Archive | July 24th, 2016

Black Panther Leaders ATTACKS Zionist Megan Kelly With Facts (VIDEO)

NOVANEWS

Leaves Her Speechless & Cutting To Commercial

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly recently interviewed Malik Shabazz, National President of Black Lawyers for Justice and former leader of the New Black Panthers. The interview centered around Shabazz’s controversial statements regarding the recent police shootings.

The interview began with Kelly questioning Shabazz over whether or not he considered the men involved in the recent cop shootings to be heroes. Shabazz denied he made those statements and shifted the focus of the discussion to police brutality. Shabazz said that the police often act as judge, jury, and executioner.

‘Let’s talk about the pain and the suffering of black people who are killed by police officers on a regular basis without due process serving as judge, jury, and executioner on a regular basis.’

Shabazz cited several examples, including Michael Brown, whom Kelly claimed was the aggressor. Kelly also stated that five black witnesses came forward to corroborate the officer’s story. Shabazz disputed this claim, saying that unless you have a videotape, the word of the officer is given precedence. He cited several witnesses who claimed Brown was not the aggressor.

Shabazz also said that Kelly’s basic position was one of white privilege and white supremacy because he believes she views black lives as less important than white lives. Kelly replied that it was Shabazz who was making the racially insensitive comments and that was why it was hard for her to take him seriously when he tried to discuss issues of race. Shabazz argued that we live in a racially insensitive country and that he’s merely the victim.

‘Kelly: Well I believe that you are the one who has made the racially INSENSITIVE statement time and time again.’

‘Shabazzz: No, no. It’s a racially INSENSITIVE country. I was just a victim.’

‘Kelly: That’s why it’s hard to take you seriously when you speak out about police and issues of race.’

‘Shabazz: …We can’t even make it to trial and get a decent trial with due process without the police of America killing us outright.’

Shabazz went on to say that the police in America are unrestrained and that no one is holding them accountable for the recent shootings. Kelly pointed out that President Obama’s Department of Justice has 26 ongoing investigations into the shootings and said Obama is reigning them in. However, Shabazz believes that the Department of Justice has failed. He also believes that Trump’s campaign is creating an atmosphere of police brutality.

‘The Department of Justice has failed us. the prosecutors in America have failed us…’

‘And this campaign here is creating an atmosphere where more police BRUTALITY is expected.’

Kelly also asked him if he believes white people are inherently evil, and he replied that he believes their actions and policies are evil. Kelly also repeatedly questioned him over the use of the term “cracker.” Shabazz said that, when angry, he had used the term and said that lots of people use derogatory terms when angry. Kelly countered that she doesn’t believe that’s the case.

Now, we can’t comment on how often terms such as “cracker” or other racial slurs are used, but some of the comments on Fox News’ official YouTube page certainly qualify as racist.

Fox News comment 1

Fox news comments 2

Watch the full debate below:

Featured image via video.

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U.S Execute Up to 30,000 Surrendered Soldiers and Civilians

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Empire Slayer 

Militant extremists executed up to thirty-thousand surrendered soldiers and civilians along a single stretch of desolate highway between Iraq and Kuwait.

The extremist group calls itself USA – United States of America.  The year was 1991, and this massacre came to be know as the “Highway of Death”…

Through the 1980s and into 1990, the US, Iraq under Hussein, and Europe were joined together as an Axis and were attacking Iran and committing genocide against Kurdistan, killing hundreds of thousands of people, many thousands with gas and chemical weapons provided by the US and Europe. (The US also stocked Hussein with conventional weapons, attack helicopters, etc., and provided him diplomatic, political, and intelligence support.)

In 1990, the brutal regime of former CIA colonel Bush Sr. ran covert slant-drilling operations from Kuwait into Iraq, stealing Iraq’s oil and further inflaming Iraqi claims on Kuwaiti territory.

The Bush Sr. regime then gave the green light for Iraq to invade Kuwait to stop the slant-drilling and settle its territorial claims. Hussein, thinking he was still partnered with the US, invaded Kuwait and met little resistance from that country. The Kuwaiti government estimates that 300 Kuwaitis were killed, or about 7.5% of the number of people killed by Bush Sr.’s illegal invasion of Panama.

Bush Sr. then brought his plan to fruition: he double-crossed his long-time comrade in arms, Saddam, and spread crude propaganda that Iraqis were executing Kuwaiti babies. The claims were, in standard procedure, spouted through Western media outlets, but were later revealed as coordinated lies: not only did the event not occur, but the “eye witness” behind them was a member of the Kuwaiti royal family coordinating with a Western public relations firm, and had been nowhere near any Kuwaiti hospital.

Nevertheless, the orchestrated pretext succeeded, once further greased by outright US bribery of leaders who then agreed to sign on as backers and help gain a UN fig leaf. “Wimpy” Bush Sr. “moved vigorously to block all diplomatic efforts” from countries including Russia and Iraq itself, violating the “obligation mandating the peaceful resolution of international disputes found in article 2, paragraph 3 of the United Nations Charter; in article 33, paragraph 1 of the United Nations Charter; and in article 2 of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928.”

Instead, Bush, “like the Nazi war criminals before him … pursued recourse to war as an instrument of his national policy” and began his “techno-blitz”.

In a moment, Hussein had gone from treasured co-tyrant and “moderate”, to punching bag / pretext.  US media turned on a dime, smoothing, for the public, the jarring 180 degree shift, and instantly vilified Hussein for crimes that, compared to the crimes he had just carried out with the US and Europe against Iran and the Kurds, were practically nonexistent.

The US, to virtually zero resistance from Iraqi forces, planted and detonated several million tons of explosives in Iraq, more than half in densely populated civilian cities.

The US spread millions of cluster munitions, the most densely saturated cluster-bombing ever perpetrated.  It used weapons made from radioactive nuclear waste, which are now banned by 155 countries and openly advocated only by the US, UK, France, and Israel.  The US later refused to treat its own soldiers poisoned and wounded by these materials.

The swift US terrorist massacre of tens of thousands easily succeeded, and Iraqi forces, in compliance with UN Resolution 660, surrendered and retreated from Kuwait, along with many civilians trying to escape the explosions.

However, leaders of the US death cult had yet to satisfy some evil, primal urge for total, ruinous domination, which they demonstrated in, for example, Japan, when, after nuking the civilian cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US continued to bomb Japan with a thousand planes at once in a gratuitous showcase of human sadism.

So, the US leaders demanded, in grave violation of the Geneva Conventions, the execution of the surrendered Iraqi soldiers, along with any civilians who happened to be nearby: “Thousands [of the dead] were civilians of all ages, including Kuwaitis, Iraqis, Palestinians, Jordanians and other nationalities.”

The US, with even the British refusing to participate, turned the highway into a writhing cauldron of earth scorched black, blackened, twisted shells of blasted vehicles, and charred body parts of up to 30,000 souls “literally shot in the back”. Approximately 250,000 people were killed in the overall US operation, thousands of them surrendered soldiers, and about half civilians.

In his masculine glory, who could now call the former CIA colonel a “wimp”?

But the carnage was still nowhere near enough for the US extremist group, which bombed Iraq tens of thousands of times more and implemented a terrorist blockade that UN authorities referred to as “genocidal”, killing millions of civilians, before an aggressive US invasion in 2003 that killed millions more and, as predicted by the US itself, drove the region into the utter chaos that continues today.

