Aletho News


UK Gov’t Shows ‘Contempt’ For Democracy Over Trident Renewal Spending

By Mark Hirst – Sputnik – 03.03.2016

EDINBURGH – The unilateral decision of the UK government to advance plans to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear submarines demonstrates “contempt” for democracy, John Finnie, a member of the Scottish Parliament, told Sputnik Thursday.

The Scottish lawmaker was speaking after UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon announced the government would spend an extra 640 million of pounds ($906 million) in investment in new Trident programs before the UK parliament had agreed whether to proceed with renewal of the weapons system.

“Proponents of Trident renewal are unmoved by arguments of morality or finance. However, it is astonishing that they pay little heed to those on the military who point out this weapons system is already obsolete,” Finnie said.

“Trident has no realistic part in ameliorating the threats faced by the UK. By pressing ahead with Trident, regardless of the facts, Mr Fallon joins a long line of UK defense ministers who show contempt for the public and our democratic processes,” Finnie noted.

Earlier on Thursday, the UK defense secretary dismissed claims that investment in the submarine-based nuclear deterrent would be undermined by new technologies such as underwater drones designed to destroy nuclear submarines.

The total cost of renewing the Trident nuclear system has risen steadily with official figures suggesting the final bill could be as much as 31 billion of pounds ($44 billion), but anti-nuclear campaigners claim the overall running costs of operating the system over its lifetime amount to 100 billion of pounds ($141 billion).

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

US B-52s to perform ‘not normal’ exercises in Norway

RT | March 3, 2016

Three B-52 Stratofortress bombers that have moved from the US to Europe are set to participate in military exercises in Norway. A top US commander characterized the redeployment as “not normal.”

The move, which began last week with the bombers and 200 support airmen being stationed in Spain, is part of the Obama administration’s build-up of US forces in Europe in response to European countries’ anxiety over perceived Russian aggression.

However, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove said Tuesday that while the deployment of the B-52s was abnormal, the aircraft had been scheduled for NATO exercises and the move was not prompted by the actions of Russia, the Washington Post reported.

“It is a part of the exercise objectives… not a part of any response [to Russian actions],” Breedlove insisted, according to Sputnik.

The three bombers are assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing and were rebased from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana on Friday, and will temporarily stay at Spain’s Morón Air Base.

“Strategic bomber deployments enhance the readiness and training vital to rapidly projecting global power and responding to any potential crisis or challenge,” Admiral Cecil D. Haney, the commander of US Strategic Command, said in a statement.

The bombers provide a unique complement to the nuclear delivery capabilities of intercontinental ballistic missiles and ballistic missile submarines, Haney added.

The Norwegian exercise, called Cold Response, is meant to practice “high-intensity operations in winter conditions,” according to the Pentagon. More than a dozen NATO countries will participate in the rehearsal that is meant to underscore NATO’s ability “to defend against any threat in any environment.”

In February, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that US military spending on Europe would be more than quadrupled from $689 million in 2016 to $3.4 billion in 2017.

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

MH17 Crash: More Questions Arise as US Fails to Provide Promised Info

Sputnik – March 3, 2016

Dutch MPs have held a parliamentary debate on the ongoing investigation into the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. The discussion focused on radar data and satellite imagery that US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed the United States possessed and which it called strong evidence.

“We picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing, and it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar,” Kerry said in a July 2014 interview.

Question 1. Why did not the US provide this information to the Dutch investigators?

The Dutch MPs and members of the Dutch Safety Board insisted that they had seen no evidence of what John Kerry described as “irrefutable proof.”

Question 2. Why is the investigation taking so long?

The parliamentarians also complained about the investigation into the MH17 disaster taking too long and obvious attempts to keep the public in the dark about its progress.

Question 3. Why haven’t the key documents related to the investigation been made available to the Dutch MPs?

Some important documents related to the probe have been classified indefinitely, which means that they will be kept under wraps for good.

