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Citing Terrorism Concerns, John Kerry Supports Saudi Bloodbath in Yemen

Sputnik – 25.01.2016

US Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed his support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen, a conflict that has killed over 2,400 civilians. As justification, the secretary reiterated false claims that Riyadh is battling al-Qaeda.

Over the weekend, the White House stated its concern over the rising civilian death toll in the Yemen conflict.

“We are deeply concerned about recent reports of escalating violence in Yemen and resulting deaths of civilians…” White House National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said in statement on Saturday.

But while the Obama administration is ostensibly worried about the amount of violence, it also fully supports the Saudi campaign that is creating the chaos. One day after the release of Price’s statement, US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated his full support for Riyadh’s actions.

“Let me assure everybody that the relationship between the United States and the GCC nations ([Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council) is one that is built on mutual interest, on mutual defense and I think there is no doubt whatsoever in the minds of the countries that make up the GCC that the United States will stand with them against any external threat,” Kerry told reporters.

Kerry claimed that the war was necessary since it is partially aimed at targeting “al-Qaeda operatives.” Those motivations are highly suspect, however, given that Riyadh failed to go after al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) during the first nine months of fighting.

In April, the Saudi government also looked the other way as AQAP seized the port city of al Mukalla. By gaining control of the central bank, the terrorist group gained over $17 billion from the city’s capture.

In addition, Kerry cited the need to combat Iranian “interference.”

“The United States remains concerned about some of the activities that Iran is engaged in other countries,” he told reporters.

Riyadh has provided little evidence to suggest that Tehran is providing any assistance to Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Riyadh’s intervention began last March, and the Saudi naval blockade of Yemen has left approximately 1 million people internally displaced, and as many as 20 million people in need of food, water, and medical supplies.

The United Nations estimates that as many as 2,400 Yemeni civilians have been killed by coalition bombing. Most airstrikes have utilized cluster munitions sold by the United States. Worth an estimated $1.2 billion, this could partially explain Kerry’s support, but it also implicates Washington in Yemen’s civilian deaths.

“We should be culpable for the crime of killing civilians as well, as we produce and sell the weapons when we know the use they will be put to,” retired US Army Major Todd Pierce told Sputnik.

“Our indivisibility with our ‘allies’ inculpates us in their crimes…”

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

PBS Newshour Lies about Single-Payer Health Care

By Ben Schreiner | Dissident Voice | January 25, 2016

The fact that a majority of Americans support a single-payer, or Medicare for all, health care system is not news.  Or at least it ought not to be news, especially to veteran political journalists.

But enter the vaunted PBS Newshour, which bills itself as “one of the most trusted news programs on television.”  (In fairness, that’s a medium not eliciting much in the way of stiff competition.)

On Friday’s broadcast, during the program’s weekly left/right debate segment, featuring New York Times columnist David Brooks on the right and Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus (seen burnishing her “progressive” credentials here) on the “left,” the topic of discussion turned to the differing health care proposals of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Sanders supports a Medicare for all system, while Clinton supports maintaining the status quo of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.  But with Sanders now surging in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the health care schism between the Democratic front-runners has taken center stage in the campaign, with Clinton camp surrogates attacking Sanders by going so far as to incredulously assert that Sanders, by seeking to expand health care to all Americans, is really threatening to strip health coverage from millions.

Taking up this debate between the two Democratic candidates, Brooks commented Friday on the Newshour that, “They also had an interesting debate about health care reform. And that was her [Clinton] making an incremental argument, we have got to make our changes gradually, and him [Sanders] making a radical argument. And so it was interesting. That was a substantive, real argument about how you change any system.”

Newshour co-anchor Judy Woodruff then interjected to clarify, “… essentially, the argument is whether you just wipe away… what we have done and you go to a single-payer health care system, which most Americans say they don’t want… [emphasis added]”

Wait, what?  Most Americans say they don’t want a single-payer health care system?  Where did Woodruff pull that one from?

According to a 2014 Program for Consultation study analyzing public polling occurring between 2008 and 2013, majorities in both “red” (Republican-dominated) and “blue” (Democratic-dominated) congressional districts prefer government to play a greater role in health care.

