Archive | October 8th, 2015

Lawmakers in India-held Kashmir punch colleague for serving beef

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Differences have deepened within Kashmir's ruling coalition, with the Hindu nationalist party demanding a ban on slaughtering cows and selling beef in the Muslim-majority state. — AFP/FileDifferences have deepened within Kashmir’s ruling coalition, with the Hindu nationalist party demanding a ban on slaughtering cows and selling beef in the Muslim-majority state. — AFP/File

SRINAGAR: Lawmakers from India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party in India-held Kashmir have kicked and punched an independent member of the state assembly for hosting a party where he served beef. Slaughtering of cows is banned in most Indian states.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members beat lawmaker Rashid Ahmed, a Muslim, in the assembly soon after its session began Thursday.

Other opposition lawmakers rescued Ahmed and later staged a walkout.

The ruling party lawmakers were angry over a party hosted by Ahmed the previous night at which he served beef.

Differences have deepened within Kashmir’s ruling coalition, with the Hindu nationalist party demanding a ban on slaughtering cows and selling beef in the Muslim-majority state.

 

 

Moves to protect cows have intensified since Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP came to power after general elections last May.

Many Hindus regard the cow as the living symbol of their religion and consider it sacred. Hindu welfare organisations run gaushalas, or cow shelters, in many cities where abandoned cows found wandering the streets are given food and shelter.

Feeding a cow is seen by many Hindus as a way to appease the gods and get one’s wishes fulfilled.

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Glenn Greenwald On Battling ‘Establishment Media’ ‘VIDEO’

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Image result for NSA LOGO

“What we did was as much a battle against establishment media as it was against electronic surveillance.”


In this video acTVism Munich asks Glenn Greenwald at a Press Conference in Munich his opinion on the Mainstream Corporate Media and their reaction towards the NSA disclosures brought to light by whistleblower, Edward Snowden. Furthermore, Greenwald talks about the signficance of the preparations that he undertook with Laura Poitras and Edward Snowden before they decided to go public with the highly-classifed NSA documents. The next two parts of this press conference with Greenwald will be released soon.

About Glenn Greenwald:

Glenn Edward Greenwald is an American lawyerjournalist and author.  In June 2013 Greenwald became widely known after The Guardian published the first of a series of reports detailing United States and Britishglobal surveillance programs, based on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden. The series on which Greenwald worked along with others won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

His reporting on the National Security Agency (NSA) won numerous other awards around the world, including top investigative journalism prizes from the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting,the 2013 Online Journalism Awards, the Esso Award for Excellence in Reporting in Brazil for his articles in O Globo on NSA mass surveillance of Brazilians (becoming the first foreigner to win the award), the 2013 Libertad de Expresion Internacional award from Argentinian magazine Perfil, and the 2013 Pioneer Award from theElectronic Frontier Foundation.

His work on the NSA files was in part the subject of the film Citizenfour, which won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Greenwald appeared onstage at the Oscar ceremony with the film’s director, Laura Poitras, as she accepted the award.

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Doctors Without Borders Airstrike: US Alters Story For Fourth Time In Four Days

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Commander of war in Afghanistan tells Senate panel that US forces had called in airstrike at Afghan request – ‘an admission of a war crime’ says MSF chief.

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US special operations forces – not their Afghan allies – called in the deadly airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, the US commander has conceded.

Shortly before General John Campbell, the commander of the US and Nato war in Afghanistan, testified to a Senate panel, the president of Doctors Without Borders – also known as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) – said the US and Afghanistan had made an “admission of a war crime”.

Shifting the US account of the Saturday morning airstrike for the fourth time in as many days, Campbell reiterated that Afghan forces had requested US air cover after being engaged in a “tenacious fight” to retake the northern city of Kunduz from the Taliban. But, modifying the account he gave at a press conference on Monday, Campbell said those Afghan forces had not directly communicated with the US pilots of an AC-130 gunship overhead.

“Even though the Afghans request that support, it still has to go through a rigorous US procedure to enable fires to go on the ground. We had a special operations unit that was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft that delivered those fires,” Campbell told the Senate armed services committee on Tuesday morning.

The airstrike on the hospital is among the worst and most visible cases of civilian deaths caused by US forces during the 14-year Afghanistan war that Barack Obama has declared all but over. It killed 12 MSF staff and 10 patients, who had sought medical treatment after the Taliban overran Kunduz last weekend. Three children died in the airstrike that came in multiple waves and burned patients alive in their beds.

On Tuesday, MSF denounced Campbell’s press conference as an attempt to shift blame to the Afghans.

“The US military remains responsible for the targets it hits, even though it is part of a coalition,” said its director general, Christopher Stokes.

Campbell did not explain whether the procedures to launch the airstrike took into account the GPS coordinates of the MSF field hospital, which its president, Joanne Liu, said were “regularly shared” with US, coalition and Afghan military officers and civilian officials, “as recently as Tuesday 29 September”.