The reason probably being that if these documents were released, they would compromise the method of how this intelligence was collected.

If the US has either secret ground based radar in Ukraine or satellites with unknown capabilities, they will not want to disclose their collection abilities to the public.

Question 4. What is being done to prevent such tragedies ever happening again?

The lawmakers also wanted to know what was being done to rule out such tragedies in future again and make sure that civilian aircraft never fly over war zones.

When asked by representatives of the far-right Dutch Freedom Party whether such incidents could be ruled out in future, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that such guarantees simply did not exist.

When asked during a daily briefing in Washington whether the US had provided Dutch investigators with the data that Secretary Kerry said the US had, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: “I believe we have collaborated with the Dutch in their investigation. To what level of detail, I just don’t know.”

RT correspondent Gayane Chichakyan asked whether the Americans had shared vital radar information with the Dutch.

“I know we’ve collaborated with them; I just don’t know to what level we’ve shared information with them. I’d have to look into that,” Mark Toner said.

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama extends anti-Russia sanctions for another year


Press TV – March 3, 2016

US President Barack Obama has signed a new Executive Order that extends economic sanctions against Russia for another year.

The decree, published Wednesday on the official White House website, states that economic and financial sanctions imposed on Moscow over its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis will stay in place until March 6, 2017.

The decision came as “Russia’s actions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” Obama said in the document.

“I found that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets,” the president added.

The move drew criticism from the Kremlin, with Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling reporters on Thursday that the decision was regrettable.

The sanctions were originally introduced against Moscow in March 2014, after Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea joined Russia. The move prompted the US to press sanctions against Russia’s energy and finance sectors.

The European Union followed suit shortly after, introducing its own set of sanctions against Moscow that targeted a number of Russian politicians and businessmen, and placed restrictions on lending to Russia’s major state-owned banks, military and oil firms.

On the military side, exporting dual-use equipment to Russia was banned and all future EU-Moscow military deals were put on hold.

According to EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic, the bans sought to force Russia to comply with the ceasefire introduced by the Minsk agreement.

Putin signed the agreement with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in February last year, following negotiations held in the presence of French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The deal introduces a complete ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weaponry from border areas, and holding free elections in the region.

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Some 30 towns, villages in Syria’s Hama join national reconciliation


Press TV – March 3, 2016

Some 30 towns and villages in the Syrian province of Hama have joined the national reconciliation process in the war-torn country through the mediation of the Russian center for reconciliation, the head of the center says.

“The work is very meticulous and delicate, everything here is based on religious and national matters, but overall about 30 communities have signed an application form to join the peace process and negotiations,” Lt. Col. German Rudenko told reporters on Thursday.

Rudenko noted that the agreement signed by representatives of local communities includes points banning the use of weapons against government forces, facilitating the peace process and return of state power to the region.

On Monday, a large number of militants from Syria’s southern province of Dara’a put down their weapons in exchange for amnesty from the government.

The militants filed their personal information and wrote a letter vowing not to engage in any anti-government activities. The government will provide them with certificates in the future to get back to normal life.

Under the national reconciliation, devised by the Syrian government, citizens who have been involved in the five-year-old militancy in the Arab country could become part of a rehabilitation program if they promise to lay down weapons and accept government investigation. The Syrian Ministry for National Reconciliation Affairs was established in 2012.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the ceasefire agreement in Syria, which was brokered by Russia and the United States and entered into force on February 27, has been violated 31 times over the past three days.

Zakharova did not specify which side of the conflict had broken the truce.

When asked about the presence of the Kurds in the upcoming peace talks in Geneva on March 9, Zakharova said the participants are invited by the United Nations, but Russia believes that peace talks without the participation of the Kurds will be imperfect.

“The talks without the participation of the Kurds will be incomplete, and it will affect the process, because the Kurds have a large population, they are a faction and they have participated in the ground counter-terrorism operations. It is not correct to ignore or take no account of these factors only because some delegates don’t want the Kurds to participate in it,” she said.