Bush Sr.’s blitz had succeeded as a show of absolute terror, and it also allowed the US to establish its planned massive military presence in the region for future aggression and resource-control.

For its crimes, the Bush Sr. regime was investigated by an independent Commission for Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal.  The tribunal found that the US “intentionally bombed and destroyed civilian life” and “intentionally bombed indiscriminately throughout Iraq.”

Dr. Francis Boyle, J.D. Harvard Law School, Ph.D. Political Science, Harvard University, lists the international law violations by the US during its Gulf operations:

  •  the three Nuremberg Offences:
    • the Nuremberg Crime Against Peace, that is waging an aggressive war and a war in violation of international treaties and agreements
    • Nuremberg Crimes Against Humanity
    • Nuremberg War Crimes
  • these Defendants also committed grievous war crimes by wantonly violating:
    • the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare of 1907
    • the Declaration of London on Sea Warfare of 1909
    • the Hague Draft Rules of Aerial Warfare of 1923
    • the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their two Additional Protocols of 1977
    • the international crimes of Genocide against the People of Iraq as defined by the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide of 1948 as well as by the United States’ own Genocide Convention Implementation Act of 1987
  • Finally, and most heinously of all, these Defendants actually perpetrated a Nuremberg Crime against their own troops when they forced them to take experimental biological weapons vaccines without their informed consent in gross violation of the Nuremberg Code on Medical Experimentation that has been fully subscribed to by the United States government.

Dr. Boyle also notes that:

Most of the targets were civilian facilities.  The United States intentionally bombed and destroyed centres for civilian life, commercial and business districts, schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, shelters, residential areas, historical sites, private vehicles and civilian government offices. In aerial attacks, including strafing, over cities, towns, the countryside and highways, United States aircraft bombed and strafed indiscriminately. The purpose of these attacks was to destroy life and property, and generally to terrorise the civilian population of Iraq. The net effect was the summary execution and corporal punishment indiscriminately of men, women and children, young and old, rich and poor, of all nationalities and religions.

The intention and effort of this bombing campaign against civilian life and facilities was to systematically destroy Iraq’s infrastructure leaving it in a pre-industrial condition. The U.S. assault left Iraq in near apocalyptic conditions as reported by the first United Nations observers after the war.

When it was determined that the civilian economy and the military were sufficiently destroyed, the U.S. ground forces moved into Kuwait and Iraq attacking disorientated, disorganised, fleeing Iraqi forces wherever they could be found, killing thousands more and destroying any equipment found.In one particularly shocking manoeuvre, thousands of Iraqi soldiers were needlessly and illegally buried alive. This wholesale slaughter of Iraqi soldiers continued even after and in violation of the so-called cease-fire.

Napalm was used against civilians and military personnel

Before the war started, the Pentagon had developed computer models that accurately predicted the environmental catastrophe that would occur should the United States go to war against Iraq. These Defendants went to war anyway knowing full well what the consequences of such an environmental disaster would be.

Defendant Bush Intentionally Deprived the Iraqi People of Essential Medicines, Potable Water, Food and Other Necessities

Towards those ends, the Defendants:

– imposed and enforced embargoes preventing the shipment of needed medicines, water purifiers, infant milk formula, food and other supplies; – froze funds of Iraq and forced other nations to do so, depriving Iraq of the ability to purchase needed medicines, food and other supplies; – preventing international organisations, governments and relief agencies from providing needed supplies and obtaining information concerning such needs; – failed to assist or meet urgent needs of huge refugee populations and interfered with efforts of others to do so, etc.

For these actions, the Defendants are guilty of Nuremberg Crimes Against Humanity and the Crime of Genocide as recognised by international law and U.S. domestic law.

And, by way of background, Dr. Boyle notes:

During the course of the Carter administration, the United States government obtained authorization from Congress to set up, arm, equip, and supply the so-called Rapid Deployment Force (RDF), whose primary mission was to seize and steal the Arab oil-fields of the Persian Gulf region. So the planning and preparations for the U.S. war against Iraq go all the way back to the so-called “liberal” Carter administration – at the very least.

Additionally, Dr. Noam Chomsky points out that Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait was similar to the US’s invasion and annexation of Texas, in that Hussein was attempting to control oil, and the US, cotton.  However, he notes, Hussein’s territorial claims stemmed from imperial Britain’s drawing of Iraq’s borders to block Iraqi access to the sea, while US claims on Texas were, in addition to racial superiority, based on US fears that nearby independent states posed a threat to the thriving institution of US slavery.

Chomsky also notes that while Hussein paid reparations to Kuwait, the US patently refuses (still) to pay much larger reparations that the highest court in the world, the International Court of Justice, demanded, in 1986, that the US pay to Nicaragua for illegally attacking it and killing the US per-capita equivalent of approximately 2.5 million citizens.

The predators who demanded these crimes remain at large.

If US citizens are truly disgusted by the execution of surrendered soldiers and civilians, there are people much closer than the Middle East whose arrests and trials must be demanded and carried out.

We are allowing our state gang to run amok over the planet.  Are we going to take responsibility?

Sources

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When Haiti Defeated the British Empire

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Image result for Haiti CARTOON

Thought Merchant 

In the wake of the BREXIT vote which has the world reeling after Great Britain decided to abandon the European Union, much has been said about the historical scope, power, and influence of the British Empire throughout history. At its apex the British Empire was the most powerful geopolitical force on earth. What many neglect to realize is that one of the occurrences that helped the United Kingdom rise to such a position was The Haitian Revolution, which thoroughly defeated Britain’s only serious hegemonic competitor, Napoleonic France.

Much is discussed and written about Haiti’s defeat of Napoleon and how it opened the door for the Louisiana Purchase that fostered the expansion of the United States into the nation it has since become. However, few realize how the defeat of Napoleon by the brave former African Slaves in Haiti opened the door for the dominance of the British Empire. Furthermore, as Americans always pride themselves on their Revolutionary accomplishment of defeating the great British Empire and gaining their freedom, few give full acknowledgment to the superior military feat of The Haitian Revolution in its not only vanquishing the French Napoleonic Empire, The Spanish Empire of the time, but also thoroughly defeating the mighty British Empire to the point of leading the United Kingdom to agree to cease the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and any further importation of Africans into the Western Hemisphere officially. So while Americans celebrate their independence victory in defeating the greatest of European Empires, The British, recognize that former African slaves in Haiti did the seemingly impossible and defeated all three of the major European empires of that day to obtain their freedom, including the one beaten by the Americans:

“Yet it cannot be denied that both the government and British public had
learned a lesson from [Britain’s] disastrous attempt to conquer Saint
Domingue/Haiti, restore slavery, and subdue Toussaint L’Ouverture. In 1796
nearly three years after the first British forces landed in Saint
Domingue/Haiti, the [British] administration sent off one of the greatest
expeditionary forces in British history. Before the end of the year Edmond
Burke received news that 10,000 British soldiers had died in less than two
months! It was reported in the House of Commons that almost every Briton
had a personal acquaintance that had perished in the [Haitian]
Campaigns.” – “The Impact of The Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World,”
David P. Geggus.