When presented with the statement, “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” 62.3% of respondents in red districts agreed, compared to 62.9% of respondents in blue districts.

When presented with the statement, “Government should be responsible for ensuring health care needs of its citizens,” 55.6% of respondents in red districts agreed, compared to 64.1% of respondents in blue districts.

The Program for Consultation study even found 47.8% of respondents from red districts to agree that they, “Favor government paying for all necessary medical care for everyone.”  That compared to 54.9% of respondents in blue districts.

Meanwhile, a 2015 Progressive Change Institute poll found over 50% of Americans support a single-payer health care system like that proposed by Sanders, including 80% of Democrats.

Given all this, a Newshour viewer may have reasonably hoped that at the very least Marcus, the segment’s “left” perspective, would have interjected to correct Woodruff with any of the above.  But, alas, Woodruff’s complete distortion of reality, whether a result of a confounding ignorance or ideological blindness, passed without comment.

It seems that not even a “trusted news program” on an ostensibly public channel is capable of conceding the progressive views of the American public.

Ben Schreiner is the author of A People’s Dictionary to the ‘Exceptional Nation’. He lives in Oregon and may be reached at:

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Plummeting commodities saves Beijing $460bn a year

RT | January 25, 2016

While a sharp drop in commodity prices is hitting resource-based economies hard, analysts suggest China has arguably become the biggest beneficiary.

Last year, China became the world’s top buyer of crude oil and nearly every other commodity. According to calculations by Kenneth Courtis, former Asia vice chairman at Goldman Sachs Group, the world’s second biggest economy saves $320 billion on cheaper oil, and another $140 billion in metals, coal and agricultural produce.

This has allowed China to cut or keep steady prices of everything from utility bills and petrol prices to the cost of raw materials at plants, Bloomberg reports.

Keeping the money within the economy has also given Beijing a chance to continue the transformation from an industrial to a consumer-driven economy.

“It’s shown up in low consumer-price inflation and more stuff that households have been able to buy,” Louis Kuijs, the head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong and a former World Bank economist told Bloomberg. “Manufacturing companies would have had even worse profit developments if it had not been for those low commodity prices,” he added.

Besides importing a record volume of oil in 2015, China also had record imports of iron ore, soybeans and copper concentrate. Paying less for the imports, Beijing saw a $594.5 billion trade surplus surge last year, which has softened the consequences of capital outflows.

“China is the great winner from the crash of commodity prices,” said Courtis, the author of the calculations. “A significant portion of that windfall gain is being transferred to the domestic population,” he added.

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Economics | | 2 Comments

Iraq cancels free healthcare system

MEMO – January 25, 2016

Iraqi citizens are now being asked for fees at healthcare facilities around the country, a source at the Ministry of Health has informed Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The oil-rich country has offered a free healthcare system since 1970.

The source said the ministry sent letters and a 10-page report to hospitals and clinic asking them to collect fees from patients to cover the cost of treatment after the deficit caused by the sharp decline in oil prices.

Many have warned that this could lead to a dangerous situation in public health due to the severe poverty in the country.

The ministry is looking into pricing medicines and services across the country.

Iraqis expressed their anger with the decision amid the difficult economic situation which they are facing.

Patient Raghib Hassan said: “During my visit to a government hospital in Baghdad, I was surprised that I was asked to pay for the medical examination, x-ray, medical tests and treatment.”

“This means that one visit to a government hospital needs between 30,000 to 50,000 [Iraqi] dinars ($27-$45).”

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Economics | , | 2 Comments

9-year old girl got shot with live ammunition during Friday demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum

International Solidarity Movement | January 24, 2016

Kafr Qaddum, Occupied Palestine – On the 22nd of January, when villagers of Kafr Qaddum carried out their weekly demonstration against the surrounding settlement of Kedumim, Israeli forces attacked them with the use of tear gas and live ammunition. Two men got shot in their legs and 9-year old Ayat Zahi Ali was shot in her arm, all of them with live bullets. Earlier that morning in the same village a farmer was ambushed and beaten when he was going out to work his land.