Turkey has already announced opposition to the presence of the Kurds in the peace talks. Ankara regards the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its umbrella group the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) as an ally of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.

Turkey has been heavily shelling the positions of Syrian Kurdish fighters who are battling Takfiri groups near the two countries’ border.

The Syrian government has said it accepts the terms of the deal on condition that military efforts against Daesh and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front continue.

Photo – © Sputnik/ Iliya Pitalev

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

US defense establishment believes Putin must be ‘defeated’

By Bryan MacDonald | RT | March 3, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin. © Alexei Druzhinin

Russian President Vladimir Putin. © Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik

Certain people in America’s defense establishment believe that only governments that do Washington’s bidding are “truly legitimate.” Others have ideological reasons to stir up tensions with Russia. This fuels discord and creates an unstable world.

Imagine if a major Russian media outlet carried an article with the headline, “How We Can Defeat Obama.” It’s pretty certain that within minutes various pro-NATO analysts would be all over Twitter labeling it as “hybrid warfare,”“Russian aggression” or even, heaven forbid, “hot war.” Or whatever this month’s agreed catchphrase is.

Let’s take it a step further. Ponder what would happen if the same pundits then realized the author was a recently redundant Russian Defense Department official. Without any doubt, the concern-o-meter would reach the stratosphere. Soon, the topic would be trending on Neocon Twitter. Neocon Twitter, by the way, is different than normal Twitter. In this version, all dissenting voices are blocked.

Last week, Newsweek published Evelyn Farkas, the former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia (who vacated the post only last October). In her incredibly aggressive op-ed, Farkas explained “How We Can Defeat Putin.” The same Putin who is the popularly elected President of Russia. The world’s second strongest military power.

Farkas is now an employee of the pro-NATO Atlantic Council, which the formerly venerable Newsweek appears to have partnered with. The Atlantic Council is funded by the US State Department, the US Army, the US Air Force, the UAE & Bahraini governments and various other vested interests. None of them are particularly supportive of Russia. On the other hand, most would directly benefit from increased NATO spending.

Throwing Money At NATO

How does Farkas propose “defeating” Putin? By spending more money on NATO, of course. Also, she suggests sending more weapons to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Of course, it was American meddling in the first two that created the current tensions. The latter country is currently enduring a political crisis and mass protests. This is ignored in the western media, because the corrupt incumbent regime is pro-Washington.

Farkas suggests arming the Syrian opposition, the loose coalition that includes the Al-Nusra front, which is part of Al Qaeda, the same folks who attacked New York on September 11, 2001. Not to mention, that such a course of action would destroy the nascent ceasefire in that unfortunate country.

Reading between the lines, Farkas is essentially suggesting that Washington use Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia (and anti-Assad forces in Syria) as pawns against Russia. With no concern for the economic wellbeing, or safety, of the people who live in those countries (or those in Russia). The complicated ethnic situation in those regions also seems to be irrelevant. The only priority is ‘American interests.’ Which are sacrosanct.

The fact that Farkas is the daughter of a Soviet-era Hungarian dissident is very relevant here. Charles Farkas fled Budapest, for America, following the abortive 1956 uprising. That embryonic freedom movement was brutally oppressed by Nikita Khrushchev’s USSR. Thus, it’s understandable that Evelyn has an axe to grind with Russia, even if many of its current leaders weren’t even born at that time.

Indeed, it seems almost certain that Farkas’ rhetoric projects her own deeply embedded distrust of Russia. Naturally, that hasn’t harmed her career. Hawkish anti-Russian views are attractive to the US military industry, which requires a tangible enemy to maintain funding levels. A glance at her biography shows a meteoric rise, which includes top positions at NATO.

