there will be nothing said about U.S. or Israeli involvement in the “attacks.”

What media focus there is will be on courage, loss, heroism, and emotion. There will be no time for thinking at all. There will be no real journalism. Nothing will be challenged or challenging. Nothing will be investigated. It will be “poignant” and “inspiring” and vapid. That is not to say that real tragedy isn’t being commemorated or that genuine heartbreak isn’t being recognized. There were victims: those killed that day; those who worked at Ground Zero who have died of cancer in the years since, and the millions worldwide who have been killed in the bogus war on terror and the real wars that it has instigated and fueled.

All the while, outside of the media’s selective gaze, dedicated truth activists who don’t just think about 9/11 when the media tells them to will be holding conferences, screening films, and commemorating the greatest deception of our time in a variety of ways. Most hold out hope that their family and friends and other ordinary people might take a look at the evidence, even just the basics, even just for a few minutes, and that they might open their minds just a crack. The dream is that people will slowly awaken to the fact that 9/11 was a blatant false flag operation designed to start foreign wars, kick start the police state at home, and generally advance the New World Order agenda.

Most of the people I know have refused to seriously question anything about 9/11. They not only accept the official narrative, but often they stand with the real perpetrators in ridiculing any suggestion that we’ve been lied to for the last 14 years. Yes, some will express doubts about whether we’ve been told the whole truth and offer some friendly encouragement, but then they will go about their business as usual, content to continue seeing the world just as they always have.

So, as we begin year 15, we continue the fight to expose the truth about 9/11 and the horrific injustices it has spawned. Here are some of the events of note going on across North America this week. Undoubtedly there are many more.

Global online conference by Canadian truthers

On Sept. 11 and 12, there will be an online conference coming out of Canada called “9/11 Global Interactive Broadcast to expose lies of the 9/11 Attacks and the War on Terror” that will feature some impressive scholars and researchers. The lineup includes Barrie Zwicker, Graeme MacQueen, James Corbett, Cynthia McKinney, Kevin Ryan, Daniele Ganser, and David Johnson. The moderator will be Bev Collins, the host of the Internet radio show 9/11 Talks. For details about the speaking schedule and to watch a live stream of the event, go to

9/11 Symposium in New York

On Sept. 12 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. EST at the West Park Presbyterian Church, located at 165 West 86th Street , there will be a 9/11 Symposium called “Declassify the Truth: 9/11 Transparency on the Rise” that features an impressive list of researchers and some interesting panel discussions. Among those speaking are Wayne Madsen, Lance De Haven Smith, Barbara Honegger, Bob McIlvaine, Frances Schure, Russ Baker, Sander Hicks, and a number of others. Tickets are $25.

AE911Truth billboard across from New York Times

Once again this year, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth will have a very visible presence in New York City in the month of September. Last year it was a video screen in Times Square and this year it will be a billboard directly opposite the New York Times building. This was the original plan last year but had to be changed when the location became unavailable at the last minute. AE911Truth estimates that the billboard will be seen by 100,000 people a day and 3 million over the course of the month.

Beyond Misinformation booklet available

HELP US BREAK THE CYCLE OF MISINFORMATIONIn time for the 14th anniversary, AE911Truth has also released its 50-page color booklet called Beyond Misinformation.

I was privileged to be one of the contributing writers on this project, which was headed up by Ted Walter (who I think did an incredible job). Every word in the booklet was vetted by an expert panel put together by AE.

I hope to do a full article on the project soon.

For more information or to order, go to

New film exposes myths

The new 90-minute film Firefighters, Architects & Engineers Expose the Myths of 9/11, a joint presentation of Richard Gage of AE911Truth and Erik Lawyer, the founder of Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, will have its premiere on Sept. 11 in New York City.

The film addresses several of the myths surrounding the destruction of the WTC and the failure of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to comply with the requirements of the national guideline for fire and explosion investigations.

The screening takes place at 7 p.m. EST at the West Park Presbyterian Church, located at 165 West 86th Street. Both Gage and Lawyer will be on hand.

Pentagon gets attention at film fest

SF film fest posterThe 9/11 Truth Film Festival, this year called “9/11: The Myth and the Maintenance,” is taking place again this year at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland and will feature an assortment of films, videos, and speakers. The event, organized by Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance, runs between 1 p.m. PST and 10 p.m. PST (4 p.m. to 1 a.m. EST) on Sept. 10. Tickets are $15 at the door, and the event can also be live-streamed at in return for a donation.