In the end the British lost over 50,000 soldiers in their attempt to bring slavery back to Haiti. This had a direct influence on the British decision to end the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

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UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention slams Nazi human rights breaches in Hares Boys case

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The Hares Boys, one of whom is the XXXXX referred to in the UN Working Group's Opinion

The Hares Boys, one of whom is the XXXXX referred to in the UN Working Group’s Opinion
By Julie Webb-Pullman 

In an opinion released on June 29, 2016 The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention slammed Israel for its treatment of a Palestinian child arbitrarily detained, tortured, and forced to sign a document without first reading it. The Group also noted the discriminatory nature of the arrest based on the nationality of the victim, who was referred to as XXXXX, but acknowledged to be one of the children in the notorious Hares Boys case.

In the advance unedited version of the opinion, the Working Group “recommends the Government Israel to provide full reparations to XXXXX, starting with his immediate release,” and decided to refer the allegations of torture to the Special Rapporteur on torture for appropriate action.

Israeli authorities did not refute that on 16 March 2013 XXXXX was strip searched and locked in a small room for a long time, during which he was obliged to stay nakedly in stressful positions. In an interrogation room he was shackled, by hands and feet to a chair and was questioned for several hours. He was also subjected to verbal abuses and threats and was forced to sign a document that he was prevented from reading beforehand. For 21 days, XXXXX was held in solitary confinement with no access to the outside world and he was deprived of visits from his family and lawyer.

On 5 April 2013, he was transferred to Megiddo prison in northern Israel, where he was again held in solitary confinement for 19 days.

The Working Group noted that XXXXX was deprived of liberty when he was 17 years old, and had the right to be tried by a juvenile justice system in a speedy manner.

“Military Tribunals cannot be competent for civilians in accordance with relevant international human rights law. He was arrested without a warrant, was not informed of the reasons of the arrest and was not allowed to receive visits from his lawyer for several days following the date of his arrest. During interrogation,he was tortured and forced to sign a document without reading it first,” the Group found.

The Working Group concluded that the detention of XXXXX between 15 March 2013 and 9 April 2013 was arbitrary, being without any legal basis, nor any charge or trial.

It was also of the opinion that those acts from Israeli authorities are in violation of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as well as articles 9, 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and that detention of XXXXX was based in his Palestinian origin therefore was discriminatory in nature.

The Working Group has a mandate to investigate allegations of individuals being deprived of their liberty in an arbitrary way or inconsistently with international human rights standards, and to recommend remedies such as release from detention and compensation, when appropriate.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention slams Nazi human rights breaches in Hares Boys case

Whitewashing Libya: House Report on Benghazi Reveals Nothing, Hides Everything

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Image result for GADDAFI CARTOON
By Eric Draitser 

The Republican dominated House Select Committee on Benghazi has released its long awaited final report on the 2012 Benghazi attack which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. And, surprise, the report reveals absolutely nothing of substance that wasn’t already known.

Naturally, Democrats running interference for Hillary Clinton have continually charged that the probe was simply an act of partisan politics designed more to hurt Clinton in the presidential campaign than to uncover the truth about what happened. No doubt there is truth to such an allegation.

But the most important fact about this whole manufactured drama, the one that neither Democrats nor Republicans want to touch, is the simple fact that what happened in Benghazi was perhaps the most complete encapsulation of everything wrong and criminal about the illegal US war against Libya. Moreover, it exposes the uncomfortable truth that the US harnesses terrorism, using it as one of the most potent weapons it has against nations that refuse to submit to the will of Washington and Wall Street. In effect, it was not merely terrorists that killed the four Americans in Benghazi, it was US policy.

The Benghazi Report: 800 Pages of Almost Nothing

Despite the triumphal pronouncements of Republican political opportunists, the new report reveals very little that is new. As the Wall Street Journal noted:

“Congressional Republicans’ most comprehensive report yet on the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, outlined few new criticisms of Hillary Clinton, highlighting more broadly what it called an array of failings by the Obama administration… The report largely confirmed the existing story line—that a group of anti-American Libyan militants stormed U.S. installations in a carefully planned assault, killing four Americans, including Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya…The latest document presented few notable facts not found in earlier investigations…”

As the Wall Street Journal correctly notes, the new report is mostly just a rehashing of prior conclusions reached from previous reports, while doing yeoman’s service for the political establishment by confirming and, consequently, concretizing a completely distorted narrative about what happened. Essentially, the final report amounts to a whitewash that is more about scoring political points than revealing the truth about what happened. Why? Well, put simply, the truth of what happened in Benghazi implicates both wings of the single corporate Republicrat party.

There is mention of the CIA facility near the ‘US diplomatic facility’ in Benghazi, but absolutely no context for what exactly the CIA was involved in there, and how it relates to a much larger set of policies executed by the Obama administration, of which Hillary Clinton was a key player. Indeed, the very fact that this critical piece of the puzzle is conspicuously missing from the Official NarrativeTM demonstrates that the House Select Committee on Benghazi report is more about concealing the truth than revealing it.

Take for instance the fact that the report totally ignores the connection between the CIA facility and mission in Benghazi and the smuggling of arms and fighters from Libya to Syria in an attempt to export to Syria the same sort of regime change that wrought death and destruction on Libya. As Judicial Watch noted in regard to the declassified material it obtained:

Judicial Watch… obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance… The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria. The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.

Just this one small excerpt from a set of publicly available documents sheds more light on the real story of Benghazi and the Obama administration’s disastrous and criminal wars in Libya and Syria than 800 pages of the House report. Were it really the mission of the House committee to expose the truth of what happened, perhaps they could have started with a Google search.

Indeed, the connection goes further. As a Department of Defense memo in 2012 indicated, “During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the [Qaddafi] regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012… weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya, to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria.”

This revelation should be a bombshell; the US and its proxies inside Libya were actively shipping weapons to Syria for the purposes of fomenting war and effecting regime change. Further, it would be shockingly negligent to omit the fact that “early September 2012” is when the shipments stopped – the attack on the CIA annex in Benghazi, not coincidentally, took place on September 11, 2012 – and not connect it to the Benghazi incident. One could almost forgive such an omission if one were naïve enough to believe that it was simply an error, and not a deliberate obfuscation.

A serious analysis of these events would reveal an international network of arms and fighters being smuggled from Libya to Syria, all under the auspices of the Obama administration and the agencies under its control. But of course, the report focuses instead on the utterly irrelevant negligence on the part of the Obama administration which really obscures the far greater crime of deliberate warmongering. But hey, political point scoring is really what the House committee was looking for.

The Larger Story Completely Ignored

As if it weren’t offensive enough that the House committee report has completely whitewashed the events in Benghazi, the congressional hearings and subsequent report do absolutely nothing to bring clarity to what exactly the US was doing with respect to the arming, financing, and backing of terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda and other well-known terror groups.

There is no discussion of the fact that Washington was knowingly collaborating with some of the nastiest al-Qaeda elements in the region, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group led by Abdelhakim Belhadj. This terror group, which was in the vanguard of the US-backed effort to topple the government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Muammar Gaddafi, was a known quantity to all counterterrorism experts specializing in that part of the world. As the New York Times reported in July 2011, in the midst of the war against the Libyan Government:

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was formed in 1995 with the goal of ousting Colonel Qaddafi. Driven into the mountains or exile by Libyan security forces, the group’s members were among the first to join the fight against Qaddafi security forces… Officially the fighting group does not exist any longer, but the former members are fighting largely under the leadership of Abu Abdullah Sadik [aka Abdelhakim Belhadj].