The Big Prize

However, Farkas’s perspective outlines all that’s wrong with how the US interacts with the rest of the world today. She’s calling for the defeat of a leader with 80 percent approval ratings, because he doesn’t support US foreign policy objectives. If Putin prevents America taking over the world, he must be removed. It’s Doctor Evil stuff.

This fanatical analyst believes that Russia is a threat to America. However, it’s NATO which has been expanding during the past two decades, while Moscow has taken a defensive, often highly reactionary posture. For example, in Syria, Assad’s forces had the upper hand in Aleppo and would surely have taken the city, but Putin agreed a ceasefire rather than continue the bloodshed there. A real-life expansionist warmonger would have kept the fighting going.

In reality, it’s America which has been aggressive in this century. Illegally invading Iraq, destroying Libya, facilitating the collapse of Yemen and the Syrian Civil War. In Russia’s backyard, Washington has openly fomented uprisings in Georgia and Ukraine, the results of which have subsequently been rejected at the ballot box. The US-backed regimes in Kiev and Tbilisi were both eventually voted out after the “Orange” and “Rose” revolutions. The current ‘Maidan’ administration in Kiev now has lower approval ratings than the democratically elected, if corrupt, government it replaced.

This indicates that they were never popular upheavals to begin with, but rather driven by capital city liberals, without mass backing in the provinces.

The Washington elite believes that it can dictate to Russians about how they should be governed. They also present fringe opposition figures, like Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Garry Kasparov, as realistic alternatives to Putin. In the real world, serious Russia experts know that these characters have almost no support inside the country.

Russia After Putin?

As it happens, should Putin be removed as President, or voluntarily resign, it’s much more likely that his successor would be far more hardline in their attitude to the West. By Russian standards, Putin is a moderate. The vast majority of Russians are far less tolerant of America’s behavior than their President.

Another Neocon obsession is with NATO expansion. Their argument is that countries wish to join the alliance and that it’s not Russia’s business. That fails to take into account how poor these states are. The likes of Montenegro and Albania can choose to use their own meager resources to maintain a military or ( have their defense spending largely looked after by America. The same America that spends as much on its army as the next nine countries combined.

With NATO, comes money. Lots of it. Dollars are attractive to impoverished nations. Doubtless, if Russia could match US largesse, the situation would probably be very different. Thus, America buys loyalty and these nations become little more than US military bases in Washington’s eyes.

The problem with Farkas’ Newsweek diatribe, and other similarly bellicose American discourse, is how downright dangerous it is. These people believe that any leadership, no matter how popular at home, with an agenda contrary to Washington is invalid and must be removed or defeated. They don’t acknowledge the absurdity that if Russia followed the same logic, there would be an apocalypse. This is because they believe that only the US is allowed to have – and pursue – ‘interests.’

A certain cabal in Washington thinks that only America, and countries that do its bidding are “truly legitimate.” They can only countenance the US agenda, at the expense of all others. This is a recipe for disaster.

Bryan MacDonald is a journalist. He worked in Dublin for many years, for Ireland on Sunday and the Evening Herald. He was also theatre critic of The Daily Mail for a period and a news, features and opinion writer. He now mainly covers Russia.

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Killing Someone Else’s Beloved

Promoting the American Way of War in Campaign 2016

By Mattea Kramer | TomDispatch | March 3, 2016

The crowd that gathered in an airplane hangar in the desert roared with excitement when the man on stage vowed to murder women and children.

It was just another Donald Trump campaign event, and the candidate had affirmed his previously made pledge not only to kill terrorists but to “take out” their family members, too. Outrageous as that might sound, it hardly distinguished Trump from most of his Republican rivals, fiercely competing over who will commit the worst war crimes if elected. All the chilling claims about who will preside over more killings of innocents in distant lands — and the thunderous applause that meets such boasts — could easily be taken as evidence that the megalomaniacal billionaire Republican front-runner, his various opponents, and their legions of supporters, are all crazytown.