Since 2011 the people of Kafr Qaddum have protested the theft of their land and the Israeli closure of the village main road with weekly demonstrations. The villagers stated that they had a strange feeling on Thursday night, suspecting that Israeli forces may have entered the village in the cover of the dark to prepare for an ambush during the Friday demonstration. Their worries were verified in the morning when a farmer who was walking onto his land got ambushed and beaten by soldiers that were hiding in the bushes.

In fear of more soldiers hiding in the village the route for the demonstration was changed and people were extra cautious. One hour after the protest started Israeli soldiers showed up and immediately started shooting live ammunition towards the crowd. Two men, Hamza Abu Khaled, 21 and Abd Allah Anwar, 40, were shot in their legs. According to villagers one of the bullets shattered the bone.

Ayat Zahi Ali, 9 years old, was shot in her left upper arm with live ammunition while she was inside her father’s house. Her uncle and family members carried her to a red crescent ambulance. Israeli forces entered the village with a military bulldozer armed with snipers and continued to fire tear gas and live ammunition at the protesters and nearby the houses.


Ayat Zahi Ali is being carried after being shot by Israeli forces. Photo credit: ISM


Military bulldozer entering the village, with a sniper in the right window. Photo credit: ISM

Ayat is not the first young girl that has been injured by Israeli live bullets in Kafr Qaddum in recent times. In September 2015, Israeli soldiers shot the 3 year old Maram Abed al-Latif al-Qaddumiwaa in her head while she was standing on her balcony. When er father rushed to help her he also got shot in the head.

The main road that leads to Kafr Qaddum is cut off by a permanent roadblock, making the journey to the main road three times longer than necessary. This again is illegal according to an Israeli court decision from 2010, but the road is still kept closed.

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

Peace talks between Damascus & opposition to start January 29 – UN Syria envoy

RT | January 25, 2016

Talks between Damascus and the Syrian opposition will begin on January 29, the UN’s Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has told journalists in Geneva. The negotiations will focus on a broad ceasefire, stopping Islamic State militants and increasing aid, he added.

De Mistura said the process of finalizing the list of participants “is still ongoing,” particularly regarding clarification of the opposition groups which will not be considered “terrorist.”

He added that the UN will start sending invitations on Tuesday. “I’m going to send the invitations given by the mandate of the UN Security Council,” he said.

The peace talks were originally due to start on Monday, but were postponed.

“We want to make sure that when and if we start, to start at least on the right foot. It will be uphill anyway,” de Mistura said.

He added that the “proximity talks” between the two sides are expected to last six months. According to the UN official, “this will not be Geneva-3.”

The Geneva II peace conference which took place in 2014 focused on bringing the two sides – the government and opposition – to the negotiation table to agree on forming a transitional government.

De Mistura told reporters that the sides will not talk directly to each other and will be mediated by negotiators.

The first part of the talks will last from two to three weeks, the envoy said, adding that the focus will be on negotiating a ceasefire, stopping Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and increasing humanitarian aid.

“The condition is it should be a real ceasefire and not just local,” de Mistura said. “Suspension of fighting regarding ISIL and al Nusra is not on the table. However (there are) plenty of other suspensions of fighting that can take place.”

Among the priorities will also be the issues of governance, a constitutional review and future UN-backed election.

“The participation will be as inclusive as possible, including women, civil society and other marginalized groups,” said Mistura, answering a question concerning the composition of the delegations.

The Syrian government has said that Damascus’s delegation will be headed by the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari.

The disagreement over which opposition groups will take part in the peace talks and who will represent them has been impeding the start of negotiations.

On Wednesday, a Syrian opposition coalition, the so-called ‘High Negotiations Committee,’ named an Islamist chief as their top negotiator. The decision to appoint Mohammed Alloush, the leader of Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam), a powerful jihadist group operating in the suburbs of Damascus, as one of the negotiators drew criticism, even from among other members of the Syrian opposition.