The Pentagon gets particular attention from the festival with a screening Barbara Honegger’s Beyond the Smoke Curtain and a preview of Ken Jenkins’ unfinished film The Pentagon Plane Puzzle. Jenkins, who is the main organizer of the festival, has made it his mission to push the plane-impact position despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Also taking that puzzling position is David Chandler, who will deliver a talk called: “Going Beyond Speculation: A Scientific Look at the Pentagon Evidence.” I will have a great deal to say about the Jenkins and Chandler presentations in an upcoming post. But I can’t resist a comment on the presumptuousness of the title of Chandler’s talk: “Going Beyond Speculation…” Apparently Chandler is the first researcher in 14 years to look at the evidence; everybody else was just “speculating.”

We’ll see the premiere of Robbie Martin’s film A Very Heavy Agenda as well as an excerpt from the documentary Shadow Ring dealing with false flags. There will also be videos that feature Peter Dale Scott and Cynthia McKinney. Other speakers will include radio host Kevin Barrett, the editor of the new book We Are Not Charlie Hebdo; and Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff of Project Censored.

Other NYC events

AE911Truth will also be outside the National 9/11 Museum handing out their alternative guide to the museum. That will be at the corner of Church and Vesey streets between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.

There will be a ceremony for the reading of the names of 9/11 victims starting at 1 p.m. on Sept. 11 outside St. Paul’s Chapel at the corner of Church and Vesely streets. The victims being honored include those killed on 9/11 and the millions who have died as a result of 9/11. There will also be a candlelight vigil at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza Survivor Tree at Ground Zero starting at 8:30 p.m. EST on Sept. 12.

September 9, 2015 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media | | 2 Comments

Saudi airstrikes in Yemen kill 22 Indian fishermen

Press TV – September 8, 2015

At least 10 people have been killed in a fresh wave of Saudi attacks on the Yemeni capital of Sana’a while nearly two dozen Indian fisherman were killed in air strikes in the west of the impoverished country.

The latest airstrikes on Tuesday targeted several areas in Sana’a, including a police academy and the security services headquarters.

Witnesses said many people were wounded during the attacks, most of them by flying glass when the blasts shattered windows.

An earlier attack hit several houses in the capital, including those of the senior members of the Houthi Ansarullah movement, leaving at least two children dead and three women injured.

Yemen’s Saba news agency, which is under the control of Ansarullah, put the death toll from the Tuesday attacks at 15, saying at least 77 were injured in the raids.

Elsewhere in western Yemen, at least five people were killed and 10 others injured when Saudi warplanes targeted trucks carrying fuel and foodstuff in the port city of Mukha in Ta’izz Province.

Reports said that nearly a dozen people were also killed and some 40 others injured in similar airstrikes on the southwestern province of Ibb.

Yemen’s al-Masirah TV said Saudi warplanes targeted a vessel carrying Indian fishermen off the coast of al-Khukhah in Yemen’s western province of Hudaydah, killing nearly 22 people onboard.

The attacks on Yemen, which are now well in their sixth month, have seen a dramatic rise since September 4, when Ansarullah forces and allies managed to kill dozens of troops fighting for the so-called Saudi-led coalition against Yemen.

Yemenis continued retaliatory attacks with the army and people’s committees firing a barrage of rockets at the Saudi border guard headquarters in Dhahran al-Janub.

A report by al-Masirah said Yemeni forces shelled the positions of Saudi forces inside the kingdom with the latest of them inflicting losses on a police command in the Khobah district of the southern province of Jizan.

Saudi Arabia started its brutal air campaign against Yemen on March 26 in a bid to block the advance of Ansarullah across Yemen and restore power to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

According to Yemeni sources, more than five thousand people have been killed in the attacks over the past few months, while more than a million have been displaced.

September 9, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Cameron dodges MPs’ questions on drones policy

Reprieve | September 9, 2015

The Prime Minister today said he would not discuss with MPs the details of the Government’s targeted killing programme, the existence of which was revealed this week.

On Monday, Mr Cameron revealed that he had ordered several drone strikes in Syria, and was prepared to take similar action elsewhere, saying: “I will always be prepared to take that action, and that’s the case whether the threat is emanating from Libya, Syria or from anywhere else.”

The apparent secret shift to a programme of drone strikes outside of declared warzones has caused concern, with MPs and legal experts calling on the government to reveal the legal advice it has received.

Covert US drone strikes in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen – where the US is not at war– are thought to have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians, and have been criticized as counterproductive by senior military personnel. Research last year by human rights organization Reprieve found that repeated US attempts to target just 41 people resulted in 1,147 deaths.

