Archive | March 31st, 2015

The Mistakes of the Global Imperial State and the Mistakes of Others

NOVANEWS

by Dr: Richard Falk

It was pointed out to me that the oddities of reconciliation without truth that I encountered in the Philippines with respect to the persisting prominence of the Marcos family despite the widespread discrediting of his period of ruler ship (1965-1986) is not as strange as I made it appear. After all, Jeb Bush has recently announced his intention to seek the presidency of the United States in 2016, and George W. Bush despite his deplorable presidency, is regarded as a political asset, and is actively campaigning and raising funds on behalf of his younger brother. In the Philippines, unlike the United States, there was a political rupture brought about by the People Power Movement that drove the Marcos clan from power and led directly to Corey Aquino becoming president, widow of Benigno Aquino Jr., the slain Marcos opponent. Even now this populist triumph is celebrated as a day of national pride for the country, and Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III sits in the Malacañang Palace as the elected leader of the country. Yet the political realities in the Philippines, as with America, are more notable for their continuities with their discredited past than by changes that repudiate and overcome it.

Barack Obama was acting in an admittedly different political setting in the United States when he put aside well grounded allegations of criminality directed at the leadership during the Bush presidency, prudently contending that the country should look forward not backward when it comes to criminal accountability of its former political leaders. Of course, this is the opposite of what was done with surviving German and Japanese leaders after World War II at the widely heralded Nuremberg and Tokyo trials, nor can such prudence ever become the norm in the United States in relation to the crimes of ordinary people, even the laudable whistleblowing crimes of the sort attributed to Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden. Such selective impunity seems to be the price that imperial democracies pay for avoiding civil strife at home, and preferable to the unity associated with authoritarian forms of governance.

For this reason alone, Obama’s morally regressive approach to accountability is politically understandable and prudent. America is polarized, and the most alienated and angry segment of the citizenry embraces the gun culture and likely remains ardently supportive of the sort of militarism and patriotic fervor that had been so strongly in evidence during the Bush presidency.

Thoughts along these lines led me a broader set of reflections. The mistakes that the Philippines makes, however horrifying from the perspectives of human rights, are at least largely confined to the territorial limits of the country and victimize its own citizenry. By way of comparison, the foreign policy mistakes that the United States mainly vicitimize others, although they often do at the same time impose heavy costs on the most marginal and vulnerable of Americans. As a society, many regret the impacts of the Vietnam War or the Iraq War on the serenity and self-esteem of American society, but as Americans we rarely, if ever, pause to lament the immense losses inflicted on societal experience of those living within such distant battlefields of geopolitical ambition. These victim societies are passive recipients of this destructive experience, rarely possessing the capability or even the political will to strike back. Such is the one-sidedness of imperial relationships.

An estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million Vietnamese died during the Vietnam War as compared to 58, 000 Americans, and similar casualty ratios are present in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, without even considering the disruption and devastation experienced. In Iraq since 2003 it is estimated that between 600,000 and 1 million Iraqis were killed, and over 2 million were internally displaced and another 500,000 Iraqis became refugees as a result of the war, while the United States lost in the vicinity of 4,500 combat personnel. Battlefield statistics should not blind us to the absoluteness of each death from the perspective of loved ones, but they do reveal a central dimension of the distribution of the relative human costs of war as between an intervening government and the target society. This calculus of combat death does begin to tell the story of the devastation of a foreign society, or the residual dangers that can materialize in death and maiming injuries long after the guns are silent from lethal unexploded ordinance that litters the countryside for generations, soil contamination by Agent Orange, and warheads containing depleted uranium, as well as a legacy of trauma and many daily reminders of war memories in the shape of devastated landscapes and destroyed landmarks of cultural heritage.

From almost any ethical standpoint it would seem that some conception of international responsibility should restrain the use of force in situations other than those authorized by international law. But that’s not the way the world works. The mistakes and wrongdoing that takes place in a distant foreign war is rarely acknowledged, and never punished or restitution offered. Perversely, it is only the territorial leaders that are held to account (e.g. Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, and Muammar Qaddafi). The United States Government, specifically the Pentagon, makes it a point to tell the world that it does not collect data on civilian casualties associated with its international military operations. In part, there is an attitude of denial, minimizing the ordeals inflicted on foreign countries, and in part there is the salve of an underlying official insistence that the U.S. makes every effort to avoid civilian casualties. In the context of drone warfare, Washington insists that there are very few civilian victims, as measured by the number of deaths, but never admits that a far larger number of civilians huddle in continuous acute fear that they may be targeted or unintentionally struck dead by an errant missile.