Yet Trump’s pledge to murder the civilian relatives of terrorists could be considered quite modest — and, in its bluntness, refreshingly candid — when compared to President Obama’s ongoing policy of loosing drones and U.S. Special Operations forces in the Greater Middle East. Those policies, the assassinations that go with them, and the “collateral damage” they regularly cause are based on one premise when it comes to the American public: that we will permanently suspend our capacity for grief and empathy when it comes to the dead (and the living) in distant countries.

Classified documents recently leaked to the Intercept by a whistleblower describe the “killing campaign” carried out by the CIA and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command in Yemen and Somalia. (The U.S. also conducts drone strikes in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya; the leaked documents explain how President Obama has institutionalized the practice of striking outside regions of “active hostilities.”) Intelligence personnel build a case against a terror suspect and then develop what’s termed a “baseball card” — a condensed dossier with a portrait of the individual targeted and the nature of the alleged threat he poses to U.S. interests — that gets sent up the chain of command, eventually landing in the Oval Office.  The president then meets with more than 100 representatives of his national security team, generally on a weekly basis, to determine just which of those cards will be selected picked for death.  (The New York Times has vividly described this intimate process of choosing assassination targets.)

Orders then make their way down to drone operators somewhere in the United States, thousands of miles from the individuals slated to be killed, who remotely pilot the aircraft to the location and then pull the trigger. But when those drone operators launch missiles on the other side of the world, the terrifying truth is that the U.S. “is often unsure who will die,” as a New York Times headline put it.

That’s because intel on a target’s precise whereabouts at any given moment can be faulty. And so, as the Times reported, “most individuals killed are not on a kill list, and the government does not know their names.” In 2014, for instance, the human-rights group Reprieve, analyzing what limited data on U.S. drone strikes was available, discovered that in attempts to kill 41 terror figures (not all of whom died), 1,147 people were killed.  The study found that the vast majority of strikes failed to take down the intended victim, and thus numerous strikes were often attempted on a single target. The Guardian reported that in attempts to take down 24 men in Pakistan — only six of whom were eventually eliminated in successful drone strikes — the U.S. killed an estimated 142 children.

Trump’s plan merely to murder the relatives of terrorists seems practically tame, by comparison.

Their Grief and Mine 

Apparently you and I are meant to consider all those accidental killings as mere “collateral damage,” or else we’re not meant to consider them at all. We’re supposed to toggle to the “off” position any sentiment of remorse or compassion that we might feel for all the civilians who die thanks to our country’s homicidal approach to keeping us safe.

I admit to a failing here: when I notice such stories, sometimes buried deep in news reports — including the 30 people killed, three of them children, when U.S. airpower “accidentally” hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last October; or the two women and three children blasted to smithereens by U.S. airpower last spring at an Islamic State checkpoint in northern Iraq because the pilots of two A-10 Warthogs attacking the site didn’t realize that civilians were in the vehicles stopped there; or the innumerable similar incidents that have happened with remarkable regularity and which barely make it into American news reports — I find I can’t quite achieve the cold distance necessary to accept our government’s tactics. And for this I blame (or thank) my father.

To understand why it’s so difficult for me to gloss over the dead, you have to know that on December 1, 2003, a date I will never forget nor fully recover from, I called home from a phone booth on a cobblestone street in Switzerland — where I was backpacking at the time — and learned that my Dad was dead. A heart attack that struck as suddenly as a Hellfire missile.

Standing in that sun-warmed phone booth clutching the receiver with a slick hand, vomit gurgling up at the back of my throat, I pressed my eyes closed and saw my Dad. First, I saw his back as he sat at the broad desk in his home office, his spot of thinning hair revealed. Then, I saw him in his nylon pants and baseball cap, paused at the kitchen door on his way to play paddle tennis. And finally, I saw him as I had the last time we parted, at Boston’s Logan Airport, on a patch of dingy grey carpet, as I kissed his whiskered cheek.