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

544 Egyptians arrested ahead of revolution anniversary

MEMO – January 25, 2016

Some 544 people have been arrested in Egypt since the start of the year, human rights activists have reported.

In exclusive comments to the Anadolu Agency, Ezzat Ghoneim, of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, said: “Since the beginning of 2016, this association has flagged 544 detained people, including 34 cases of arrests that took place yesterday [Saturday] and 17 on Sunday, with all of the people involved in such cases still imprisoned.”

He pointed out that Saturday’s arrests were over “seven provinces: one in Cairo, two in Giza, 19 in Al-Gharbia, three in Al-Behairah, four in Aswan, four in Monoufia and one in Kafr El-Sheikh.”

Yesterday, “seven people were arrested in Alexandria and 10 in Ismailia,” Ghoneim said, adding that the organisation is monitoring all arrests.

“The charges range between issues related to demonstrations, incitement of violence, membership of an outlawed group, preparing to commemorate the January 25 Revolution of 2011, or taking part in the January revolution itself. However, we are not concerned with the detainees’ affiliations in our work,” Ghoneim added.

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

Turkey Drifts Towards Israel

By Stanislav Ivanov – New Eastern Outlook – 25.01.2016

As is well known, the current foreign policy of the Turkish leadership in the region widely known as “zero problems with neighbours” has failed completely and in fact become “zero relations with neighbours.” The sharp deterioration in the Russian–Turkish relations after the launch of the Turkish missiles on the Russian military aircraft has completed the process of Turkey’s political isolation across its borders. Today, almost all states bordering with Turkey are among its enemies or competitors (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Greece, Cyprus, Armenia). The only exception are the good-neighbourly and mutually beneficial relations between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan as an entity of the Federation of Iraq. Yet, relations between Ankara and Baghdad have significantly deteriorated and even become aggravated after the Turkish authorities flagrantly violated the sovereignty of the country by bringing military units with artillery and armoured vehicles to Nineveh province without the permission of the central authorities. Ankara has made it clear that it is dissatisfied with the pro-Iranian Shiite government in Baghdad, which, to make the matters worse, supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. […]

On the eve of the new year of 2016, Recep Erdogan visited Riyadh and tried to strengthen the existing partnership with the leadership of Saudi Arabia. The main points of contact between Ankara and Riyadh are a common hatred of the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, their desire to limit the influence of Iran and Shiite communities in the region by all means, as well as their alliance with Washington. The same reasons can explain the expected renewal of relations between Turkey and Israel. It is no coincidence that during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Erdogan stressed, that “Israel needs an ally such as Turkey. And we must admit that we also need Israel.”

The restoration of diplomatic relations and the reopening of the Turkish-Israeli cooperation under the auspices of the United States in the current circumstances satisfy many parties. In December 2015, the Turkish authorities confirmed that they had reached a preliminary agreement with Israel during negotiations in Switzerland to normalize bilateral relations. According to the agreements reached, Israel is to create a fund worth 20 million dollars to pay compensation to the victims of Israeli commandos, while Turkey is waiving all the claims against Israel in this matter. In addition, Israel is obliged to ease the blockade of the Gaza Strip. The latter is obviously mentioned to “save face” of Mr. Erdogan before his supporters; in fact, nothing is likely to change in the maritime border of Gaza. One should not forget that the other ally of Israel – Egypt – absolutely opposes the lifting of the blockade. Representatives of Turkey allegedly promised the Israelis that they would stop the activities of Hamas on its territory should the blockade be lifted in the Gaza Strip.

Amid the strengthening of Iran’s positions in Syria and the region and the revitalization of the Lebanese political-military group Hezbollah, Israel is extremely interested in finding new allies and partners in the Arab and Muslim world. Recently, Jerusalem has managed to establish links and contacts with Saudi Arabia, and strengthen relations with the new Egyptian regime by way of secret diplomacy behind the scenes. Turkey may become yet another important link in the system of regional security of Israel. Today, Turkey and Israel have many more common interests and points of contact than grounds for confrontation. In addition, their mutual trade and economic benefit from this cooperation is evident. Turkey is considered the most important investor in the development programs of the Israeli military industrial sector, as well as of the long-term project on the development of Leviathan gas deposit and construction of the underwater pipeline, through which Israeli gas will be supplied to Turkey. According to Turkish media, Ankara intends to restore military cooperation with Israel and purchase its advanced observation and surveillance systems and modern unmanned devices.