Given the statist and imperial structures of world order, it is not surprising that there is so little attention to such issues. The mistakes of an imperial global state have material reverberations far beyond their borders while the mistakes of normal state resound inwardly as in an echo chamber. The wrongs of those who act for the imperial global state are shielded from scrutiny by realistic notions of impunity, while the wrongs of those who act for a normal state are increasingly subject to international procedures of accountability. When this happened after World War II it was called ‘victors’ justice; when it happens now, especially with the one-eyed jurisprudence of ‘liberal legality’ it is explained by reference to prudence and realism, being practical, doing what it is possible, accepting limits, giving a fair trial to those who are accused, deterring some patterns of evil deeds.

This will not change unless either of two things come to pass: a global capability to interpret and implement international criminal law comes into being or the political consciousness of imperial global states is dramatically altered by the internalization of an ethos of responsibility toward foreign societies and their inhabitants. Any description of such advances in law and justice should make us aware of how utopian such expectations remain.

At present, there is only one global imperial state, the United States of America. Some suggest that China’s economic prowess creates a rival center of power and influence that should be acknowledged as a second global imperial state. This seems misleading. China may be more resilient, and is certainly less militarist in its conception of security and pursuit of its interests, but it is not global, nor does it fight wars distant from its homeland. Furthermore, Chinese language, currency, and culture do not enjoy the global reach of English, the U.S. dollar, and franchise capitalism. Undoubtedly, China is currently is arguably the most significant state in the world, but its reality is in keeping with core Westphalian ideas of territorial sovereignty, while the United States operates globally in all regions to solidify its status as the only global imperial state, indeed the first such state in the history of the world.

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ISLAMOPHOBIA IN ALASKA

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‘Leave Alaska,’ ‘Not welcome,’ ‘Go home,’ ‘Take a hike,’ ‘Go away’ graffiti left on property leaves Sudanese Muslim infiltrators concerned.

firstmasjidalaska

An incident over the weekend alarmed members of an immigrant community in Anchorage. However, officials are stopping short of labeling it a hate crime.

A relatively small Muslim community in America’s far north western state of Alaska have put final touches on their first mosque.

A relatively small Muslim community in America’s far north western state of Alaska have put final touches on their first mosque.

On Sunday morning a vehicle outside a multi-family home was found with deflated tires and covered with hateful messages written in washable orange marker. “There was writing on every single window and every single side of both of the cars,” Bock said. “Things that said, ‘Not welcome,’ ‘Go home,’ ‘Take a hike,’ ‘Leave Alaska,’ ‘Go away.’”

15,000 sq ft mega-mosquetrosity rises in Anchorage

15,000 sq ft mega-mosquetrosity rises in Anchorage

Debby Bock is a friend of the five men who live together in the building, all of whom are refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan. Bock came over Sunday, and was shocked by what she saw.

The men called the Anchorage Police Department to file a report. But both they and Bock were surprised that the Department is treating the incident as a vandalism case, and could not spare an officer to respond in person. “I called the police again,” Bock said, “and the dispatcher told me that they had taken a report over the phone, but no one was going to come out, and no one was going to take pictures.”

There's even a halal grocery store

There’s even a halal grocery store

Community members in Spenard, where the incident took place, have made efforts in the last day to show support with men living at the residence targeted. But the men feel unsafe after what happened, according to Bock, and some are wondering if the assault on property constitutes a hate crime.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which monitors hate crimes, has not seen evidence that would involve the organization in the case. “At this time the FBI is not investigating this as a hate crime. We are not a part of the investigation,” said Staci Feger-Pellessier, a communications specialist with the Bureau’s Anchorage division.

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US Gives Iran Talks 50-50 Chance in Final Day

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Image result for US Gives Iran Talks PHOTO

by Al Pessin

The U.S. State Department says key issues remain in dispute with just about a day to go until the deadline to reach agreement on the main points of an accord between the United Nations and Iran on the future of its nuclear program.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf gave the talks just a 50-50 chance of success, saying several issues remain in play as negotiators seek the right balance of terms. But in a phone call with reporters, she disputed a story in Monday’s New York Times that said Iran has backed away from a commitment to ship its stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia.

“This notion that in the last 24 hours that somehow there’s been a shift in this issue, sort of a hardening of positions, just isn’t true,’ said Harf.

The Times story was based on a statement by Iran’s deputy foreign minister. But Harf said Iran’s position has not changed, and that negotiators are working on ways to make the enriched uranium unavailable for bomb making, which experts say could include such steps as diluting it and having the supply inspected frequently.

“What’s important to us is that we can get agreement about the path for them to basically get rid of a large part of their stockpile, so that the remaining stockpile, when put together with the number of centrifuges, the type of centrifuges, all of the different parts of the equation, gets us to a year breakout time,’ said Harf.

‘Breakout time’ is the amount of time it would take Iran to build a nuclear bomb. Currently, international experts put that at just two or three months. The six nations representing the United Nations Security Council want to extend that to at least a year.

Experts say if Iran is allowed to keep the enriched uranium in any form, it will stiffen opposition from some in the U.S. Congress and some U.S. allies in the Middle East.

But Ariane Tabatabai of Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program in Washington says any deal will face opposition.

“Could it be a good deal without the uranium being shipped out? Yes, it could be, depending on what other fixes we find to the other problems. But it would be extremely difficult to sell here (in
Washington). That said, any deal, for a number of people, would be a bad deal,’ said Tabatabai.

Even though the deadline loomed, Monday was a quieter day in the talks, with a lighter schedule of meetings with Iranian officials than in previous days, leaving observers to speculate on what was happening behind the scenes. Several European foreign ministers left the talks, but said they would return if a deal is at hand on Tuesday.

Tabatabai says it’s not surprising that this is the most difficult phase of the talks, with the toughest issues left to the end.

“There’s a lot to overcome. Thirty-six years of animosity and hostile relations are not going to be erased overnight. And then, of course, you have the challenges that any kind of negotiation faces. Both sides are trying to get more. It’s normal and, yes it’s challenging, but it’s what negotiations are about,’ she said.

U.S. officials have said they expect the talks to go until the last minute Tuesday night, and many observers expect them to go at least a little bit beyond. But Marie Harf says the deadline won’t be extended.

“March 31st is the deadline. It has to mean something. And the decisions don’t get easier after March 31st,’ she said.

The stakes are high, even though this is another interim step. The goal is to agree on the main points of an accord to guarantee Iran cannot build a nuclear weapon and to lift international sanctions against it. But officials have not even decided what form any agreement will take – written or oral, joint or separate, signed or unsigned.

The Iranian foreign minister, in particular, has expressed concern that any document would become a target for critics, potentially destroying the process.

U.S. officials say something will have to be made public, but Tabatabai says it does not have to be much.

“There just needs to be something that says to both domestic constituencies, but also U.S. allies elsewhere, that the negotiators are still committed and they have solved some of the issues and can move forward, and they are going to try to address all the details remaining in the next few months.”

Skeptics will want more, and those in the Congress and in the Iranian government will likely get it in secret briefings. But even if the negotiators get some sort of basic agreement, they acknowledge they will still have a lot of work to do to settle all the complex technical details by the end of June.

So, as important as the deadline is to prove that the negotiating process is moving both sides toward their goals, it’s only what one analyst called a milestone on a much longer journey.

White House correspondent Aru Pande contributed to this report.

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Zio-Wahhabi Airstrike Kills at Least 45 in Yemeni Refugee Camp

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Image result for YEMEN WAR PHOTO

 

I$raHell, Zio-Wahhabi  airstrike near a refugee camp in Yemen Monday killed at least 45 people and wounded another 65.

Humanitarian workers said the bombing had targeted a nearby military installation in the northern district of Haradh, but the circumstances involved in the attack were not clear.

Since last Thursday, Zio-Wahhabi-led coalition has conducted an aerial bombardment throughout the country against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, but Yemeni Wahhabi puppet former Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen blamed a Houthi artillery strike for the refugee camp casualties.

A spokesman for the International Organization for Migration said it was not immediately clear how many of those killed were civilians or armed personnel.

On Monday, Pakistan said it would send troops to Saudi Arabia, a regional ally, to join the coalition fighting Houthi rebels, according to a senior government official reported by Reuters.

However, a Pakistan government statement issued later Monday made no mention of troops but said Pakistan is committed to playing a meaningful role ‘in arresting the deteriorating situation in the Middle East.’

Currently, 10 primarily Zio-puppet -Arab states, including several Gulf states, Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, and I$raHell are taking part in the Zio-Wahhabi-led coalition in Yemen.

Fighting Monday

After seizing the Yemeni capital Sana’a last year, the Houthis have advanced toward the southern port city of Aden, the economic center of the impoverished nation.

The insurgents shelled Aden with artillery Monday as they pushed into the northeastern outskirts of the city, while Zio-Wahhabi fighter jets continued to pound rebel positions. Officials said the Houthis and supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh battled local militias.

Meanwhile, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) attempted to airlift nationals from Sana’a. Eighty Indians were flown out Sunday to Djibouti, on the opposite shore of the Gulf of Aden.

Akbaruddin said 400 Indians were being evacuated by sea from Aden and would reach Djibouti on Tuesday. They were to be flown home by the Indian Air Force. The ministry said 4,000 Indian nationals live in Yemen.

The country’s current president, Wahhabi puppet Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, had declared Aden the provisional capital before he fled the country for Riyadh last week.

About 100 people have been killed in the fighting in Aden in the last several days and Hadi’s aides said he has no immediate plans to return there.

Arab leaders pledged Sunday to press their military campaign until Houthi rebels surrender. Hadi asked for help last week, saying the Houthis had rejected efforts for peace.

Zio-Wahhabi-led campaign

The Arab states would rather the U.S. or European governments take the lead in countering the conflict in Yemen, said Yoel Guzansky, an analyst with Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies. But in the absence of a response by the world powers, they feel they must act to protect their interests, he said

‘Yemen is important, not because of Yemen, but because it’s another place where Arabs fight Persians, where Sunnis fight Shi’ites. It’s another pawn on the chessboard of the Middle East,’ Guzansky said.

Analysts said the Arab states are increasingly worried about the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen where groups backed by Iran are gaining strength and where power vacuums are being exploited by Islamist militants.

Zio-Wahhabi Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir said the air campaign in Yemen is not a proxy war between Zio-Wahhabi regime and Iran.

Jubeir called the air campaign a ‘war of necessity’ aimed at returning peace and stability in Saudi Arabia’s southern neighbor and protecting the Yemeni people against radicals with ties both to Iran and Hezbollah

‘We had no choice. We tried every possible way to avoid it. The Yemenis tried every possible way to avoid it,’ he said.

Upheaval in Middle East

A specialist on Arab militaries at the same Institute, Yiftah Shapir, believes a major upheaval is underway in the Middle East.

‘The Middle East is not going to be what it was. I don’t think anybody can say what it’s going to be. We are still in the process. But it’s going to be a very different region than the one it was,’ Shapir said.

Some analysts said the upheaval began four years ago with peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations and evolved into sectarian and ethnic-based conflicts will lead to a re-drawing of national borders set by colonial powers a century ago.

Guzansky said the borders are not changing in these countries but rather their internal political structures.

‘We see a lot of failing states where the regime fell and I think Yemen probably represents the more acute, the more extreme model of that,’ he said.

But Guzansky said there are still strong governments around these failing states, such as Turkey, the Gulf Arab states and I$raHell, among others. And the perceived Iranian threat is drawing them together despite some deep differences.

‘These same interests are converging and this is not new but it’s intensifying between I$raHell and the Arabs. And there’s a genuine paranoia here in Arab capitals,’ he said.

Analysts say the likelihood of a military victory in Yemen is slim and the Zio-Wahhabi-led airstrikes could draw an Iranian response in Yemen or through their allies elsewhere.

Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution in Washington told VOA senior Middle East reporter Mohamed Elshinnawi the Saudis will have to weigh the benefits of such an operation against the inevitable risks.

As a result, analysts say the best solution would be to bring the Yemeni rivals back to the negotiating table and broker some sort of power sharing agreement.

 

 

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Boko Haram ‘weakened’ but still committing ‘horrendous’ acts, says UN regional envoy

Image result for Boko Haram LOGO

As the Security Council met this morning to discuss threats to international peace and security caused by terrorism, top United Nations officials briefed the 15-member body on the impact of Boko Haram in Nigeria and beyond, warning of the group’s intensified violence and brutality.

“Though weakened, the group continues to commit horrendous acts against civilians, including against women and children,” said Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA). “Boko Haram’s recent allegiance to the Islamic State for Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), whether for publicity reasons or to tap into ISIL’s support, is also of concern as it is gives a clear signal that Boko Haram’s agenda goes well beyond Nigeria.”

Mr. Chambas, who was joined in the Council by Assistant Secretary-General Kyung Wha-Kang of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, outlined reports of the abduction, abuse, recruiting, maiming and killing of children, saying schools in the country’s north-east and in areas of Cameroon and Niger targeted by Boko Haram no longer safe places of learning, with many attacked, looted, and destroyed.

“In 2014, the group also commenced using young girls as suicide bombers for attacks in populated urban areas,” he said. “We have also observed an alarming trend of children being used by the group as human shields.”

Ms Kang described the humanitarian needs arising from Boko Haram attacks, saying that more than 7,300 civilians had been killed by Boko Haram since the beginning of 2014 in the three ‘state of emergency’ States, including 1,000 people this year alone.

As many as three million people in northern Nigeria would not be able to meet their basic food needs after July 2015 without humanitarian aid and the work of Federal and State authorities was not enough to meet those needs.

“The humanitarian situation in north-east Nigeria and in the conflict-affected areas in neighbouring countries remains dire,” said Ms. Kang. “The conflict continues to have a devastating impact on women, children and young people, as well as on many others who have been traumatized by violence. Additional funding to address the acute humanitarian needs of those affected by the conflict is urgently needed.”

She said Boko Haram’s activities had created tens of thousands of refugees, returnees and internally displaced people in Chad, Cameroon and Niger, with schools and health services badly affected, and frequent reports of gross human rights violations.

Mr. Chambas stressed the issue of human rights abuses, pointing to evaluation missions launched by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that visited the Far North region of Cameroon and the Diffa region of Niger. Both found human rights abuses, including indiscriminate killing of civilians, abductions and forcible recruitment of civilians into combat.

Since Boko Haram attacks in Diffa in February, Mr. Chambas said schools in the region remained closed, depriving children of the right to be educated.

“The local economy in the Diffa region is also being negatively affected by a continuing State of Emergency,” he said. “In response to these and other concerns, the United Nations is in the process of scaling up its presence and operations in Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon.”

Mr. Chambas commended the response of the Lake Chad Basin Commission countries, notably the joint regional offensive, which involved troops from all four countries and which resulted in the recapture of several key towns in north-east Nigeria.

“At the beginning of the year, Boko Haram controlled some 20 local governmental districts in the three north-eastern states in Nigeria,” he said. “Today, Boko Haram holds only a few areas in Borno State. Moreover, according to reports by the Nigerian Army, on 27 March, Boko Haram’s headquarters in Gwoza was captured.”

Stressing UN support for such efforts, he underlined that counter-insurgency operations must be free from human rights violations.

“This is not only an absolutely vital principle, but also an effective strategy,” he said. “Communities which believe that their Government seeks to protect them are far more likely to cooperate with the authorities, and far less likely to support insurgent groups.”

He also reiterated the Secretary-General’s message that a military approach alone would not suffice in containing the Boko Haram threat, and stressed the international community’s obligation to help the countries of the region to address the social, economic and political challenges associated with Boko Haram.

Both Mr. Chambas and Ms Kang made reference to general elections that took place in Nigeria over the previous weekend. Mr. Chambas said that the observation mission by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had noted only “pockets of incidents and logistical challenges,” with the elections passing the test as “free and transparent.”

Ms. Kang added that despite reports of suspected Boko Haram attacks in Yobe, Gombe and Borno States, no additional humanitarian needs had so far emerged as a result of the election.

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SYRIAN ARMY JUGGERNAUT IN ZABADAANI

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MORE CRUCIAL ELEVATIONS CONQUERED FROM ZIO-WAHHABI RATS
image: http://www.jpnews-sy.com/ar/images/news/big/85607.jpg

التطورات الميدانية ليوم الأحد.. استهدف الإرهابيين بقصف صاروخي ومروحي للجيشDAMASCUS PROVINCE:

Tallat Dhuhoor Al-Baydar:  Another strategic elevation over Al-Zabadaani was liberated yesterday by the SAA.  This was once occupied by the Zio-Wahhabi Alqaeda/Nusra group of terrorists supported by units of Ahraar Al-Shaam.  Weapons and ammunition were left behind by the terrorist RATS who fled toward their Jewish Zionist masters.  According to Monzer, early reports indicate 11 rodents killed with many wounded seen being carried off toward Occupied Palestine.

Elevation Point 1715: This is, also, in the Western Al-Zabadaani Mountains where Zio-Wahhabi  Alqaeda murderers once found haven.  Not any more.  3 rats killed in the operation to take back this site.

Sheer Al-Nusoor and Dhahrat Al-Zaytoon:  The last terrorists surrendered here this morning to the SAA.  They will not be offered any Amnesty because they were members of Alqaeda and were mostly foreigners.  SyrPer is demanding their execution.

Faaleetaa:  At the border with Lebanon, the SAA killed 13 filthy, plague-carrying rodents:

‘Ali Hakkoom

Anwar Mahmoud Sa’ad

Jihaad ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Saalih

The others were not named and are presumed to be foreign.

Doumaa:  At the Tal Kurdi Farms and Al-Reehaan Farms, 23 rodents were killed and scores wounded in a perfected ambush laid by the SAA and the NDC.  These were ‘Alloosh’s criminals complemented by a toxic dose of Al-Ittihaad Al-Islaami Li-Ajnaad Al-Shaam (yawn).  A large cache of weapons and ammo was discovered and immediately turned over to our militias for killing Zio-Wahhbist pigs.

Harastaa:  East of the Secondary Roundabout near Salaahuddeen Mosque.  7 rodents were seen fall by spotters.  No other details available.

image: http://www.jpnews-sy.com/ar/images/news/big/85674.jpg

مخيم اليرموك: Yarmouk Camp:  Unidentified killers shot to death a Hamas jackal by the name of Dr. Yahyaa Hawraani (a/k/a “Abu Suhayb”) while he was on his way to the Palestine Hospital inside the camp. Zio-Wahhabi Nusra is believed to be behind the assassination, but, has instead accused the Fake Syrian Army of the crime.

Al-Zamaaniyya Farms:  3 vermin taken down here:

Bahaa` Sharafeeddeen

Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Tabbaan

‘Umraan ‘Abdul-Majeed Taqtaq

East Ghoutaa:  10 RATS killed trying to infiltrate into Dhumayr.  They were ambushed by the SAA after several hours monitoring their movements and communications:

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UN says I$raHell worst violator of human rights

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March 12, 2014: Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights speaks during a press conference about his annual report to the Human Rights Council on the use of remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, in extraterritorial lethal counter-terrorism operations, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland.

What country deserves more condemnation for violating human rights than any other nation on earth? According to the U.N.’s top human rights body, that would be Israel.

Last week, Israel was the U.N.’s number one women’s rights violator. This week it is the U.N.’s all-round human rights villain.

The U.N. Human Rights Council wrapped up its latest session in Geneva on Friday, March 27 by adopting four resolutions condemning Israel.  That’s four times more than any of the other 192 UN member states.

4 Resolutions on Israel.

1 On North Korea.

1 One on Syria.

1 One on Iran.

And what did that one resolution on Iran say? Co-sponsored by the United States, it was labelled a “short procedural text,” consisting of just three operative paragraphs that contained not a single condemnation of Iran.

The Israel resolutions, on the other hand, were full of “demands,” “condemns,” “expresses grave concern,” and “deplores” – along with orders to “cease immediately” a long list of alleged human rights violations.

Ninety percent of states – inhabited by 6.6 billion people – got no mention at all. Countries like, Qatar, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.  For the UN, there was not one human rights violation worthy of mention by any of these human rights Council.

Why not? For starters, Qatar, Russia and Saudi Arabia are all members of the UN Human Rights Council. Actually protecting human rights is not a condition of being elected to the Council, and thereby transforming into a UN authority on what counts as a human rights violation.

Thus at this session, “death to America” Iran sponsored a Council resolution called “Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights.” It was adopted by consensus – with U.S. blessing.

The Cubans successfully engineered a Council resolution on protecting “cultural rights” – minus free expression.

The Palestinians PA co-sponsored the resolution “effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights.”

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation – representing states where converting to Christianity is subject to the death penalty – sponsored a resolution called “combating intolerance of persons based on religion or belief.”

Iran’s human rights record happened to come up at the March session in the context of what the Council calls a “universal periodic review” (UPR). Touted as its leading human rights innovation, the same process is applied to every state every four years.

That means Iran and Syria get treated the same way as, say, the United States and Canada.  At the end of the UPR, a report is summarily adopted containing a bunch of recommendations that the former cast of characters summarily dismiss.

 

 

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The uncounted: why the US can’t keep track of people killed by police

NOVANEWS

A protester holds an image of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/18/police-killings-government-data…

A year ago, in a bureaucratic shift that went unremarked in the somnolent days before Michael Brown was shot dead in Ferguson, Missouri, the US government admitted a disturbing failure. The top crime-data experts in Washington had determined that they could not properly count how many Americans die each year at the hands of police. For the better part of a decade, a specialized team of statisticians within the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)… had been collecting data [on] any death, of anyone, that happened in the presence of a local or state law enforcement officer. In March of last year, the bureau pulled the plug on the project. 

As revelations about patterns of abuse in Ferguson and beyond rattle the US criminal justice system from bottom to top, calls for a national police-killings database have once again gained urgency. But an awareness of what has been tried – and failed – remains elusive. A detailed look at what went wrong with the arrest-related deaths count reveals challenges that run deeper than the unwillingness of local police departments to file a report. From 2003 to 2009, plus 2011, the FBI counted an average of 383 “justifiable homicides by law enforcement” each year. The actual number, as estimated by the BJS study, was closer to 928.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.

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US sets new record for denying federal files under Freedom of Information Act

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Capitol building

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/18/us-new-record-denying-files…

The US has set a new record for denying and censoring federal files under the Freedom of Information Act, analysis by the Associated Press reveals. For the second consecutive year, the Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them under the open-government legislation. The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents, and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy. It also acknowledged in nearly one in three cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law – but only when it was challenged.

Its backlog of unanswered requests at year’s end grew remarkably by 55% to more than 200,000. Citizens, journalists, businesses and others made a record 714,231 requests for information. The US spent a record $434m trying to keep up. The government responded to 647,142 requests, a 4% decrease over the previous year. “What we discovered reaffirmed what we have seen all too frequently in recent years,” [The AP’s chief executive, Gary] Pruitt wrote in a column published this week. “The systems created to give citizens information about their government are badly broken and getting worse all the time.”

Note: It appears the the UK’s Guardian was the only major media to pick up this AP article. Is this a form of censorship? For more, read how the US government now blocks specific journalists from accessing information, or see concise summaries of news articles about mass media manipulation.

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US Threatened Germany Over Snowden, Vice Chancellor Says

NOVANEWS

Featured photo - US Threatened Germany Over Snowden, Vice Chancellor Says

The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/03/19/us-threatened-germany-snowden…

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said this week in Homburg that the U.S. government threatened to cease sharing intelligence with Germany if Berlin offered asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or otherwise arranged for him to travel to that country.

“They told us they would stop notifying us of plots and other intelligence matters,” Gabriel said. The vice chancellor delivered a speech in which he praised the journalists who worked on the Snowden archive, and then lamented the fact that Snowden was forced to seek refuge in “Vladimir Putin’s autocratic Russia” because no other nation was willing and able to protect him from threats of imprisonment by the U.S. government. [When pressed] as to why the German government could not and would not offer Snowden asylum – which, under international law, negates the asylee’s status as a fugitive – [the vice chancellor said] that the U.S. government had aggressively threatened the Germans that if they did so, they would be “cut off” from all intelligence sharing.

That would mean, if the threat were carried out, that the Americans would literally allow the German population to remain vulnerable to a brewing attack discovered by the Americans by withholding that information from their government.

Note: While treated as a dangerous criminal by US authorities, Edward Snowden has been called a hero in the UK’s Guardian for exposing government corruption and intelligence agency lies.

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