A few days later, after mute weeping won me a seat on a fully booked trans-Atlantic flight, I stood in the wan light of early December and watched the employees of the funeral home as they unloosed the pulleys to lower Dad’s wooden box into the ground. I peered down into that earthen hole, crying and sweating and shivering in the stinging cold, and tried to make sense of the senseless: Why was he dead while the rest of us lived?

And that’s why, when I read about all the innocent civilians we’ve been killing over the years with the airpower that presidential candidate Ted Cruz calls “a blessing,” I tend to think about the people left behind. Those who loved the people we’ve killed. I wonder how they received the news. (“We’ve had a tragedy here,” my Mom told me.) I wonder about the shattering anguish they surely feel at the loss of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, friends. I wonder what memories come to them when they squeeze their eyes closed in grief. And I wonder if they’ll ever be able to pick up the pieces of their lives and return to some semblance of normalcy in societies that are often shattering around them. (What I don’t wonder about, though, is whether or not they’re more likely to become radicalized — to hate not just our drones but our country and us — because the answer to that is obvious.)

Playing God in the Oval Office

“It’s the worst thing to ever happen to anyone,” actor Liam Neeson recently wrote on Facebook. He wasn’t talking about drone strikes, but about the fundamental experience of loss — of losing a loved one by any means. He was marking five years since his wife’s sudden death. “They say the hardest thing in the world is losing someone you love,” he added. I won’t disagree. After losing her husband, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg posted about “the brutal moments when I am overtaken by the void, when the months and years stretch out in front of me, endless and empty.” After her husband’s sudden death, author Joan Didion described grief as a “relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.”

That squares with the description offered by a man in Yemen who had much of his extended family blown away by an American drone at his wedding. “I felt myself going deeper and deeper into darkness,” the man later told a reporter. The drone arrived just after the wedding party had climbed into vehicles strewn with ribbons to escort the bride to her groom’s hometown. Everyone’s belly was full of lamb and it was dusk. It was quiet. Then the sky opened, and four missiles rained down on the procession, killing 12.

U.S. airpower has hit a bunch of other weddings, too. And funerals. And clinics. And an unknown and unknowable number of family homes. The CIA’s drone assassination campaign in the tribal regions of Pakistan even led a group of American and Pakistani artists to install an enormous portrait of a child on the ground in a frequently targeted region of that country. The artists wanted drone operators to see the face of one of the young people they might be targeting, instead of the tiny infrared figures on their computer consoles that they colloquially refer to as “bugsplats.” It’s an exhortation to them not to kill someone else’s beloved.

Once in a while a drone operator comes forward to reveal the emotional and psychic burden of passing 12-hour shifts in a windowless bunker on an Air Force base, killing by keystroke for a living. One serviceman’s six years on the job began when he was 21 years old and included a moment when he glimpsed a tiny figure dart around the side of a house in Afghanistan that was the target of a missile already on its way. In terror, he demanded of his co-pilot, “Did that look like a child to you?” Feverishly, he began tapping messages to ask the mission’s remote observer — an intelligence staffer at another location — if there was a child present. He’ll never know the answer. Moments later, the missile struck the house, leveling it. That particular drone operator has since left the military. After his resignation, he spent a bitterly cold winter in his home state of Montana getting blackout drunk and sleeping in a public playground in his government-issued sleeping bag.

Someone else has, of course, taken his seat at that console and continues to receive kill orders from above.

Meanwhile Donald Trump and most of the other Republican candidates have been competing over who can most successfully obliterate combatants as well as civilians. (Ted Cruz’s comment about carpet-bombing ISIS until we find out “if sand can glow in the dark” has practically become a catchphrase.) But it’s not just the Republicans. Every single major candidate from both parties has plans to maintain some version of Washington’s increasingly far-flung drone campaigns. In other words, a program that originated under President George W. Bush as a crucial part of his “global war on terror,” and that was further institutionalized and ramped up under President Obama, will soon be bequeathed to a new president-elect.