Stanislav Ivanov, leading research fellow of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Full article

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Media More Outraged by Possible Murder by Putin Than Definite Murder by Obama

By Matt Peppe | Just the Facts | January 24, 2016

The British government, whose foreign policy is overtly hostile to their Russian counterpart, declared last week that their investigation into the killing of a former Russian intelligence agent in London nearly a decade ago concluded there is a “strong probability” the Russian FSB security agency was responsible for poisoning Alexander Litivenko with plutonium. They further declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin “probably approved” of the act. The British investigation, which was likely politically motivated, seemingly raised more questions than it answered. But American corporate media were quick to use the accusations against Putin to demonize him, casting him as a pariah brazenly flaunting his disregard for international conventions.

The Washington Post (1/23/16) editorial board wrote that “Robert Owen, a retired British judge, has carefully and comprehensively documented what can only be called an assassination… Mr. Owen found (Andrei) Lugovoi was acting ‘under the direction’ of the FSB in an operation to kill Mr. Litivenko – one that was ‘probably approved’ by the director of the FSB and by Mr. Putin.”

Actually, Owen did not find that former KGB operative Lugovoi was acting under the direction of the FSB to kill Litivenko. He found there was a “strong probability” this was the case. This means that even in Owens’s view, there is not near certainty, which would meet the legal standard of reasonable doubt that would preclude a guilty judgement. There is even more doubt that even if it were the case the FSB ordered the murder, they did so on Putin’s orders.

The New York Times editorial board (1/21/16) finds the investigation’s results “shocking.” For the Times, this confirms a pattern of Putin’s rogue behavior. They claim Putin’s “deserved reputation as an autocrat willing to flirt with lawlessness in his global ventures has taken on a startling new aspect.”

Both of the prestigious and influential American newspapers argue that the British findings impugn Putin’s respectability in international affairs. The Times says:

Mr. Putin has built a sordid record on justice and human rights, which naturally reinforces suspicion that he could easily have been involved in the murder. At the very least, the London inquiry, however much it is denied at the Kremlin, should serve as a caution to the Russian leader to repair his reputation for notorious intrigues abroad.

The more hawkish Post says: “This raises a serious question for President Obama and other world leaders whose governments do not traffic in contract murder. Should they continue to meet with Mr. Putin as if he is just another head of state?”

Putin’s alleged “sordid record on justice and human rights,” which is taken for granted without providing any examples, is seen as bolstering the case for his guilt in the case of the poisoning death of Litivenko. This, in turn, adds to his “notorious” reputation as a violator of human rights.

The Post draws a line between the lawless Putin and the respectable Western heads of state, such as Obama. Though they frame their call to treat Putin as an outcast as a question, it is clearly intended as a rhetorical question.

It is curious that The Post draws a contrast between Putin and Obama, whose government is supposedly above such criminality. The newspaper does not mention the U.S. government’s drone assassination program, which as of last year had killed nearly 2,500 people in at least three countries outside of declared military battlefields. Estimates have shown that at least 90 percent of those killed were not intended targets. None of those killed have been charged with any crimes. And at least two – Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdul Rahman – were Americans.

Obama himself is personally responsible for those killed by missiles launched from unmanned aircraft over the skies of sovereign countries. Several news reports have indicated that Obama is presented in meetings each week by military and national security officials with a list of potential targets for assassination. Obama must personally approve each target, at which point they are added to the state-sanctioned “kill list.”

The British government has also assumed for itself the power to assassinate its own citizens outside a declared battlefield. Last fall, Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the deaths of two British citizens in Syria, who were subsequently disposed of in a lethal drone strike.

The Washington Post editorial board (3/24/12) claimed that Obama was justified in carrying out lethal drone strokes that kill American citizens “to protect the country against attack.” Their lone criticism was that “an extra level of review of some sort is warranted.”

After it was revealed that an American hostage was inadvertently killed in a drone strike in Pakistan, The Post (5/1/15) said that the issue of whether the American government continues to conduct drone strikes should not be up for debate. “(T)here is little question that drones are the least costly means of eliminating militants whose first aim is to kill Americans,” they wrote.

While they tacitly accept the legal rationale for Obama’s assassination program, the New York Times editorial board at least demonstrated some skepticism. In “A Thin Rationale for Drone Killings” (6/23/14), they called the memo “a slapdash pastiche of legal theories – some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law – that was clearly tailored to the desired result.” They say that “the rationale provides little confidence that the lethal action was taken with real care.”

Yet they do not chastise Obama for his “intrigues abroad” nor do they condemn this as an example of his “sordid record on justice and human rights,” language they used for Putin. The idea that relying on what are transparently inadequate legal justifications for killing an American citizen without due process would merit prosecution is clearly beyond the limits of discussion for the Times.

Recently Faheem Qureshi, a victim of the first drone strike ordered by Obama in 2009 (three days after his induction as President), who lost multiple family members and his own eye, told The Guardian that Obama’s actions in his native lands are “an act of tyranny. If there is a list of tyrants in the world, to me, Obama will be put on that list by his drone program.”

Surely both The New York Times and Washington Post disagree with Qureshi, because they believe the U.S. government is inherently benevolent and its motives are beyond reproach. But based on their editorials about the British investigation of the Litivenko poisoning, if Putin was responsible and was described by Qureshi in the same way, they would wholeheartedly agree.

The U.S. government and its allies in NATO, like Great Britain, have a clear agenda in vilifying Russia and its President. The US-NATO alliance supported the government that came to power in Ukraine in 2014 through a coup. After provinces in Eastern Ukraine – the vast majority of whose population is ethnically Russian and Russian-speaking – refused to recognize the NATO-backed coup government in Kiev, the Russian government supported them.

It should be easy to see how, from Russia’s perspective, the Ukranian conflict can be understood as an extension of NATO encroachment towards Russia’s borders that has continued unabated since James Baker told Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991 NATO would move “not an inch east.”

“We’re in a new Cold War,” Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies and politics, told Salon. “The epicenter is not in Berlin this time but in Ukraine, on Russia’s borders, within its own civilization: That’s dangerous. Over the 40-year history of the old Cold War, rules of behavior and recognition of red lines, in addition to the red hotline, were worked out. Now there are no rules.”

Additionally, Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011 throughout that country’s civil war, and more recently its direct military intervention in the conflict that has turned the tide against US-backed rebels, has strongly rankled Washington.

The language used by top government officials to describe Russia has been astoundingly combative. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the man in charge of the entire US military, claimed Russia is responsible for aggression and is “endangering world order.”

The U.S. government’s hyping of the Russian “threat” has been used to justify massive spending on the U.S. space program and other military expenditures, such as the $1 trillion to upgrade nuclear weapons,

One could even argue that the narrative of an aggressive and belligerent Russia is the principal justification for the continued existence of the NATO itself, two and a half decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The alliance allows the US military to be stationed in hundreds of bases throughout Europe under the guise of a purely defensive organization.

The U.S.’s most prominent media organizations should demonstrate the strongest skepticism towards the policies and actions of their own government. At the very least, they should hold their own country’s leaders to the same standards as they do others. But time and again, the media choose to act as a mouthpiece to echo and amplify Washington’s propaganda. They do the government’s bidding, creating an enemy and rallying the public towards a confrontation they would otherwise have no interest in, while allowing the government to avoid accountability for its own misdeeds.

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi-led airstrike kills family of 8, incl. Yemeni judge who presided over Pres. Hadi treason case

RT | January 25, 2016

A Houthi-appointed national security court judge and seven members of his family were killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in the Yemini capital Sanaa, according to local residents.

The Sunday bombing partially destroyed the home of Yahya Rubaid, a judge who had prosecuted cases against militant groups including Al-Qaeda. He had also presided over treason cases against President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and other ousted opponents of the Houthis.

Seven members of Rubaid’s family – everyone except one of his sons – were also killed in the bombing, residents told Reuters.

Supported by the US, the Saudi-led coalition has been bombing the Houthi rebels – who control Sanaa – since March 2015.

The coalition sides with exiled President Hadi, while the Houthis are aligned with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who resigned in 2012 following a popular uprising against his rule.

Nearly 6,000 people have been killed since the bombing began in March, around half of them civilians, according to UN figures. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights told the UN Security Council in December that although all parties to the conflict were responsible, “a disproportionate amount” of attacks on civilian areas “appeared to be the result of airstrikes carried out by coalition forces.”

The coalition has been criticized numerous times for the way it conducts airstrikes. Earlier this month, it was blamed for hitting a hospital in the southern Bayda province, just one day after one of its missiles killed four people at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital. The coalition was also blamed for targeting a center for the blind.

Just last week, MSF stated that hospitals in Yemen are seen as targets, noting that over 100 facilities have witnessed attacks since the Saudi-led coalition began its bombing campaign.

“People still consider hospitals a target and try to avoid them as much as possible. The only cases that we are receiving are emergencies and mass casualties following attacks,” Juan Prieto, general coordinator of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) projects in Yemen, said in a statement.

Read more:

MSF paramedic, civilian first responders killed in Saudi double-tap airstrike in Yemen (GRAPHIC)

January 25, 2016 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Congress is Writing the President a Blank Check for War

By Ron Paul | January 24, 2016

While the Washington snowstorm dominated news coverage this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was operating behind the scenes to rush through the Senate what may be the most massive transfer of power from the Legislative to the Executive branch in our history. The senior Senator from Kentucky is scheming, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, to bypass normal Senate procedure to fast-track legislation to grant the president the authority to wage unlimited war for as long as he or his successors may wish.

The legislation makes the unconstitutional Iraq War authorization of 2002 look like a walk in the park. It will allow this president and future presidents to wage war against ISIS without restrictions on time, geographic scope, or the use of ground troops. It is a completely open-ended authorization for the president to use the military as he wishes for as long as he (or she) wishes. Even President Obama has expressed concern over how willing Congress is to hand him unlimited power to wage war.

President Obama has already far surpassed even his predecessor, George W. Bush, in taking the country to war without even the fig leaf of an authorization. In 2011 the president invaded Libya, overthrew its government, and oversaw the assassination of its leader, without even bothering to ask for Congressional approval. Instead of impeachment, which he deserved for the disastrous Libya invasion, Congress said nothing. House Republicans only managed to bring the subject up when they thought they might gain political points exploiting the killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.

It is becoming more clear that Washington plans to expand its war in the Middle East. Last week the media reported that the US military had taken over an air base in eastern Syria, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the US would send in the 101st Airborne Division to retake Mosul in Iraq and to attack ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, Syria. Then on Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden said that if the upcoming peace talks in Geneva are not successful, the US is prepared for a massive military intervention in Syria. Such an action would likely place the US military face to face with the Russian military, whose assistance was requested by the Syrian government. In contrast, we must remember that the US military is operating in Syria in violation of international law.

The prospects of such an escalation are not all that far-fetched. At the insistence of Saudi Arabia and with US backing, the representatives of the Syrian opposition at the Geneva peace talks will include members of the Army of Islam, which has fought with al-Qaeda in Syria. Does anyone expect these kinds of people to compromise? Isn’t al-Qaeda supposed to be our enemy?

The purpose of the Legislative branch of our government is to restrict the Executive branch’s power. The Founders understood that an all-powerful king who could wage war at will was the greatest threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why they created a people’s branch, the Congress, to prevent the emergence of an all-powerful autocrat to drag the country to endless war. Sadly, Congress is surrendering its power to declare war.

Let’s be clear: If Senate Majority Leader McConnell succeeds in passing this open-ended war authorization, the US Constitution will be all but a dead letter.

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism | , , , , , , | 3 Comments