US military personnel who have criticized the drone programme include Army General Stanley McChrystal, former head of the US military’s Joint Special Operations Command. He told the BBC last year that US strikes cause a “tremendous amount of resentment” in countries such as Yemen, and “what seems like a panacea to the messiness of war is not that at all.”

Commenting, Kat Craig, legal director of Reprieve’s Abuses in Counter-Terrorism team, said:

“The prime minister has adopted wholesale a US-style drone policy, under which he is allowed to use lethal force anywhere around the world without oversight. This is an alarming change in government policy, and crucial questions remain unanswered. What safeguards, if any, are in place? What are the limits of the assassination programme? And has the Prime Minister given any thought at all to criticism levied by top military officers in the US that their own drone programme is flawed, and failing?

“A limited inquiry by the ISC – which has a poor record on holding the government to account – is not good enough. MPs and the public deserve to know the true extent of Cameron’s drone programme.”

September 9, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

As Third Victim Dies, Arsonists Get a Pass in Israel (and in The NY Times)

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | September 8, 2015

Riham Dawabsheh, the third victim of an arson attack on her West Bank home, was laid to rest this week in a funeral attended by thousands. The New York Times has duly reported this, but the article is little more than a “color” piece, a detour around the full story of Israeli racism and impunity surrounding this event.

Riham, 27, died Monday, on her birthday, more than a month after the July 31 firebombing of her home in the village of Duma. Her toddler son, Ali, was burned to death in the attack, and her husband, Saad, 32, died a week later. A second son, Ahmad, 4, remains alive in a hospital with burns over 60 percent of his body.

The Times barely mentioned Riham’s death in a brief 135-word story yesterday (placed in the bottom corner of page 6 of the print edition); today it gives us a five-column photo with an article by Diaa Hadid that describes the women at her funeral and very little else.

It is a piece devoid of context, and it includes no official responses to the news of the latest death, with one exception—the statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, decrying the attack and insisting that security services were “doing their utmost” to find the perpetrators.

Other media outlets in the United States and Israel report the anguished concern of United Nations and Palestinian officials over the lack of progress in the case. Nicholay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said that he “reiterated and strengthened” his earlier call for justice, and that he was “concerned by the lack of progress in identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators of this outrage.”

Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, released a statement saying, “Over a month has passed and the Israeli government has not yet brought the terrorists to justice. In fact, more hate speech and incitement have been coming out from members of the Israeli government, more settler attacks have been carried out, and more Palestinians have been killed, injured or detained.”

The Times story mentions none of this and says only that Israel arrested several extremists who belonged to a “network that had encouraged acts of arson” and that it is “unclear” if any of them were connected to the Duma attack because Israel had imposed a gag order on the investigation.

Missing from this all-too-brief summary are some significant facts: The Israeli authorities arrested several suspects soon after the arson attack but released them, and although villagers reported that four men ran from the house after setting it on fire and entered a nearby settlement, no one from the settlement is in custody.

Other media have noted that Israel has failed to arrest and prosecute those responsible for similar attacks in the past. The Israeli magazine 972 ran a piece titled “No one is put on trial when a Palestinian family is burned alive,” comparing the Duma attack to a taxi firebombing three years ago.

The taxi bombing left six Palestinian family members hospitalized, but all survived. The investigation, however, did not. As 972 writers John Brown and Noah Rotem state, “Despite incontrovertible evidence showing settlers were behind the attack, the case was closed after a two-week investigation.”

None of the Times stories on the Duma bombing have found this news fit to print, and the newspaper has failed to mention other developments that shed light on the tragedy. They include:

The newspaper has had several opportunities to include this kind of information in its pages, but it has preferred to emphasize officials’ efforts to control the damage to Israel’s reputation as news of the deadly arson emerged in the media. Thus we have found several stories about the arrests of Jewish extremists and many reports of Israeli outrage over this act of terrorism.

Today’s story was one more opportunity to inform readers of the full context in this disturbing story, but the Times has given us a diversionary slice of local life, omitting any reactions beyond that from the prime minister’s office and obscuring the facts surrounding the investigation.

Even in the most egregious examples of violence against Palestinians, the Times chooses to act as a protector of Israel, placing this goal above its mandate as the newspaper of record.

September 9, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Israelis Linked to Settler Terrorism were from U.S. Families

By Steve Straehley and Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | September 9, 2015

A horrific act of terrorism in the West Bank this summer is suspected to have been perpetrated by Israeli extremists with American roots.