AC-130 gunships, which fly low, typically rely on a pilot visually identifying a target.

It is also unclear where the US special operations forces were relative to the fighting, but Campbell has said that US units were “not directly engaged in the fighting”.

Campbell instead said the hospital was “mistakenly struck” by US forces.

“We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility,” Campbell told US lawmakers, declaring that he wanted an investigation by his command to “take its course” instead of providing further detail.

But Jason Cone, Doctors Without Borders’ US executive director, said Campbell’s shifting story underscored the need for an independent inquiry.

“Today’s statement from General Campbell is just the latest in a long list of confusing accounts from the US military about what happened in Kunduz on Saturday,” Cone said.

“They are now back to talking about a ‘mistake’. A mistake that lasted for more than an hour, despite the fact that the location of the hospital was well known to them and that they were informed during the airstrike that it was a hospital being hit. All this confusion just underlines once again the crucial need for an independent investigation into how a major hospital, full of patients and MSF staff, could be repeatedly bombed.”

Campbell suggested but did not say that the Afghans were taking fire from the Taliban from within the hospital grounds, a claim the Afghan government has explicitly made. MSF unequivocally denies that the hospital was a source of fire. It has also noted the precision of the strike that hit only the main hospital building and not its adjuncts.

Mary Ellen O’Connell, a professor of international law at the University of Notre Dame, said that according to international humanitarian law, the critical question for determining if US forces committed a war crime was whether they had notified the hospital ahead of the strike if they understood the Taliban to be firing from the hospital.

“Any serious violation of the law of armed conflict, such as attacking a hospital that is immune from intentional attack, is a war crime. Hospitals are immune from attack during an armed conflict unless being used by one party to harm the other and then only after a warning that it will be attacked,” O’Connell said.


How the story shifted
3 October
“U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz city at 2:15am (local), Oct. 3, against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”
Colonel Brian Tribus, spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan
4 October
“U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz city at 2:15am (local), Oct. 3, against insurgents who were directly firing upon U.S. service members advising and assisting Afghan Security Forces in the city of Kunduz. The strike was conducted in the vicinity of a Doctors Without Borders medical facility.”
Colonel Brian Tribus, spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan
5 October
“We have now learned that on October 3rd, Afghan forces advised that they were taking fire from enemy positions and asked for air support from U.S. forces. An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck. This is different from initial reports which indicated that U.S. forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf.”
General John Campbell, commander, US Forces-Afghanistan and Nato’s Operation Resolute Support
6 October
“Even though the Afghans request that support, it still has to go through a rigorous US procedure to enable fires to go on the ground. We had a special operations unit that was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft that delivered those fires.”General John Campbell, commander, US Forces-Afghanistan and Nato’s Operation Resolute Support

The US account has now shifted four times in four days. On Saturday, the US military said it did not know for certain that it had struck the hospital but that US forces were taking fire in Kunduz.On Sunday, it said that the strike took place in the “vicinity” of the hospital and suggested it had been accidentally struck. On Monday, Campbell said that the Afghans requested the strike and said US forces in the area were not “threatened”.

On Tuesday, he clarified that US forces called in the airstrike themselves at Afghan request.Meanwhile, the defense secretary, Ashton Carter, said in a statement on Tuesday, that the Department of Defense “deeply regrets the loss of innocent lives that resulted from this tragic event”.Doctors Without Borders has demanded an independent inquiry, rejecting the three current investigations – by the US, Nato and the Afghans – as compromised by their partiality.

This attack cannot be brushed aside as a mere mistake or an inevitable consequence of war. Statements from the Afghanistan government have claimed that Taliban forces were using the hospital to fire on coalition forces. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital, which amounts to an admission of a war crime,” Liu said on Tuesday.In the past, the US has upbraided both allies and adversaries over the indiscriminate use of aerial strikes.

On Thursday, the US defense secretary said Russia was pouring “gasoline on the fire” of the Syrian civil war after it launched a campaign of airstrikes against opponents of Moscow’s ally Bashar al-Assad.A day later, the National Security Council spokesman, Ned Price, said the White House was “deeply concerned” that its Saudi ally in the Yemen conflict had bombed a wedding party, something the US itself did in Yemen in 2013.

When Israel shelled a UN school in Gaza housing thousands of displaced Palestinians in August 2014, a State Department spokesman said the US was “appalled” by the “disgraceful” attack.Addressing Tuesday’s committee hearing, Campbell confirmed that he has recommended to Obama that the US retain thousands of troops in Afghanistan beyond Obama’s presidency – reversing a plan to reduce the force to one focused on protecting the US embassy in Kabul.He argued for “strategic patience” in the longest war in US history, which has now stretched five years longer than the failed Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

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Backed by Russian Strikes, Syrian Military Looks to Retake Northwest

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The Syrian military is launching a ‘major offensive’ against the rebels in the area north of Hama, in the area spanning the Hama and Idlib Provinces

MOSCOW, October 8 (AFP) – A Syrian military source told AFP government troops had begun a broad ground operation near the village of Latmeen in Hama province, aided by Russian air cover.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported at least 40 Russian air strikes in Hama and neighbouring Idlib province, which is controlled by the powerful Army of Conquest alliance that includes Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

The alliance has sought to expand into Hama from Idlib and seize high ground to target the neighbouring regime stronghold of Latakia province.

The Britain-based Observatory said “many raids, believed to be from Russian warplanes, killed six people” including two children in Maraat al-Numan in Idlib.

Rebels targeted in Hama –

A military source in Hama told AFP that “the Syrian army in its latest operations is working on cutting off the southern parts of Idlib province from the northern parts of Hama province.”

He added that the operations were also intended to begin securing the major highway between Aleppo and Damascus.

Putin said Russian strikes would “be synchronised with the actions of the Syrian army on the ground” to support the regime’s offensive operations.

AFP has concluded after a careful reading of Russia’s video map that at least one cruise missile struck near the IS-held city of Al-Bab in Aleppo province, while several others appeared to head towards targets in Idlib.

Russia says its forces have hit 112 targets since its operations in Syria – which it insists target IS and other “terrorist groups” – began on September 30.

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A Short History of US Bombing of Civilian Facilities

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We’re not even counting Dresden, Hiroshima, Pyongyang…

 The Intercept

On October 3, a U.S. AC-130 gunship attacked a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in Kunduz, Afghanistan, partially destroying it. Twelve staff members and 10 patients, including three children, were killed, and 37 people were injured. According to MSF, the U.S. had previously been informed of the hospital’s precise location, and the attack continued for 30 minutes after staff members desperately called the U.S. military.

The U.S. first claimed the hospital had been “collateral damage” in an airstrike aimed at “individuals” elsewhere who were “threatening the force.” Since then, various vague and contradictory explanations have been offered by the U.S. and Afghan governments, both of which promise to investigate the bombing. MSF has called the attack a war crime and demanded an independent investigation by a commission set up under the Geneva Conventions.

While the international outcry has been significant, history suggests this is less because of what happened and more because of whom it happened to. The U.S. has repeatedly attacked civilian facilities in the past but the targets have generally not been affiliated with a European, Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian organization such as MSF.

Below is a sampling of such incidents since the 1991 Gulf War. If you believe some significant examples are missing, please send them our way. To be clear, we’re looking for U.S. attacks on specifically civilian facilities, such as hospitals or schools.

Infant Formula Production Plant, Abu Ghraib, Iraq (January 21, 1991)

On the seventh day of Operation Desert Storm, aimed at evicting Iraq military forces from Kuwait, the U.S.-led coalition bombed the Infant Formula Production Plant in the Abu Ghraib suburb of Baghdad. Iraq declared that the factory was exactly what its name said, but the administration of President George H.W. Bush claimed it was “a production facility for biological weapons.” Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, chimed in to say, “It is not an infant formula factory. It was a biological weapons facility — of that we are sure.” The U.S. media chortled about Iraq’s clumsy, transparent propaganda, and CNN’s Peter Arnett was attacked by U.S. politicians for touring the damaged factory and reporting that “whatever else it did, it did produce infant formula.”

Iraq was telling the truth. When Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, defected to Jordan in 1995, he had every incentive to undermine Saddam, since he hoped the U.S. would help install him as his father-in-law’s successor — but he told CNN “there is nothing military about that place. … It only produced baby milk.” The CIA’s own investigation later concluded the site had been bombed “in the mistaken belief that it was a key BW [Biological Weapon] facility.” The original U.S. claims have nevertheless proven impossible to stamp out. The George W. Bush administration, making the case for invading Iraq in 2003, portrayed the factory as a symbol of Iraqi deceit. When the Newseum opened in 2008, it included Arnett’s 1991 reporting in a section devoted to — in the New York Times’ description — “examples of distortions that mar the profession.”

Air Raid Shelter, Amiriyah, Iraq (February 13, 1991)

The U.S. purposefully targeted an air raid shelter near the Baghdad airport with two 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs, which punched through 10 feet of concrete and killed at least 408 Iraqi civilians. A BBC journalist reported that “we saw the charred and mutilated remains. … They were piled onto the back of a truck; many were barely recognizable as human.” Meanwhile, Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Kelly of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said: “We are chagrined if [civilian] people were hurt, but the only information we have about people being hurt is coming out of the controlled press in Baghdad.” Another U.S. general claimed the shelter was “an active command-and-control structure,” while anonymous officials said military trucks and limousines for Iraq’s senior leadership had been seen at the building.

In his 1995 CNN interview, Hussein Kamel said, “There was no leadership there. There was a transmission apparatus for the Iraqi intelligence, but the allies had the ability to monitor that apparatus and knew that it was not important.” The Iraqi blogger Riverbend later wrote that several years after the attack, she went to the shelter and met a “small, slight woman” who now lived in the shelter and gave visitors unofficial tours. Eight of her nine children had been killed in the bombing.

Al Shifa pharmaceutical factory, Khartoum, Sudan (August 20, 1998)

After al Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the Clinton administration targeted the Al Shifa factory with 13 cruise missiles, killing one person and wounding 11. According to President Bill Clinton, the plant was “associated with the bin Laden network” and was “involved in the production of materials for chemical weapons.”

The Clinton administration never produced any convincing evidence that this was true. By 2005, the best the U.S. could do was say, as the New York Times characterized it, that it had not “ruled out the possibility” that the original claims were right. The long-term damage to Sudan was enormous. Jonathan Belke of the Near East Foundation pointed out a year after the bombing that the plant had produced “90 percent of Sudan’s major pharmaceutical products” and contended that due to its destruction “tens of thousands of people — many of them children — have suffered and died from malaria, tuberculosis, and other treatable diseases.” Sudan has repeatedly requested a U.N. investigation of the bombing, with no success.

Train bombing, Grdelica, Serbia (April 12, 1999)

During the U.S.-led bombing of Serbia during the Kosovo war, an F-15E fighter jet fired two remotely-guided missiles that hit a train crossing a bridge near Grdelica, killing at least 14 civilians. Gen. Wesley Clark, then Supreme Allied Commander Europe, called it “an unfortunate incident we all regret.” While the F-15 crew was able to control the missiles after they were launched, NATO released footage taken from the plane to demonstrate how quickly the train was moving and how little time the jet’s crew had to react. The German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau later reported that the video had been sped up three times. The paper quoted a U.S. Air Force spokesperson who said this was accidental, and they had not noticed this until months later — by which point “we did not deem it useful to go public with this.”

Radio Television Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia (April 23, 1999)

Sixteen employees of Serbia’s state broadcasting system were killed during the Kosovo War when NATO intentionally targeted its headquarters in Belgrade. President Clinton gave an underwhelming defense of the bombing: “Our military leaders at NATO believe … that the Serb television is an essential instrument of Mr. Milosevic’s command and control. … It is not, in a conventional sense, therefore, a media outlet. That was a decision they made, and I did not reverse it.” U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke told the Overseas Press Club immediately after the attack that it was “an enormously important and, I think, positive development.” Amnesty International later stated it was “a deliberate attack on a civilian object and as such constitutes a war crime.”

Chinese Embassy, Belgrade, Serbia (May 7, 1999)

Also during the Kosovo war, the U.S. bombed the Chinese embassy in Serbia’s capital, killing three staff and wounding more than 20. The defense secretary at the time, William Cohen, said it was a terrible mistake: “One of our planes attacked the wrong target because the bombing instructions were based on an outdated map.” The Observer newspaper in the U.K. later reported the U.S. had in fact deliberately targeted the embassy “after discovering it was being used to transmit Yugoslav army communications.” The Observer quoted “a source in the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency” calling Cohen’s version of events “a damned lie.” Prodded by the media watchdog organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the New York Times produced its own investigation finding “no evidence that the bombing of the embassy had been a deliberate act,” but rather that it had been caused by a “bizarre chain of missteps.” The article concluded by quoting Porter Goss, then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, as saying he believed the bombing was not deliberate – “unless some people are lying to me.”

Red Cross complex, Kabul, Afghanistan (October 16 and October 26, 2001)

At the beginning of the U.S-led invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. attacked the complex housing the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul. In an attempt to prevent such incidents in the future, the U.S. conducted detailed discussions with the Red Cross about the location of all of its installations in the country. Then the U.S. bombed the same complex again. The second attack destroyed warehouses containing tons of food and supplies for refugees. “Whoever is responsible will have to come to Geneva for a formal explanation,” said a Red Cross spokesperson. “Firing, shooting, bombing, a warehouse clearly marked with the Red Cross emblem is a very serious incident. … Now we’ve got 55,000 people without that food or blankets, with nothing at all.”

Al Jazeera office, Kabul, Afghanistan (November 13, 2001)

Several weeks after the Red Cross attacks, the U.S. bombed the Kabul bureau of Al Jazeera, destroying it and damaging the nearby office of the BBC. Al Jazeera’s managing director said the channel had repeatedly informed the U.S. military of its office’s location.

Al Jazeera office, Baghdad, Iraq (April 8, 2003)

Soon after the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the U.S. bombed the Baghdad office of Al Jazeera, killing reporter Tarek Ayoub and injuring another journalist. David Blunkett, the British home secretary at the time, subsequently revealed that a few weeks before the attack he had urged Prime Minister Tony Blair to bomb Al Jazeera’s transmitter in Baghdad. Blunkett argued, “I don’t think that there are targets in a war that you can rule out because you don’t actually have military personnel inside them if they are attempting to win a propaganda battle on behalf of your enemy.”

In 2005, the British newspaper The Mirror reported on a British government memorandum recording an April 16, 2004, conversation between Blair and President Bush at the height of the U.S. assault on Fallujah in Iraq. The Bush administration was infuriated by Al Jazeera’s coverage of Fallujah, and according to The Mirror, Bush had wanted to bomb the channel at its Qatar headquarters and elsewhere. However, the article says, Blair argued him out of it. Blair subsequently called The Mirror’s claims a “conspiracy theory.” Meanwhile, his attorney general threatened to use the Official Secrets Act to prosecute any news outlet that published further information about the memo, and, in a secret trial, did in fact prosecute and send to jail a civil servant for leaking it.

Palestine Hotel, Baghdad, Iraq (April 8, 2003)

The same day as the 2003 bombing of the Al Jazeera office in Baghdad, a U.S. tank fired a shell at the 15th floor of the Palestine Hotel, where most foreign journalists were then staying. Two reporters were killed: Taras Protsyuk, a cameraman for Reuters, and Jose Couso, a cameraman for the Spanish network Telecinco. An investigation by the Committee to Protect Journalists concluded that the attack, “while not deliberate, was avoidable.”

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US Defense Secretary: No Cooperation With Russians Possible as Long as They Target Al-Qaeda

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Ash Carter believes Russians should only be bombing ISIS

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday the U.S.-led coalition has not agreed to cooperate with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State and no collaboration is possible as long as Moscow continues to strike other targets.

He said the U.S. will conduct basic, technical talks with Russia about efforts to ensure that flights over Syria are conducted safely, and, “That’s it.”

Carter spoke during a press conference in Rome with Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti. A Russian official has called for broader talks on cooperation in the Syrian conflict.

The United States, Carter said, is not prepared to cooperate with a strategy of Russia’s that is “tragically flawed.”

“They continue to hit targets that are not ISIL,” Carter said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. “We believe that is a fundamental mistake.”

Carter said he is concerned about the Syrian ground offensive that began Wednesday backed by Russian airpower. Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, has hit Western-backed rebels fighting Assad.

The U.S. maintains that the only route to peace in Syria is to remove Assad from power.

The US was still waiting Wednesday for a formal response from Russia on a draft document laying out proposed technical safety procedures for the aircraft flights, said a senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

Russia on Tuesday informed the United States that Moscow is willing to continue talks to ensure that the two countries’ aircraft don’t interfere with each other. But Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said the talks should be much broader and also cover potential international cooperation between Russia and the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

The Pentagon only wants talks aimed at making sure there are no conflicts, collisions or other problems as the U.S.-led coalition and the Russians fly over Syria. The U.S. side has proposed a number of safety measures, including using specific international radio frequencies for distress calls by military pilots flying in Syrian airspace.

Carter had called on Russian leaders to discuss Moscow’s military activities in Syria, reflecting urgent concerns about Russian aircraft violating Turkish airspace. NATO on Monday denounced Russia for “irresponsible behavior” for allowing its warplanes to cross into Turkey.

U.S. and Russian officials met once by video conference late last week, before the Russian incursion into Turkish airspace.

Carter and other NATO defense ministers are expected to discuss how to deal with the problem when they meet in Brussels Thursday.

The U.S.-led coalition has been routinely conducting airstrikes on Islamic State militants in Syria.

Russia says the airstrikes it began last week are directed against the Islamic State group, as well as al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliates. But the U.S. and France say at least some of the strikes appear to have hit Western-backed rebel factions fighting government troops, with the real goal of protecting Assad.

On a weeklong trip to Europe, Carter is focused on reassuring European allies of U.S. support as they face growing security threats from a more aggressive Russia and militant extremists from north Africa.

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Russia Makes It Rainy Days for Would-Be Sultan Erdogan and America’s Geopolitical Jihadi Tools

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Meanwhile NATO is too busy training to ‘defend’ against Russia to be fighting terrorists

 So a Su-30 enters a few hundred meters into Turkish airspace for only two minutes over Hatay province, and returns to Syrian airspace after being warned by a couple of Turkish F-16s.

Then all hell breaks loose as if this was the ultimate pretext for a NATO-Russia war.

NATO, predictably, went out all rhetorical guns blazing. Russia is causing “extreme danger” and should immediately stop bombing those cute “moderate rebels” the coalition of the dodgy opportunists refuses to bomb.

But wait; NATO is actually too busy to go to war. The priority, until at least November, is the epic Trident Juncture 2015; 36,000 troops from 30 states, more than 60 warships, around 200 aircraft, all are seriously practicing how to defend from the proverbial “The Russians are Coming!”

Still, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu – he of the former “zero problems with our neighbors” doctrine – actually “warned” Moscow that next time Ankara would respond “militarily”.

Until, of course, he backed down; “What we have received from Russia …is that this was a mistake and that they respect Turkey’s borders and this will not happen again.”

The incident could have been easily defused – via military to military communication – without the posturing.

But Ankara – NATO’s eastern flank – is under immense pressure from ‘Exceptionalistan’. It’s no accident Pentagon supremo and notorious neocon Ash Carter “conferred” with Ankara about the incident. Carter of course is the most stellar practitioner of the official Beltway diktat; “By taking military action in Syria against moderate groups’ targets, Russia has escalated the civil war.”

‘Sultan’ Erdogan, right on cue, and straight from Strasbourg (no, he was not campaigning for the European Parliament) doubled down: “Assad has committed state terrorism, and unfortunately you find Russia and Iran defending (him).”

And yet ‘Sultan’ Erdogan won’t go down in history as the catalyst for the much-awaited NATO-Russia Hot War 2.0. At least not yet.

Only bomb if we say so

Enter Dr. Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, growling in a FT Op-Ed that Washington should “retaliate” if Moscow does not stop attacking US assets in Syria. “US assets” means CIA-trained “moderate rebels”. And after all, “American credibility” is at stake.

Dr. Zbig – Obama’s prime foreign policy mentor – insists bombing CIA-trained “rebels” accounts for “Russian military incompetence”. And the American counter-attack should be to “disarm” the “Russian naval and air presence.” Now that’s how you go for a NATO-Russia Hot War 2.0.

Dr. Zbig admitted though that “regional chaos could easily spread northeastward,” and then “both Russia and then China could be adversely affected.” Who cares? What matters is that “American interests and America’s friends…would also suffer.”

This is what passes for prime geopolitical analysis in the ‘Empire of Chaos’.

‘Sultan’ Erdogan, for his part, remains restless. Moscow has already evaporated his so cherished three-year-old dream of a no-fly zone over northern Syria. There is an actual no-fly zone all over Syria now in effect. But it’s managed by Russia.

And that explains why there’s already full spectrum hysteria for more US Congress sanctions on Russia. How can a no-fly zone be imposed over Syria when Russia got there first?

And it was all going so swimmingly for the ‘Sultan’. Ankara – at the insistence of Washington – had finally thrown open its air bases to fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, but as long as this was part of a regime change operation in Damascus. And for that, Ankara would get its no-fly zone.

Enter ‘The Sultan’s’ recurrent nightmare; the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its sister organization, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

‘The Sultan’ simply cannot accept the PYD advancing to the western bank of the Euphrates to help in the fight against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. ‘The Sultan’ wants to “contain” the PYD in Kobani.

The problem is the PYD – supported by the PKK – is the only reliable ‘Empire of Chaos’ ally in Syria. Yet ‘the Sultan’ could not help himself; he got into a war – again – against the PKK. Washington was not exactly amused.

And then there’s the key corridor from the Bab al-Salam border crossing down to Aleppo – controlled by Ankara-supported goon squads. That’s Ankara’s bridge to Aleppo; without it, not the slightest chance of regime change, ever. The fake “Caliphate” was threatening to take over the corridor. So action was imperative.

Russia’s spectacular entry into the war theatre threw all these elaborate plans into disarray. Imagine a complete liberation of northeast Syria as soon as the PYD – with help from PKK fighters – is weaponized enough to smash the ISIS/ISIL/Daesh goons. And imagine the Russian Air Force providing air cover for such an operation, with extra coordination by the Russia-Syria-Iraq-Iran central in Baghdad.

‘The Sultan’, in desperation, would have to maneuver his F-16s against such an offensive. And then we might really have a NATO-Russia five seconds to midnight scenario – with terrifying consequences. ‘The Sultan’ would blink first. And NATO would collapse into the ignominy it never left – back to its elaborate “Russia is invading” drills.

Say hello to my geopolitical jihadi tool

Next steps for the Russian campaign would be to pay close attention to the road linking ISIS/ISIL/Daesh’s capital, Al-Raqqah, around which jihadis are fighting for the control of oil and gas in Sha’ir and Jazal. And then there are pockets east of both Homs and Hama, and in al-Qaryatayn. Moscow – slowly, surely, methodically – is getting there.

What the Russian air campaign has already graphically exposed is the whole rotten core myth of the new Jihad International.

ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra and assorted Salafi-jihadi goon squads have been kept up and running by a massive financial/logistical/weaponizing “effort” – which includes all sorts of key nodes, from arms factories in Bulgaria and Croatia to transportation routes via Turkey and Jordan.

As for those Syrian “moderate rebels” – and most of them are not even Syrian, they’re mercenaries – every pebble in the ravaged Sykes-Picot desert sands knows they were trained by the CIA in Jordan. The desert pebbles are also aware that ISIS/ISIL/Daesh goons have been infiltrated into Syria from Turkey – once again, across Hatay province; and vast swathes of ‘the Sultan’s’ Army and police were into the game.

As for who pays the bills for the lavish weaponizing, talk to the proverbial “pious wealthy donors” – incited by their clerics – in the GCC, the petrodollar arm of NATO. None of these goon squads could possibly thrive for so long without full, multidisciplinary “support” from the usual suspects.

So the hysterical/apoplectic/paroxystic rage enveloping the ‘Empire of Chaos’ betrays the utter failure, once again, of the same old “policy” (remember Afghanistan) of using jihadis as geopolitical tools. Fake “Caliphate” or “rebels”, they are all NATO-GCC’s bitches.

To add insult to injury, a frustrated ‘Sultan’ has also been forced to annex himself to a slightly changing Washington position – which now rules that “Assad must go,” yes, but it may take some time, as part of a yet to be defined “transition”.

‘The Sultan’ will remain a pile of nerves. He does not give a damn about ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Washington now does – sort of. He wants to smash the PYD and the PKK. For Washington, the PYD is a helpful ally. As for Moscow, ‘the Sultan’ better watch his neo-Ottoman step.

‘The Sultan’ simply cannot afford to antagonize ‘The Bear’. Gazprom will expand the Blue Stream pipeline into Turkey. It would be by 3 billion cubic meters; instead it will be by 1 billion cubic meters. According to Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, it’s due to technical capabilities.

Yet Ankara better get its act together, because even that extension may evaporate if there’s no agreement on the commercial terms of TurkStream, the former Turkish Stream. Ankara is under tremendous pressure from the Obama administration. And ‘the Sultan’ knows very well that without Russia all his elaborate plans to position Turkey as the key energy transit hub from East to West will vanish in Anatolian scrub. In the end, he may even get regime-changed himself.

Posted in Russia, Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Russia Makes It Rainy Days for Would-Be Sultan Erdogan and America’s Geopolitical Jihadi Tools

Over 1,000 Militants Surrender To Syrian Army In Last 24 Hours

NOVANEWS
The development came after President Bashar al-Assad in a televised address in July pardoned all soldiers who have fled the army, saying that his words served as a general decree to relevant officials.

Hundreds of foreign-backed militants surrendered to the government troops in the province of Daraa, Syria's National Reconciliation Committee announced on Monday.

Hundreds of foreign-backed militants surrendered to the government troops in the province of Daraa, Syria’s National Reconciliation Committee announced on Monday.

Over 1,000 terrorists laid down arms and surrendered to the Syrian authorities over the past 24 hours in Daraa, the Syrian local sources also confirmed.

The militants also turned over their cache of ammo to the authorities, both sources added.

The development came after President Bashar al-Assad in a televised address in July pardoned all soldiers who have fled the army, saying that his words served as a general decree to relevant officials.

Hundreds of gunmen have been laying down their weapons and turning themselves in to authorities in areas across the country.

The militants also turned over their cache of ammos to the authoritie

The militants also turned over their cache of ammos to the authoritie

This number seems to be on the rise as the army has been making steady gains in the battlefield against the terrorist groups, recapturing an increasing number of regions, including strategic sites, which helped cut off many of the militants’ supply routes and forced them to surrender or run away.

Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian air raids destroyed concentration centers of the ISIL, al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups in Hama and Idlib.

The Syrian warplanes conducted airstrikes against positions of ISIL and the so-called Jeish al-Fath terrorists in the countryside of Hama and Idlib.

The airstrikes hit positions of the ISIL terrorists in al-Rahjan village, 50 km to the Northeast of Hama City, destroying a number of terrorists’ vehicles with all arms, ammunition and equipment on board.

The airstrikes also hit positions of al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups in Aqrab village in the Southwestern countryside of Hama, killing scores of terrorists.

A number of vehicles belonging to Jeish al-Fath terrorists were also destroyed in airstrikes in Abdin village in the countryside of Ma’aret al-Nu’aman in Idlib countryside.

Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets pounded hideouts of the Takfiri militants in the countryside of Homs.

The Syrian air raids destroyed Takfiri terrorists’ hideouts and vehicles in al-Qaryatain, al-Sa’an, and in the vicinity of al-Sha’er field in Homs countryside.

The Russian air group in Syria is using Kh-29L air-to-surface missiles to conduct airstrikes against the ISIL militants, the Russian military said Sunday.

“A Kh-29L surface-to-air missile is equipped with a semi-active laser guidance system. When the launch is conducted, a pilot illuminates a target with a laser sight. At the same time an aircraft can continue the flight,” Aerospace Forces Spokesman Colonel Igor Klimov said.

Also, the Syrian army conducted military operations against the foreign-backed Takfiri militants in Aleppo province, leaving hundreds of them killed and injured.

Hundreds of terrorists were killed or wounded in Aleppo City and its countryside in the past 24 hours, a military source said.

Elsewhere, at least 28 militant fighters of the ISIL terrorist group were killed during clashes with the Kurdish forces in the Northeastern Syrian province of Hasaka.

“The YPG forces besieged the ISIL militants near Mount Abdulaziz and killed dozens of terrorists and destroyed several vehicles,” a spokesman for the YPG Media Center told ARA News.

Also, gunmen from the Jeish al-Fath coalition of extremist groups are pulling out their forces from Idlib and other towns in Northwestern Syria.

The radical group started moving towards the Turkish border on Saturday after having experienced “the efficiency of the Russian aerospace forces’ strikes,” the As-Safir Arabic-language daily reported.

The coalition is led by al-Nusra terrorist group, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, which is sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. The group seized the Idlib province this spring.

The report said field commanders fear at any moment the attack of Syrian forces supported by Russian warplanes on the key town of Jisr al-Shugour, on the Lattakia-Aleppo highway.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Over 1,000 Militants Surrender To Syrian Army In Last 24 Hours

Top Censored Stories Of 2015

NOVANEWS
Mass bee die-offs, the dizzying wealth of the world’s 1%, U.S. military expansion — the corporate media might not be talking about it, but Project Censored’s Mickey Huff doesn’t shy away from discussing these topics with Mnar Muhawesh on “Behind the Headline.”
Image result for USA MEDIA LOGO

A demonstrator marches with his mouth covered and carries a placard that reads: “Censorship” during a protest against Spanish Citizens Security Law in Madrid, Spain. United Nations human rights experts on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 urged Spainís Senate to reject two proposed bills, saying they threaten fundamental rights and freedoms.

MINNEAPOLIS — Whether it’s current events or ancient history, the media is our lens for learning about the world around us.

But never has this lens been more narrow, sensational, manipulative, and extreme than it is today.

The establishment media went from being owned by over 50 corporations in the 1980s to just six by 2001. These six corporations — General Electric, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS — control over 90 percent of what Americans see, hear and read.

And it begs the question why stories like ISIS, Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons, Donald Trump’s racist rants and raves, and cute cat videos choke up the airwaves while other real important stories completely go under the radar.

Like: the war on whistleblowers, NATO and the US military aggressively expanding their military presence surrounding Russia and China, the acidification of our oceans, Big Ag’s genocide of the bees, government violations of our Constitution, and possibly one of the most important stories: that over 60 percent of the world’s wealth is now in the hands of the 1% elite.

Through this process of media consolidation and corporate ownership, the entities the press is meant to hold accountable became the owners of that media.

These media corporations spend billions to craft stories that distract, fear monger, entertain and propagandize rather than inform.

They’ve effectively turned the media into a lapdog for those in power, dulling the teeth of the watchdog the First Amendment was written to protect.

Watch Top Censored Stories of 2015 with Mnar Muhawesh:

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Power Grab in Riyadh Likely After Zio-Wahhabi King ‘Hospitalized for Dementia’

NOVANEWS

The news of King Shalom hospitalization comes just days after a senior Saudi prince called for regime change in Riyadh

Quietly dethroned

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime, which is currently invading Yemen and funding terrorist groups fighting in Syria, might soon be engulfed in a power struggle of its own:

Informed sources told Arabic-language al-Ahd news agency that Zionist Shalom is now in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) section of King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the capital.

The sources also said that given the Zionist king’s unstable and aggravating health conditions, officials have ceased plans to transfer him to US hospitals.

Zionist Shalom, 80, is thought to have Alzheimer’s or dementia and the government is practically administered by his Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.

The news comes just days after a senior Saudi prince called for the king to step down. According to the Guardian:

A senior Saudi prince has launched an unprecedented call for change in the country’s leadership, as it faces its biggest challenge in years in the form of war, plummeting oil prices and criticism of its management of Mecca, scene of last week’s hajj tragedy.

The prince, one of the grandsons of the state’s founder, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, has told the Guardian that there is disquiet among the royal family – and among the wider public – at the leadership of Zionist Shalom, who acceded the throne in January.

The prince, who is not named for security reasons, wrote two letters earlier this month calling for the king to be removed.

“The king is not in a stable condition and in reality the son of the king[Mohammed bin Salman] is ruling the kingdom,” the prince said.“So four orpossibly five of my uncles will meet soon to discuss the letters.They aremaking a plan with a lot of nephews and that will open the door. A lot ofthe second generation is very anxious.”

“The public are also pushing this very hard, all kinds of people, tribal leaders,” the prince added. “They say you have to do this or the country will go to disaster.”

An internal power struggle in Saudi Arabia could have very serious consequences for the U.S., which relies heavily on the Saudis to do its “dirty work” in the Middle East. But then again, there’s always Qatar.

Posted in Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Power Grab in Riyadh Likely After Zio-Wahhabi King ‘Hospitalized for Dementia’

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