When you think about it that way, election 2016 isn’t so much a vote to select the leader of the planet’s last superpower as it is a tournament to decide who will next step into the Oval Office and have the chance to play god.

Who will get your support as the best candidate to continue killing the loved ones of others?

Go to the polls, America.

Mattea Kramer is a TomDispatch regular who writes on a wide range of topics, from military policy to love and loss. She blogs at This Life After Loss. Follow her on Twitter.

Copyright 2016 Mattea Kramer

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bogus arrest of 12 year old boy in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | March 3, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On the 28th of February around 4:00pm, 12 year old Palestinian boy, Sayed Seder was arrested by 10 heavily armed Israeli soldiers whilst playing football with his friends on the street in front of his family home. The Israeli army claim that he was arrested under allegations he was throwing stones at the guard tower which watches over Al-Shallalah Street and the illegal Israeli settlement that has been built directly behind the street and family home.

Sayed’s father, Abed, went down to confront the soldiers after Sayed’s friends came running up to the family home, explaining to the father what was happening.

When Abed approached the soldiers to ask them what exactly they were arresting his son for, the soldiers responded by informing him that it was because he was seen throwing rocks at the guard tower above. However, the street is lined with a protective type of fencing above the shops roofs that prohibits objects being thrown up or in the most common cases, being thrown down by illegal Israeli settlers who live above. Abed put the argument forward that it would have been pointless for his son to have been throwing stones with this protective barrier in place. Perhaps the logic of this made too much sense and the arresting soldier quickly changed his story and then began to tell Abed his son was being arrested for stealing a settler child’s football whilst pointing to the ball that Sayed and his friends were playing with. Abed informed the soldier that the ball Sayed and his friends were playing with was in fact a ball that he had purchased for Sayed from a shop in Halhoul just recently. The soldier who was evidently lying and knowingly falsely accusing Sayed of the above allegations ignored any more of Abed’s protests and continued to arrest Sayed.

Al-Shallalah street where Sayed was arrested

Al-Shallalah street where Sayed was arrested

From this point Sayed was marched to the Shuhada street entrance gate and taken through while his parents and friends were forced to stand back and watch. Sayed was then taken to the local military base on Shuhada street. Upon entering the military base he was reportedly handcuffed and blindfolded. The blindfold remained on for around 30 minutes before being taken off, assuming that it was put on so he could not get a full view of what was happening inside the military compound for security purposes. Sayed alleges that teenage settlers who were allowed into the compound then beat him while the Israeli army simply stood back and did nothing.

Protective fencing installed above Al-Shallalah street and the guard tower

Protective fencing installed above Al-Shallalah street and the guard tower

Sayed was later released from custody at around 9pm to Palestinian authorities where he complained of pain in his kidneys. His father arrived shortly after and took Sayed to hospital where doctors examined him. While the doctors could not find physical wounds that would require further attention they did note that Sayed was severely traumatised from the event and was in a state of shock.

Just 3 months ago the Israeli army arrested one of Abed’s other sons who is 10 years old. The reason for the arrest was that he too was suspected of throwing stones at the military. As Abed didn’t believe this and objected he too was arrested with his 10 year old son. They were detained for 6 hours and released without charge.

One significant fact is that Abed’s house backs onto the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Hadasa. Abed used to sell artisans out of the family home but has had to stop because of ongoing harassment both physical and verbal to himself and to his customers from the settlers that occupy the land next to his home. The front of Abed’s house has been covered in barbed wire by the Israeli military and is adorned with bags of dirty hummus, eggs and other foul items thrown down by the illegal settlers. The army has also boarded up the windows of his family home (without his permission) that overlook Beit Hadasa.