In the village of Duma on July 31, the home of a Palestinian family was firebombed, killing an 18-month-old child, Ali Dawabsheh, who was burned to death, according to media reports. The child’s father, Sa’ed and four-year-old brother Ahmed suffered serious burns, but survived. Ali’s mother, Riham, died Sunday of her burns. Their home was sprayed with graffiti reading “revenge” in Hebrew and featured a Star of David.

“All available evidence suggests that the blaze was a deliberate act of settler terrorism,” Sara Yael Hirschhorn wrote at The New York Times. “More disturbingly, several of the alleged instigators, currently being detained indefinitely, are not native-born Israelis — they have American roots.”

Although not so far charged with the fire that killed the Dawabshehs, four youths believed to be connected to settler terrorism have been incarcerated by Israeli officials. They are Meir Ettinger, 24, grandson of Meir Kahane, a radical American rabbi who served in Israel’s parliament; Mordechai Meyer, 18, the son of American immigrants; American Ephraim Khantsis; and Eviatar Slonim, the child of Australian Jews.

The fire is thought to be a so-called “price tag” attack. Radical Israeli settlers commit such crimes as a response to their government’s efforts to dismantle illegal West Bank Jewish settlements.

To Learn More:

Israeli Terrorists, Born in the U.S.A. (by Sara Yael Hirschhorn, New York Times )

How the Killing of an 18-Month-Old Boy in the West Bank Exposed the Israeli Authorities Failure to Stem Tide of Jewish Extremists (by Ben Lynfield, The Independent )

Israelis Killed more Palestinians Last Year than in any Year since 1967 (by David Wallechinsky and Steve Straehley, AllGov )

U.S. Only Country of 47 to Vote against Investigating Possible Human Rights Violations during Israeli Occupation of Gaza (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

September 9, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Moscow ready for more sanctions, regardless of Ukraine crisis – Foreign Ministry

RT | September 9, 2015

Russia has no illusion about sanctions being lifted and expects them to be stiffened in future, regardless of developments in Eastern Ukraine. That’s according to a leading Russian diplomat, who says Moscow can live under continuous western pressure.

“We believe that in certain directions, notwithstanding of the developments in Donbass, we should expect toughening of the sanctions pressure,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the Russia Arms Expo 2015 in Nizhny Tagil on Wednesday.

According to Ryabkov, the new set of sanctions introduced by Washington last week against Russian companies, including arms exporter Rosoboronexport, “mirrors the policy of complicating operations of the Russian military-industrial complex and all of the mechanism of government.”

Sanctions come in handy as a “true instrument of aggressive foreign policy” aimed at Russia, the diplomat said.

“Russia’s independent and self-sufficient foreign policy, its decisiveness to protect its sovereignty, and the consolidation of the people with the country’s leadership serve as a thorn in the side of our opponents,” Ryabkov said.

“We presume that the sanctions are there for the long haul,” Ryabkov said. “There are no reasons or illusions that sanctions are going to be lifted in the short term, at least not in the Foreign Ministry.”

“When it comes to international financial services, our colleagues from the US and the EU are set to expand their effort to seal off all capabilities. We understand that and we have to learn how to operate in the given situation,” Ryabkov said, insisting that sanctions will fail to gain the desired effect.

“We’re sorry the US has not learned that truth so far.”

Russian Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukaev said Moscow is going to seek a “symmetrical answer” to American sanctions imposed on September 2.

Washington imposed sanctions on a number of Russian, Chinese, Syrian, Turkish, Sudanese and Iranian companies, believed to be involved in activities which, according to Washington, go against its Nonproliferation Act in regard to Iran and Syria.

“These are not sectoral sanctions, they are personalized, therefore we would consider some kind of a symmetrical answer,” Ulyukaev said.

In March 2014, the EU, the US and some other countries imposed individual sanctions against 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials, subjecting them to asset freezes and travel bans. Within a year, the list was extended to 150 people, including Russian Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Kozak and Dmitry Rogozin, as well as presidential aide Vladislav Surkov and 37 entities that, according to the EU, are “responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

The restrictions have been prolonged until January 31, 2016.

To reciprocate, in August 2014 Moscow introduced a ban on importing meat, dairy, fruit, and vegetable products from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict. The countries included EU member states and Norway, US, Canada and Australia.

European Union sanctions against Russia include restrictions on lending to major Russian state-owned banks, as well as defense and oil companies. In addition, Brussels imposed restrictions on the supply of weapons and military equipment to Russia as well as military technology, dual-use technologies, high-tech equipment and technologies for oil production. No sanctions were imposed against Russia’s gas industry.

September 9, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology | , , , , , | Leave a comment