Perhaps the enlightened truthseekers of the House committee would have thought it prudent to note that the Benghazi incident was the direct outgrowth of a criminal US policy of collaboration with terrorists, the leader of whom is now, according to some sources, connected to ISIS/Daesh in Libya. But, alas, such explosive information, publicly available to those who seek it out, would have been deeply embarrassing to the undisputed grandmasters of wrongheaded political posturing, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both of whom gleefully posed for pictures with the hardened terrorist leader Belhadj. Oops.

It would also have been nice had the House committee bothered to look at the studies conducted on that part of Libya vis-à-vis terrorist recruitment, to get a sense of the scale of the issue with which they were allegedly dealing. They might have considered examining a 2007 study from the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point entitled Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records which explained quite clearly that:

“Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia… The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked [to] the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qa’ida which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qa’ida on November 3, 2007… The most common cities that the fighters called home were Darnah [Derna], Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with 52 and 51 fighters respectively. Darnah [Derna] with a population just over 80,000 compared to Riyadh’s 4.3 million, has far and away the largest per capita number of fighters in the Sinjar records.”

It certainly might have been useful had the House committee taken even a cursory look at a map to see the Benghazi-Derna-Tobruk triangle (the stronghold of the anti-Gaddafi terrorist forces linked to al-Qaeda) and to understand the broader context of the events of September 11, 2012. The investigators – that term being used rather loosely, and somewhat ironically, in this case – should have been able to discern the larger significance of what they were examining. One could almost assume that, like the proverbial ostriches, House Republicans were busy hiding their heads in the sand, or perhaps in other, more uncomfortable places.

Ultimately, the House Select Committee on Benghazi report will achieve absolutely nothing. It will not even score the political points that the Republicans leading the effort have been after for three years now. Hillary Clinton will continue her presidential bid completely unaffected by the information and, if anything, will likely benefit from this charade as it will lend credence to her endless assertions of a vast right wing conspiracy against her. Never mind the fact that she is a right wing neoconservative herself. Never mind the fact that the blood of tens of thousands of Libyans is on her hands. Never mind the fact that, as President, she will undoubtedly unleash more death and destruction on the people of the Middle East and North Africa.

There is only one lasting achievement upon which the House committee can hang its hat: it has done an excellent job of cementing an utterly shallow and superficial narrative about the events of September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, one which will be endlessly repeated by the mouthpieces of corporate media and mainstream historians.

Indeed, a false history will be written, with the US as a victim of incompetence and its own poor planning. Nothing will be said of the blatant criminality of the US effort in Libya. But, as Kurt Vonnegut was fond of saying, “So it goes…”

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Obama drone casualty numbers a fraction of those recorded by Bureau of Investigative Journalism

NOVANEWS
By Jack Serle 

The US government today claimed it has killed between 64 and 116 “non-combatants” in 473 counter-terrorism strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya between January 2009 and the end of 2015.

This is a fraction of the 380 to 801 civilian casualty range recorded by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism from reports by local and international journalists, NGO investigators, leaked government documents, court papers and the result of field investigations.

While the number of civilian casualties recorded by the Bureau is six times higher than the US Government’s figure, the assessments of the minimum total number of people killed were strikingly similar. The White House put this figure at 2,436, whilst the Bureau has recorded 2,753.

Since becoming president in 2009, Barack Obama has significantly extended the use of drones in the War on Terror. Operating outside declared battlefields, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, this air war has been largely fought in Pakistan and Yemen.

The White House’s announcement today is long-awaited. It comes three years after the White House first said it planned to publish casualty figures, and four months after President Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, said the data would be released.

The figures released do not include civilians killed in drones strikes that happened under George W Bush, who instigated the use of counter-terrorism strikes outside declared war zones and in 58 strikes killed 174 reported civilians.

Today’s announcement is intended to shed light on the US’s controversial targeted killing programme, in which it has used drones to run an arms-length war against al Qaeda and Islamic State.

The US Government also committed to continued transparency saying it will provide an annual summary of information about the number of strikes against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities as well as the range of combatants and non-combatants killed.

But the US has not released a year-by-year breakdown of strikes nor provided any detail on particularly controversial strikes which immediately sparked criticism from civil liberty groups.

Jamel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union said: “While any disclosure of information about the government’s targeted-killing policies is welcome, the government should be releasing information about every strike—the date of the strike, the location, the numbers of casualties, and the civilian or combatant status of those casualties. Perhaps this kind of information should be released after a short delay, rather than immediately, but it should be released. The public has a right to know who the government is killing—and if the government doesn’t know who it’s killing, the public should know that.”

The gap between US figures and other estimates, including the Bureau’s data, also raised concerns.

Jennifer Gibson, staff attorney at Reprieve said: “For three years now, President Obama has been promising to shed light on the CIA’s covert drone programme. Today, he had a golden opportunity to do just that. Instead, he chose to do the opposite. He published numbers that are hundreds lower than even the lowest estimates by independent organisations. The only thing those numbers tell us is that this Administration simply doesn’t know who it has killed. Back in 2011, it claimed to have killed “only 60” civilians. Does it really expect us to believe that it has killed only 4 more civilians since then, despite taking hundreds more strikes?

“The most glaring absence from this announcement are the names and faces of those civilians that have been killed. Today’s announcement tells us nothing about 14 year old Faheem Qureshi, who was severely injured in Obama’s first drone strike. Reports suggest Obama knew he had killed civilians that day.”

The US government said in a statement: “First, although there are inherent limitations on determining the precise number of combatant and non-combatant deaths, particularly when operating in non-permissive environments, the US Government uses post-strike methodologies that have been refined and honed over years and that use information that is generally unavailable to non-government organsations.”

Bibi Mamana

Bibi Mammana - BBC PanoramaBibi Mamana was a grandmother and midwife living in the the tribal region of North Waziristan on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.

On October 24 2012, she was preparing for the Muslim festival of Eid. She used to say that the joy of Eid was the excitement it brought to children. Her eight-year-old granddaughter Nabeela was reported to be in a field with her as she gathered vegetables when a drone killed Mamana.

“I saw the first two missiles coming through the air,” Nabeela later toldThe Times. “They were following each other with fire at the back. When they hit the ground, there was a loud noise. After that I don’t remember anything.” Nabeela was injured by flying shrapnel.

At the sound of the explosion, Mamana’s 18-year-old grandson Kaleem ran from the house to help. But a few minutes later the drones struck again, he told the BBC. He was knocked unconscious. His leg was badly broken and damaged by shrapnel, and needed surgery.

Atiq, one of Mamana’s sons, was in the mosque as Manama gathered vegetables. On hearing the blast and seeing the plume of smoke he rushed to the scene. When he arrived he could not see any sign of his mother.

“I started calling out for her but there was no reply,” Atiq told the Times. “Then I saw her shoes. We found her mutilated body a short time afterwards. It had been thrown quite a long distance away by the blast and it was in pieces. We collected many different parts from the field and put a turban over her body.”

Atiq’s brother Rafiq told Al Jazeera English he received a letter after the strike from a Pakistani official that said the attack was a US drone strike and that Mamana was innocent. But nothing more came of it, he said. The following year Rafiq, a teacher, travelled to the US to speak to Congress about the strike.

“My job is to educate,” he said in an emotional testimony. “But how do I teach something like this? How do I explain what I myself do not understand?”

Picture credit: BBC

Evaluating the numbers

The administration has called its drone programme a precise, effective form of warfare that targets terrorists and rarely hits civilians.

With the release of the figures today President Obama said, “All armed conflict invites tragedy. But by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life.”

In June 2011 Obama’s then counter terrorism chief, now CIA director, John Brennan made a similar statement. He also declared drones strikes were “exceptionally precise and surgical” and had not killed a single civilian since August 2010. A Bureau investigation in July 2011 demonstrated this claim was untrue.

Most of the Bureau’s data sources are media reports by local and international news outlets, including Reuters, Associated Press andThe New York Times.

The US Government suggests it has a much clearer view of post-strike situations than such reporting, suggesting this is the reason why there is such a gap between the numbers that have been recorded by the Bureau, and similar organisations, and those released today.

But the Bureau has also gathered essential information from its own field investigations.

The tribal areas have long been considered a difficult if not impossible area for journalists to access. However, occasionally reporters have been able to gain access to the site of the strikes to interview survivors, witnesses and relatives of people killed in drone strikes.

The Bureau conducted a field investigation through the end of 2011 into 2012, in partnership with The Sunday Times. Through extensive interviews with local villagers, the Bureau found 12 strikes killed 57 civilians.

The Associated Press also sent reporters into the Fata, reporting its findings in February 2012. It found 56 civilians and 138 militants were killed in 10 strikes.

Access to affected areas is a challenge in Yemen too. But in December 2009 a deputation of Yemeni parliamentarians sent to the scene of a strike discovered the burnt remnants of a camp, which had been set up by several families from one of Yemen’s poorest tribes.

A subsequent investigation by journalist Jeremy Scahill revealed a deception that hid US responsibility for the deaths of 41 civilians at the camp – half of them children, five of them pregnant women.

The reality on the ground flew in the face of the US government’s understanding of events. A leaked US diplomatic record of a meeting in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, between General David Petraeus and the Yemeni president revealed the US government was ignorant of the civilian death toll.

Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber

Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, a 40-year-old father of seven, was exactly the kind of man the US needed in Yemen. A widely respected cleric in rural Yemen, he delivered sermons in his village mosque denouncing al-Qaida.

He gave just such a speech in August 2012 and earned the attention of the terrorist group. Three anonymous fighters arrived in his village two days later, after dark, calling for Jaber to come out and talk.

He went to meet them, taking his policeman cousin, Walid Abdullah bin Ali Jaber, with him for protection. The five men stood arguing in the night air when Hellfire missiles tore into them.

A “huge explosion” rocked the village, a witness said. Jaber’s father, Ahmad bin Salim Salih bin Ali Jaber, 77, arrived on the scene to find people “wrapping up body parts of people from the ground, from here and there, putting them in grave clothes like lamb.”

All the dead were al Qaeda fighters, unnamed Yemeni officials claimed. However Jaber’s family refused to allow him to be smeared as a terrorist.

For three years they fought in courts in America and Germany for recognition that he was an innocent civilian. In November 2013 they visited Washington and even managed to arrange a meeting in the White House to plead their case. In 2014 the family said it was offered a bag containing $100,000 by a Yemen national security official. The official said it was a US strike and it had been a mistake.

By late 2015 the family offered to drop their lawsuits against the US government if the administration would apologise. The Department of Justice refused. In February 2016 the court dismissed the family’s suit but they have not stopped fighting: in April they announced they would appeal.

Picture credit: Private

Falling numbers of civilian casualties

The White House stressed that it was concerned to protect civilians and that best practices were in place to help reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties.

The Bureau’s data does show a significant decline in the reports of civilian casualties in recent years.

In Pakistan, where the largest number of strikes have occurred, there have been only three reported civilian casualties since the end of 2012. Two of these casualties – Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto – were Western hostages held by al Qaeda. The US, unaware they were targeting the American and Italian’s captors, flattened the house they were being held in.

The accidental killing of a US citizen spurred Obama to apologise for the strike – the first and only time he had publicly discussed a specific CIA drone strike in Pakistan. With the apology of a “condolence payment to both the families,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price told the Bureau. However, they have yet to receive any compensation from the US government for their loss.

Families who have lost relatives in Pakistan  have not reported being compensated for their loss. In Yemen, money has been given to families for their loss but it is not clear whether it actually comes from the US. The money is disbursed by Yemeni government intermediaries, nominally from the Yemeni government’s coffers.

Tariq Khan

Tariq Aziz (Neil Williams/Reprieve)Tariq Khan was a 16-year-old from North Waziristan who attended a high-profile anti-drone rally in Islamabad in October 2011. Only days later, he and his cousin were killed in a drone strike.Tariq was the youngest of seven children. He was described by relatives as a quiet teenager who was good with computers. His uncle Noor Kalam said: “He was just a normal boy who loved football.”

On 27 October, Tariq made the eight-hour drive to Islamabad for a meeting convened by Waziri elders to discuss how to end civilian deaths in drone strikes. The Pakistani politician Imran Khan, his former wife Jemima, members of the legal campaign group Reprieve and several western journalists also attended the meeting.

Neil Williams from Reprieve said Tariq seemed very introverted at the meeting. He asked the boy if he had ever seen a drone. Tariq replied he saw 10 or 15 every day. He said they prevented him from sleeping. “He looked absolutely terrified,” Williams said.

After a four-hour debate, the audience joined around 2,000 people at a protest rally outside the Pakistani parliament. After the rally, the tribesmen made the long journey home. The day after he got back, Tariq and his cousin Wahid went to pick up his newly married aunt, according a Bureau reporter who met Tariq at the Islamabad meeting. When they were 200 yards from the house two missiles slammed into their car. The blast killed Tariq and Wahid instantly.

Some reports suggested Wahid was 12 years old.

An anonymous US official acknowledged the CIA had launched the strike but denied they were children. The occupants of that car were militants, he said.

Picture credit: Neil Williams/Reprieve

Unnamed

Most of the dead from CIA strikes in Pakistan are unnamed Pakistanis and Afghans, according to Naming the Dead – a research project by the Bureau. Over three years the Bureau has painstakingly gathered names of the dead from US drone strikes in Pakistan. The project has recorded just 732 names of people killed since 2004 – 329 of which were civilians.

The fact that so many people are unnamed adds to the confusion about who has been killed.

A controversial US tactic, signature strikes, demonstrates how identities of the dead, and their status as a combatant or non-combatant, eludes the US. These strikes target people based on so-called pattern of life analysis, built from surveillance and intelligence but not the actual identity of a person.

And the CIA’s own records leaked to the news agency McClatchy show the US is sometimes not only ignorant of the identities of people it has killed, but also of the armed groups they belong to. They are merely listed as “other militants” and “foreign fighters” in the leaked records.

Former Deputy US Secretary of State, Richard Armitage outlined his unease with such internal reporting in an interview with Chris Woods for his book Sudden Justice. “Mr Obama was popping up with these drones left, right and down the middle, and I would read these accounts, ’12 insurgents killed.’ ’15!’ You don’t know that. You don’t know that. They could be insurgents, they could be cooks.”

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Guess Who Wants Authority to Murder by Drone

NOVANEWS
180
By David Swanson 

“I am persuaded no constitution was never before as well calculated as ours for extensive empire and self-government.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, April 27, 1809.

“We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people — the Israel of our time.” –Herman Melville, 1850.

“I chant the new empire.” –Walt Whitman, 1860.

“Our frontiers today are on every continent.” –John F. Kennedy, 1960.

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” –Frederick Douglas.

If you haven’t been hiding under a partisan rock for the past several years, you’re aware that President Barack Obama has given himself the sort-of legalish right to murder anyone anywhere with missiles from drones.

He’s not the only one who wants that power.

Yes, President Obama has claimed to have put restrictions on whom he’ll murder, but in no known case has he followed any of his self-imposed non-legal restrictions. Nowhere has someone been arrested instead of killed, while in many known cases people have been killed who could have easily been arrested. In no known case has someone been killed who was an “imminent and continuing threat to the United States,” or for that matter just plain imminent or just plain continuing. It’s not even clear how someone could be both an imminent and a continuing threat until you study up on how the Obama administration has redefined imminent to mean theoretically imaginable someday. And, of course, in numerous cases civilians have been killed in large numbers and people have been targeted without identifying who they are. Lying dead from U.S. drone strikes are men, women, children, non-Americans, and Americans, not a single one of them charged with a crime or their extradition sought.

Who else would like to be able to do this?

One answer is most nations on earth. We now read news stories from Syria of people dying from a drone strike, with the reporter unable to determine if the missile came from a U.S., U.K., Russian, or Iranian drone. Just wait. The skies will be filled if the trend is not reversed.

Another answer is Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, but not Jill Stein. Yes, those first three candidates have said they want this power.

Another answer, however, should be just as disturbing as those already mentioned. Military commanders around the world want the authority to murder people with drones without bothering to get approval from civilian officials back home. Here’s a fun quiz:

How many zones has the United States divided the globe into for purposes of complete military domination, and what are their names?

Answer: Six. They are Northcom, Southcom, Eucom, Pacom, Centcom, and Africom. (Jack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack were already taken.) In normal English they are: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Western Asia, and Africa.

Now here comes the hard question. Which of those zones has a new would-be commander who was just encouraged by a prominent Senator in an open Congressional hearing to acquire the authority to murder people in his zone without getting approval from the U.S. president?

Clue #1. It’s a zone with the empire’s headquarters not even located in the zone, so that this new commander speaks of killing people there as playing “an away game.”

Clue #2. It’s a poor zone that does not manufacture weapons but is saturated with weapons made in the United States plus France, Germany, the U.K., Russia, and China.

Clue #3. Many of the people in this zone have skin resembling people who are disproportionately targets of U.S. police department killings.

Did you get it right? That’s correct: Africom is being encouraged by Senator Lindsay Graham, who a short time back wanted to be president, to blow people up with missiles from flying robots without presidential approval.

Now here’s where the morality of war can wreak havoc with humanitarian imperialism. If a drone killing is not part of a war, then it looks like murder. And handing out licenses to murder to additional people looks like a worsening of the state of affairs in which just one person claims to hold such a license. But if drone killing is part of a war, and Captain Africom claims to be at war with Somalia, or with a group in Somalia, for example, well then, he wouldn’t need special permission to blow up a bunch of people with manned aircraft; so why should he need it when using robotic unmanned bombers?

The trouble is that saying the word “war” doesn’t have the moral or legal powers often imagined. No current U.S. war is legal under either the U.N. Charter or the Kellogg-Briand Pact. And the intuition that murdering people with a drone is wrong can’t be a useful one if murdering people with a piloted plane is right, and vice versa. We actually have to choose. We actually have to set aside the scale of the killing, the type of technology, the role of robots, and all other extraneous factors, and choose whether it’s acceptable, moral, legal, smart, or strategic to murder people or not.

If that seems too much of a mental strain, here’s an easier guide. Just imagine what your response would be if the ruler of Europe Command asked for the authority to murder at will people of his choosing along with anybody too close to them at the time.

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Erdoğan’s Coup: Purging Domestic Critics, Gaining External Allies

NOVANEWS
Erdogan

“President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prepared a list of targets for arrest even before the coup (sic) was launched”, European Commission official on Turkey (quoted in FT,  7/19/2016).

The coup in Turkey was made to order. A group of military officers and police officials were set-up to seize power by senior intelligence operatives in the Erdoğan regime. They were allowed to drop a few bombs, seize bridges and buildings before they were encircled, rounded-up and arrested using a list of targets for arrest prepared even before the so-called coup. In the midst of this fake coup, the ‘vacationing’ Erdoğan flies into Istanbul unharmed, of course, because his vacation resort was bombed after he had left. He seizes the mass media, denounces the coup, rouses the Muslim masses and sets about on amass purge of Turkish society, concentrating on the civil service, teachers and administrators, the military, the courts and judges. Indeed every institution capable of independent action or reputedly critical of Erdoğan is closed. After a week over 60,000 people had been purged.

Why did Erdoğan resort to a coup?

Why did Erdoğan purge Turkish society?

What policies will follow Erdoğan’s power grab?

Prelude to the Coup

Over the past 5 years Erdoğan has suffered a series of political, economic and diplomatic failures and defeats, seriously undermining his dictatorial and territorial ambitions. His air force shot down a Russian military jet operating within Syrian territory. The images of Turkish jihadi mercenaries murdering a Russian pilot as he parachuted to safety, as well as a member of the Russian rescue party, caused the Russian government to halt the multi-billion-dollar Russian tourism industry in Turkey and cancel lucrative business deals. He broke relations with Israel, which undercut a lucrative gas and oil offshore contract. His support for ISIS and other violent Salafist mercenary groups operating in Iraq and Syria provoked a rupture with Syria and Iran. His subsequent effort to disavow Turkey’s links with ISIS led to a series of horrific terror bombings by jihadi cells implanted in the country. Turkey’s diplomatic position in Egypt deteriorated as Erdoğan sought to maintain his ties with the Muslim Brotherhood after it had been ousted from power by a US sponsored Egyptian military coup.

Domestically, Erdoğan alienated the secular Kemalist military and civilian political-economic elite via trumped up trials and media purges. Erdoğan’s heavy-handed assault on liberal and leftist protestors over environmental issues increased Western concern. His brutal handling of the labor protests following the 2014 Soma coalmine disaster, when over 300 workers were killed, further isolated him.

Erdoğan’s war on the Kurdish independence movements in Turkey, Iraq and especially in Syria, where they were allied with the US against the jihadi terrorist ISIS, added to domestic unrest and international isolation.

In order to consolidate his executive power, Erdoğan had first allied with the extensive Gulenist-Islamist networks in Turkey in order to undermine the Kemalists and then he turned around to purge his former allies .

Faced with enemies and adversaries at home and overseas, Erdoğan decided on a dual strategy of improving his ties abroad, especially his links with Russia and Israel while launching a total war on domestic critics.

Fabricated Coup and the Permanent Purge

Erdoğan’s intelligence operatives within the military command encouraged or even provoked his critics in the General Staff, who were fed up with his bungling and disastrous policies, to mount a coup. They gave the rebellious military sufficient space and resources to provide a semblance of authority while retaining strategic control over the air force and key ground troops. They may have feigned sympathy to the launching of a premature uprising …doomed to defeat. Once the heavily infiltrated rebel units moved, the entire Erdoğan operation struck. Hapless conscripts thought they had been called out for military exercises, only to find themselves encircled, arrested and even lynched. The dissidents were isolated, their advances paralyzed, their leaders incapacitated. Erdoğan’s loyalist within the Turkish Air Force flew the triumphant president into the ‘liberated’ Istambul International airport to the cheers of his adoring civilian supporters.

Erdoğan immediately decreed a massive purge – in the name of the fatherland. A real coup had indeed taken place – Erdoğan’s total power grab. The entire political, military, judicial and police system was stripped of personnel within hours. There were over 20,000 arrests, beatings and disappearances. There were calls to re-introduce the death penalty.

Erdoğan’s power grab eliminated key US assets among the Gulenist and eliminated independent Supreme Court officials and secular republican officials. The president was free to rebuild an entire civil, governmental and military apparatus with his own loyalists. His control over the media and the educational institutions was total.

Rule Under Erdoģan

Erdoğan’s pre-emptive coup, purge and power grab will result in a monolithic state which Erdoģan will shape into his long-sought version of an Islamist regime. The new regime announced a ‘State of Emergency’, which places all Turks under strict compliance with Erdoğan’s policies.

Erdoğan’s “New Order” will launch large-scale operations against the Kurds, with no respect for the Syrian or Iraqi national borders. Erdoğan will ensure compliance with Islamist decrees designed to enforce conformity. He will succeed in imposing a dictatorial ‘Presidential’ regime. And parliament, if necessary will be bypassed; his ‘electoral’ mandate will be ensured.

In the immediate aftermath, mass detentions will strengthen the state – and Erdoğan’s generals, allied religious authorities and street thugs will call the shots.

Unleashing force and violence against his domestic enemies, however, may lead to internal disputes among the new predators over the spoils of victory. The economic elite may accept the New Order, but only if and when Erdoğan tones down his rhetorical attacks on the US and the EU.

Erdoğan has yet to develop a strategy on replacing the purged (‘Gulenist’) professionals within the civilian economy and public bureaucracy – especially the schools and judiciary. The impetuous reversals of his reckless policy of confrontation with Russia, Syria, Israel, Iran, Iraq and the Kurds are likely to generate new layers of discontent, especially among his current military commanders.

Erdoğan’s New Order arises from the breakdown of civil society and long-term alliances. He may remain in power in Ankara but he will be viewed as more of a local political thug than a partner among the regional big powers.

Erdoğan’s external allies will exploit his isolation and radical bombast to forge lucrative alliances. Israel will push for favorable gas and oil deals; Russia will insist that Erdoğan abandons his ISIS allies. The US will demand he cease attacks on the Kurds. The EU will use the ongoing purge and re-institution of the death penalty to finally declare Turkey unfit to join the European Union. Bankers and foreign investors will wait for Erdoğan to stop his rampage over the financial sector and ‘get serious’ about the economy.

Erdoğan’s dream of lifetime rulership presiding over an Islamic Neo-Ottoman caliphate, buttressed by street mobs, praetorian guards and crony capitalists makes for an unstable and unruly Turkey. Erdoğan’s military loyalists have their own rivalries and ambitions. Now that Erdoğan has established his ‘military road to power’, he has set a clear precedent for other ‘Erdoğan’s’ to take the same route.

In the short-run Erdoğan needs to restart the economy, stabilize the political system and establish a semblance of international order.

Erdoğan cannot and probably will not prolong tensions with the US over the Gulen affair. Gulen will remain in Pennsylvania, in the CIA’s ‘regime change’ pocket. Meanwhile, he has eliminated most of the Gulenist agents capable of working with the US as a fifth-column. The question is whether he now moves back to his role as a ‘valued’ NATO junior partner, or if he will launch an intensified war against the US’s strategic Kurdish allies?

Erdoğan’s ties with Russia are precarious. There is no reason for the Russians to trust him. He has fallen somewhere between the need for reconciliation with Russia and the desire to continue his proxy war against the government of Syria.

In the end Erdoğan may have secured power and undertaken a vast domestic purge of his enemies, but he has lost the regional war while bearing the consequences of millions of war refugees and a deeply entrenched jihadi terrorist threat within Turkey.

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The Abusive Invocation of “Self-Defence as a Response to Terrorism” by Western Governments as a Justification to Wage War

NOVANEWS
 
Terrorisme international

A plea signed by a great number of professors of international law and researchers entitled « A plea against the abusive invocation of self-defence as a response to terrorism » is circulating on the web since a few weeks.

Among the signatories, which are more than 220 professors and almost 50 assistants/researchers  (see the list available  here  at July 22, updated by the Centre de Droit International de l´Université Libre de Bruxelles, ULB) , we find distinguished names of international law community as well as younger  researchers and assistants.  The objective of this collective initiative is to challenge the invocation of the legal argument of self-defense by several States in the context of the war against ISIL or ISIS.

As well known, the United Nations Charter is extremely clear on the unique exception to the prohibition of the use of force since 1945:  self-defense (and military operations authorized by Security Council under Chapter VII of the Charter).  However, since 9/11, various interpretations made by United States and its allies have tried to legally support unilateral military operations in the territory of a State without previous consent of its authorities.  In a recent note published on the website of the European Journal of International Law (EJIL), we read that: “Particularly since 9/11, several States have supported a broad reading of the right to use force in self-defence, as allowing them to intervene militarily against terrorists whenever and wherever they may be. A consequence of that conception is that any State could be targeted irrespective of whether that State has ‘sent’ the irregular (in this case terrorist) group to carry out a military action or has been ‘substantially involved’ in such an action” (Note 1).

The use of force in self-defense must be exercised in conformity with the conditions laid down in the UN Charter and international law. On this very particular point, it must be recalled that France presented at the Security Council a quite surprising draft resolution  after Paris attacks of November 13, 2015  (see  full text  of the « blue version » circulated among delegations)  avoiding any reference  to the Charter in the operative paragraphs: it is possibly a great “première” of French diplomacy at the United Nations (Note 2).

The text of this plea (available here ) in French, English, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic) considers, among others arguments, that:

«Thus, numerous military interventions have been conducted in the name of self-defence, including against Al Qaeda, ISIS or affiliated groups. While some have downplayed these precedents on account of their exceptional nature, there is a serious risk of self-defence becoming an alibi, used systematically to justify the unilateral launching of military operations around the world. Without opposing the use of force against terrorist groups as a matter of principle — particularly in the current context of the fight against ISIS — we, international law professors and scholars, consider this invocation of self-defence to be problematic. In fact, international law provides for a range of measures to fight terrorism. Priority should be given to these measures before invoking self-defence .

For the signatories of this plea,

 …. we consider that terrorism raises above all the challenge of prosecution and trial of individuals who commit acts of terrorism. A variety of legal tools are available in this respect. They relate first and foremost to police and judicial cooperation (chiefly through agencies such as INTERPOL or EUROPOL), aiming both at punishing those responsible for the crimes committed and preventing future occurrence of such crimes. Although there is certainly room for improvement, this cooperation has often proved effective in dismantling networks, thwarting attacks, and arresting the perpetrators of such attacks. By embracing from the outset the « war against terrorism » and « self-defence » paradigms and declaring a state of emergency, there is a serious risk of trivializing, neglecting, or ignoring ordinary peacetime legal processes”.

It must be noted that international law scholars and researchers around the world can sign this document until next July 31. The text recalls a certain number of very clear rules that diplomats in New York know better than anyone,  despite the ambiguous interpretations made by some of their colleagues, in particular since the beginning of airstrikes in Syria, without the consent of its authorities (Note 3).

This collective document refers also that:

 …, the maintenance of international peace and security rests first and foremost with the Security Council. The Council has qualified international terrorism as a threat to the peace on numerous occasions. Therefore, aside from cases of emergency leaving no time to seize the UN, it must remain the Security Council’s primary responsibility to decide, coordinate and supervise acts of collective security. Confining the task of the Council to adopting ambiguous resolutions of an essentially diplomatic nature, as was the case with the passing of resolution 2249 (2015) relating to the fight against ISIS, is an unfortunate practice. Instead, the role of the Council must be enhanced in keeping with the letter and spirit of the Charter, thereby ensuring a multilateral approach to security  /…/ 

However, the mere fact that, despite its efforts, a State is unable to put an end to terrorist activities on its territory is insufficient to justify bombing that State’s territory without its consent. Such an argument finds no support either in existing legal instruments or in the case law of the International Court of Justice. Accepting this argument entails a risk of grave abuse in that military action may henceforth be conducted against the will of a great number of States under the sole pretext that, in the intervening State’s view, they were not sufficiently effective in fighting terrorism.

It must be noted that, last February 2016, Canada new authorities decided to cease airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. We read on this  official note  produced by Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)  that: “ In accordance with Government of Canada direction, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) ceased airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria on 15 February 2016. From their first sortie on 30 October 2014 to 15 February 2016, the CF-188 Hornets conducted 1378 sorties resulting in 251 airstrikes (246 in Iraq and 5 in Syria), expended 606 munitions and achieved the following effects: 267 ISIL fighting positions, 102 ISIL equipment and vehicles, and, 30 ISIL Improvised Explosive Device (IED) factories and ISIL storage facilities”.

In 2015, a Canadian scholar concluded an extremely interesting article on Canadian airstrikes in Syria and Iraq in the following terms: “However, there is a further legal hurdle for Canada to overcome. Unless Canada can attribute ISIS´ attacks in Iraq to Syria, then the question becomes whether Canada may lawfully target ISIS, as a nonstate actor in Syria’s sovereign territory, using the ‘unwilling or unable’ doctrine to prevent ISIS’ extraterritoriality attacks against Iraq. This justification moves significantly away from the Nicaragua, Congo and Israeli Wall cases’ requirement for attribution. There appears to be a lack of consensus on whether opinion juris and state practice have accepted the “unwilling or unable” doctrine as customary international law. There is no escaping the conclusion that Canada’s air strikes on Syria are on shaky, or at least shifting, legal ground ” (Note 4).

The signatories of this collective plea, which number increase from day to day, including scholars from different continents and age, conclude reaffirming that:

 The international legal order may not be reduced to an interventionist logic similar to that prevailing before the adoption of the United Nations Charter. The purpose of the Charter was to substitute a multilateral system grounded in cooperation and the enhanced role of law and institutions for unilateral military action. It would be tragic if, acting on emotion in the face of terrorism (understandable as this emotion may be), that purpose were lost 

Notes

1. See CORTEN O., « A Plea Against the Abusive Invocation of Self-Defence as a Response to Terrorism”, European Journal of International Law (EJIL Talk), July 14, 2016, available here .

2. See ou modest note published in France,  BOEGLIN N., «Attentats à Paris : remarques à propos de la résolution 2249 », Actualités du Droit, December 6, 2015, available  here . See also, after parliamentary debate  in United Kingdom authorizing airstrikes in Syria, BOEGLIN N. «Arguments based on UN resolution 2249 in Prime Minister´s report on airstrikes in Syria: some clarifications needed », Global Research, December 3, 2015, available here  .

3. On the notion of « unwilling or unable » State, justifying, for some diplomats, military operations on its territory without its previous consent, see: CORTEN O., “The ‘Unwilling or Unable’ Test: Has it Been, and Could it be, Accepted?”, Leiden Journal of International Law, 2016. Full text of this article available  here .

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Nice Attacks, Destroying Evidence at Crime Scene: French Government Orders Destruction of CCTV Video Footage

Nice attack2

A report in 21st of July edition of Le Figaro newspaper states that France’s anti-terrorist executive ( sous-direction anti-terroriste- SDAT) has ordered Nice’s urban surveillance authorities to destroy all CCTV footage of the Nice Attacks on Bastille Day that rocked the city on the 14th of July 2016.

Although SDAT have cited articles 53 and L706-24 of the prosecution procedure and article R642-1 of the penal code, authorities in Nice interviewed by Le Figaro say that it is the first time they have ever been asked to destroy evidence at a crime scene – something they point out is illegal.

The explanation given by the French Ministry of Justice is that they don’t want ‘uncontrolled’ and ‘non-authorised (non maîtrisée) diffusion of the images of the terrorist attacks. The Judicial Police have noted that 140 videos of the attacks in their possession show ‘important pieces of the inquiry’ (éléments d’enquête intéressants). The French government claims it wants to prevent ISIS from gaining access to videos of the attacks for the purposes of propaganda. They also claim that the destruction of evidence is intended to protect the families of the victims. The comments section of the Le Figaro article is replete with outrage and disgust by the fact that the French government, instead of preserving evidence for the purposes of a thorough, independent investigation, is in fact behaving rather more like the chief suspect in the attack – ordering the destruction of vital evidence.

There is something rotten in France’s Judicial Police. Shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attacks on the 7th of January 2015, the judicial police behaved suspiciously before and as they did after the ‘suicide’ of Limoge’s deputy Police Commissioner Helric Fredou. Fredou was found dead shortly after the arrival of the French Judicial Police to his office in Limoges shortly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. His family were not allowed see his body for 24 hours after his death; they suspect foul play. The Judicial Police claimed he had shot himself in the head, though his mother said she did not see evidence of this. The police commissioner was said to be suffering from depression, a claim denied by the family doctor. Fredou was found dead in his office before the publication of a report on the relationship between Jeanette Bougrab, a former press secretary of Nicolas Sarkozy, and one of the deceased in the attack, Stéphane Charbonnier

He was found dead in his office before the publication of a report on the relationship between Jeanette Bougrab, a former press secretary of Nicolas Sarkozy, and one of the deceased in the attack, Stéphane Charbonnier known as ‘Charb’. The relationship between Bougrab, who is close to all the leaders of the French Zionist movement, and Charb, was one of the most controversial aspects of the Charlie Hebdo massacre story. Fredou was also investigating the background of the Kouachi brothers who were accused of the massacre. They had lived in the town of Limoges.

An article in France’s l’Est Républicain newspaper attempts to reassure the public of the French government’s bona fides with the title ‘No, the footage of the attack has not been deleted’. The report asserts that the Ministry of Justice have not ordered the destruction of evidence but just the deletion of the images from the cameras in Nice. This reassurance might be enough to placate those who are loathe to question the narrative of the war on terror. But, as the recent booing of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Nice showed, the French people are waking up.

Now France’s Judicial Police and anti-terrorist authorities want to destroy evidence of the attacks. In most crime cases, those who destroy or seek to destroy evidence are usually trying to cover something up. I have already pointed out some of the inconsistencies in the story we have been told about the Nice massacre. I have not claimed nothing happened or no one was killed but rather that the video evidence so far presented does not match the story. Perhaps new video evidence proving the government’s story will emerge. Let’s hope so! If researchers and journalists with a proven record of peace advocacy and a passion for truth and honesty in reporting were to gain access to those videos, ISIS would be weakened not strengthened.

But we would be naive to believe the French government intends to weaken ISIS, given the incontrovertibly proven fact that they support the child-murdering head choppers in Syria. While some will find their comfort zones and systems justification syndrome perturbed by this information, many more will simply fall back to sleep.Falling asleep is easier in the short term but in time people will realise that the mattress is being pulled from under them, so that when they wake up in terrible discomfort, it will be too late. It’s time to wake up!

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