Abed's home and the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Hadasa

Abed’s home and the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Hadasa
The barbed wire at the entrance to Abed's house with rubbish thrown down by settlers

The barbed wire at the entrance to Abed’s house with rubbish thrown down by settlers

While harassment from the settlers in Hebron is often considered an unfortunate normality to most Palestinians living under occupation, the army’s continued bogus charges and harassment of Abed and his family give one the impression that the Zionist regime is using a tactical ploy to get Abed and his family out of their home for further settlement expansion.

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Official: Israel obstructs Jordan agricultural exports to the OPT

MEMO | March 3, 2016

jordan-fruit-marketIsrael has been obstructing Jordanian agricultural exports to the Occupied Palestinian Territories under the pretext that Jordanian products do not conform to Israeli specifications, leading to exports completely stopping in 2015 and early 2016, a Jordanian official revealed.

Salah Al-Tarawneh, assistant secretary-general of the Jordanian ministry of agriculture for marketing and information, said in remarks to Quds Press that the Palestinian Authority asked last month to import tomatoes from Jordan but the Israeli side refused to allow their entry under the pretext that they contain viruses.

Al- Tarawneh explained that although the PA has repeatedly asked the Israeli side to increase agricultural trade with Jordan to meet its needs, Israel has continually refused under the pretext that Jordanian products do not conform to Israeli specifications.

According to data from the Jordanian ministry of agriculture, Jordan’s exports of vegetables and fruits to PA controlled areas completely stopped in 2015.

During the same year, Jordan’s agricultural exports to Israel amounted to more than 20,000 tons of vegetables and 5,000 tons of fruit.

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israelis Welcome GCC Statement on Hezbollah: Reflects Rapprochement with Saudis

Al-Manar | March 3, 2016

As soon as the Gulf Cooperation Council blacklisted the Lebanese party of Resistance – Hezbollah – on Wednesday, Zionist mass media welcomed the resolution, considering it “critical and serious,” reflecting a great relief among Israelis who have been seeking to fight Hezbollah from the Arab gate.

Former Zionist foreign minister Tzipi Livni hailed the GCC resolution as “an important step, while Zionist daily Maariv stated that “blacklisting Hezbollah is an achievement that serves Israel.”

Moreover, the entity’s mass media correlated the GCC resolution against Hezbollah with “the ongoing coordination between Saudi Arabia, Israel” which has recently emerged to public through exchanging visits between both parties.

“Arab world is approaching closer to Israel’s stances, which has been revealed through the Saudi delegations’ visit to Israel, as well as when Saudi Arabia decided to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” the presenter of Tonight at Six talk show for Zionist Channel 1 said.

“It is very important and dramatic development,” he added.

For his part, Yoval King, an expert of Arab affairs, said that “it is an important resolution,” recalling that it is not the first time that Gulf states blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

“They had labeled him as ‘militia’, and announced that violence and provocations he is carrying out in Syria, Yemen and Iraq contradicts with the moral and humanitarian values,” King said.

The Saudi-Zionist coordination witnessed a major shift on the Syrian arena in the face of axis of Resistance, as Zionist sources revealed discussions took place between the armed groups operating in Syria on one hand, and Riyadh and Tel Aviv on the other, about the Syrian developments following the ongoing truce.

“Syrian opposition groups, funded by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel are meeting with their sponsors and discussing with them whether they can make gains in the meantime,” Shmerit Maeir, a Zionist analyst of Arab affairs, said during an interview on the Jewish Channel 2.

“Israel needs a key chair on this table whether through the American players or others, because the bases will now determine whether Hezbollah is allowed to do what the ISIL and Al-Nusra Front are banned from doing. If this really is to happen, we will be facing a major catastrophe,” Maeir stressed.

The Zionist position was symmetrical to the Saudi’s, as it doesn’t rule out the possibility of communicating with the armed groups, like Al-Nusra Front and ISIL in order to coordinate for later steps in Syria.

The GCC, which has been committing a genocide in Yemen since March 2015, held a meeting on Monday during which it blacklisted all Hezbollah affiliated institutions.

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment