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Poet and Efran Kaye's tribute
to everyone killed in wars.
Bless the large numbers of Ethiopians, the many good people in Indonesia, and the folks of Russia, Greece and Egypt, who are now playing it.
100% CERTAIN 9/11 WAS MOSSAD OPERATION
Most US people polled believe that 9/11 was an "inside job", but what would they feel if they found out that it was designed by Zionists, who deliberately killed thousands of innocent US citizens to drive the US into wars on Muslims?
They'd be angry, right?
Fernando Imposimato, President of the Italian Supreme Court, calls for a criminal investigation of 9/11, comparing the attack to false flag incidents carried out by the CIA in Italy: Operation Gladio.
"The 9/11 attacks were a global state terror operation that was permitted by the US administration, which had foreknowledge of the operation, yet remained intentionally unresponsive in order to make war against Afghanistan and Iraq," Imposimato declares in a letter published by the Journal of 9/11 Studies.
Ferdinando Imposimato is the Honorary President of the Supreme Court of Italy and a former Senator who served on the Anti-Mafia Commission in three administrations. He is the author or co-author of 7 books on international terrorism, state corruption, and related matters, and a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy.
As a former state prosecutor, Imposimato has extensive experience in investigating high- profile crimes, including the kidnapping and assassination of Italian Prime Minster Aldo Moro & the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. He also worked on the Anti- Mafia commission as a Senator, giving him a wealth of knowledge on the inner workings of organized crime syndicates.
Imposimato points to several facts contradicting the official 9/11 story, including the free-fall collapse of WTC Building 7, the report that the CIA met with Osama Bin Laden in a Dubai hospital in July 2001, and the overwhelming evidence of insider trading before 9/11 that didn't lead to any criminal charges, reports digitaljournal.com
The following is an excerpt from Imposimato’s letter published by the Journal of 9/11 Studies on Sunday:
The reports of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), November 20, 2005, set forth the following conclusions:
The airplanes that struck each of the Twin Towers caused a breach as well as an explosion evidenced by a giant fireball. The remaining jet fuel flowed onto the lower floors, sustaining the fires. The heat from the fires deformed the building structures and both towers collapsed completely from top to bottom.
Very little that was of any size remained after these events except steel as well as aluminum fragments and the pulverized dust from the concrete floors.
The World Trade Center 7 also collapsed–in a way that was inconsistent with the common experience of engineers. All three buildings collapsed completely, but Building 7 was not hit by a plane. WTC7’s collapse violated common experience and was unprecedented.
The NIST report does not analyze the actual nature of the collapses. According to experts at the Toronto Hearings (Sept. 8-11, 2011), the collapses had features that indicate controlled explosions. I agree with architect Richard Gage & engineer Jon Cole both highly experienced professionals [from Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth – now numbering 1,700 strong], who have arrived at their conclusions through reliable tests, scientific proof, and the visual testimony of people above suspicion, including firefighters and victims.
The authoritative theologian David Ray Griffin has described very precisely why the hypothesis of controlled demolition should be considered. Various witnesses heard bursts of explosions.
According to NIST the collapse of Building 7 was due to fires provoked by the collapse of the twin towers. Chemist and independent researcher Kevin Ryan, however, has demonstrated that NIST gave contradictory versions of the collapse of Building 7.
In a preliminary report NIST declared that WTC7 was destroyed because of fires provoked by diesel fuel stored in the building, while in a second report this fuel was no longer considered the cause of the building’s collapse. Additional comments on the NIST version of events have been made by David Chandler, another expert witness at the Journal of 9/11 Studies Letters, September 2012 Toronto Hearings.
Despite NIST’s claim of 3 distinct phases of collapse, Chandler pointed out that many available videos show that for about two and a half seconds the acceleration of the building cannot be distinguished from freefall. NIST has been obliged to agree with this empirical fact as pointed out by Chandler; now understood by everyone.
The only possibility for achieving justice is to submit the best evidence concerning the involvement of specific individuals in 9/11 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and ask him to investigate according to the articles 12, 13, 15 and 17, letters a and b, of the Statute of the ICC, recalling the preamble of the Statute:
“Recognizing that such grave crimes threaten the peace, security and the well being of the world,”
“Affirming that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level and by enhancing international cooperation, ”
“Determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prosecution of such crimes, recalling that it is the duty of every state to exercise its jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes." reports infowars.com.
More and more people from all walks of life and all professions seem to be questioning the “official” narrative of what happened on 9/11. Those who are questioning the events of 9/11 may be moving under the radar of the corporate media from being labeled “conspiracy theorists” to legitimate investigators with legitimate questions and concerns, reports examiner.com
Theorists believe that the World Trade Center buildings were demolished by bombs, phone calls from the planes were made up, and the former President George W. Bush secretly profited from the attacks, reports newsone.com
The World Trade Center collapse appeared similar to a controlled demolition. Many speculate that the towers were in fact blown down with explosives placed in selected locations. Some witnesses heard explosions inside the building as they attempted to escape. Many architects & scientists maintain that plane fuel couldn't produce enough heat to melt the steel frame of the buildings that collapsed, reports newsone.com
WESTERN MEDIA LIES LEAD TO WAR
Article by Finian Cunningham.
100 years ago, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, was the fatal spark that ignited a geopolitical powder keg in Europe.
Within a month, all the major powers of Europe would be embroiled in the First World War, which also dragged in Russia and the US. The war would last for nearly five years and resulted in at least 20 million deaths.
That catastrophe has perplexing resonances with today. One incident set off a conflagration back then, because it came amid simmering rivalries among imperial powers. Another resonance is how historians recount that, in the run-up to the First World War few believed that a war in "modern, civilized" Europe was likely, because of the belief that diplomacy would prevail.
Today, we see a similar reckless goading by imperial powers across Europe. The US and its European NATO allies are embarked on a 25-year expansion towards Russia's heartland.
The dynamic of encroachment has only sped up, not lessened. This expansion is provocative, aggressive and duplicitous, because it not only presents a military threat to Russia, it also flies in the face of past commitments by the US-led NATO alliance not to do so, such as in the 1997 Founding Act, signed with Moscow.
Russia has every right to feel threatened by ever- encroaching ballistic missile systems on its borders that could be used in a pre-emptive nuclear strike by the US and its allies. That concern is heightened ever since Washington invoked a "first strike doctrine" under President George W Bush, which Obama still retains.
Yet, provocatively, Washington dismisses Russian President Vladimir Putin's concerns about NATO expansion, as if they are the deliriums of a Soviet revanchist.
The complacency of the present time towards the dangers of war, has disturbing echoes of the past - on the eve of World War I. A major factor in the present complacency is that the Western mainstream media are failing, woefully, to properly report on the gravity of the situation in Ukraine, and just how provocative that parlous situation is to Russia's vital interests.
This week saw the signing of a trade pact between the European Union and Petro Poroshenko, the declared president of Ukraine. The Western media have hailed it in glowing terms as "a landmark event" and a positive outcome of democracy in the former Soviet Republic. That blithe assessment invites dangerous ignorance and complacency.
The truth is that the signing of the EU trade pact is the outcome of an illegal regime-change operation in Ukraine fomented by Washington and its NATO allies.
That regime change involved CIA-backed mass murder of civilians (the February 20 sniper shootings in Kiev's Maidan Square) and the overthrow of an elected government.
Since the illegal coup against President Viktor Yanukovych, the Western-backed Kiev regime has been waging war on ethnic Russian populations in the east and south of the country, who refuse to recognize the regime as legitimate.
Poroshenko, the billionaire oligarch who is now signing over the sovereign affairs of Ukraine to the US, NATO and the EU, was elected president in a farcical vote last month, where only 45% of the electorate turned out and large sections of the east and south did not even cast a ballot amid a murderous "anti-terror" crackdown by Kiev troops and paramilitaries.
The campaign of terror by the Kiev forces against pro-Russian civilians was launched at the end of April, days after CIA chief John Brennan made a secret visit to the Kiev regime. Brennan briefed the Kiev leadership, including the so-called Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who only last week used Nazi language to vow that his military forces would "cleanse sub-humans" from the country - referring to the ethnic Russian populations and the self-defence militias they have set up in the Donetz and Lugansk regions.
The impostor-President Poroshenko may have declared a ceasefire over the past week, but the hostilities against civilian centres continue unabated. Crimes against humanity include the bombing of homes, churches, schools & hospitals, the use of White Phosphorus incendiary bombs and exploding bullets, as well as the shelling of electricity and water supplies.
Western media have largely ignored these violations by the "new democratic Ukrainian government", or at best have reported them as "unverified" or merely as "breaches of the ceasefire by both sides".
Western governments and media have gone into denial mode, refusing to acknowledge what even the United Nations this week confirms as a massive displacement of over 150,000 people from eastern Ukraine. Why are such numbers fleeing, if the violence is not also massive?
Another example of the Western cover-up over state terrorism in Ukraine, is the recent killing of three journalists. Earlier this month, Russian journalist Igor Kornelyuk and his colleague Anton Voloshin were killed near Lugansk when they were hit with a mortar shell. Survivors of the attack said it was deliberate targeting by Kiev troops. Previously, Italian journalist Andrea Rochelli was slain near Slavyansk in another incident that bore the hallmarks of shoot-to-kill.
In the past week, by contrast, there was an outpouring of condemnation from Washington and other Western governments, as well as widespread media coverage, of the jailing of three Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt. Those sentences were no doubt a gross miscarriage of justice. But what about the taking of journalists' lives in Ukraine? Where is the Western condemnations and media coverage?
Western-backed regime change and genocidal repression in Ukraine, is a collision course of extreme provocation towards Russia and its vital interests. Yet it is presented to the Western public as if it is a "good news" story about democratic European enlargement, which, perversely, is being spoiled by Russian "interference".
This is a powder-keg situation in Europe, led by US geopolitics and its European henchmen, and which is wrapped up in an explosive shell of ignorance, by a lying Western media.
The repetition of history is not inevitable. But the chances are increased when people are kept in the dark about the underlying causes of war and conflict.
Petko Ganchev, wrote this article for Pravda.Ru.
Today it is absolutely clear that there is a multipurpose strategic operation being conducted on the territory of the former Soviet Union. Ukraine plays a key role in the operation. Why Ukraine?
It's an open secret - the West has always wanted to master the vast territories of Russia and Eurasia, the axial space of the Earth, with its enormous natural resources.
To achieve this goal, there was the outer belt (Turkey, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan) built around Russia-Eurasia after World War Two. The inner belt (Georgia, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) was built after the collapse of the USSR.
Successively, after the Cold War, almost all East European countries - Soviet satellites - were admitted to NATO under the condition of their membership in the European Union.
But the West didn't get closer to Russia's western borders. There were 2 Russia- friendly countries left - historically, culturally and economically - Belarus and Ukraine.
Belarus is closely tied to Russia ethnically, culturally and economically. Ukraine, with its failed state organization was a weak link.
The reason for that is that the regions from which Ukraine was created after World War II (1945), were formed by areas with very different religious and value systems.
In his famous book "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" by Samuel P. Huntington, the author described Ukraine as one of civilizational "splits," where one can expect clashes, i.e. wars.
That's why Ukraine was chosen by the US as the key to implement a multi-purpose strategic operation.
In the Middle East, the US has always used monarchies from the Middle Ages as allies - Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In Ukraine, the most loyal ally of the United States was Poland. The country was used to train "Right Sector" fighters and other figures from anti-Russian ultranationalist structures.
What are the main objectives and directions of this geo-strategic operation, the implementation of which began immediately after the US was forced to freeze its activities on Syria and Iran?
First and foremost, the goal is to strike a blow on Russia as the most active US geopolitical rival in the new millennium. When Ukraine leaves Russia's orbit, the US will implement several geostrategic objectives:
- to move air defense systems and other NATO systems closer to Russian borders: neutralizing its defense, including its nuclear capability;
- to undermine the Russian economy by cutting relations with the economy of Ukraine (Poroshenko has already ordered, following instructions from the US, to cease cooperation with the Russian defense industry);
- to burden the budget of the Russian Federation with bigger spending to maintain refugees from Ukraine and substitute imports from Ukraine;
- to close Russia's gas and oil pipelines to the EU to thus block the inflow of foreign currency into the Russian economy;
- to prevent creation of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union;
- to destabilize the political system in Russia, accusing its leadership of what is happening in Ukraine;
- to stop or minimize economic cooperation between Russia and the EU;
- to sow distrust between Russia and other BRICS countries - Brazil, India, China, South Africa.
Secondly, the U.S. plans to strike a blow on the European Union, which, along with China, acts as a major competitor in the economic sphere. The EU needs to be reminded of its secondary role.
The United States seeks to confirm the assessment of Russophobe Brzezinski in his book "The Grand Chessboard" (1997), according to which the EU was a "U.S. protectorate."
For the U.S. it is vitally important to strengthen the economic dependence of the EU in light of their signing the "Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement" to turn the EU towards the consumption of US shale gas. In this regard, the EU is the most developed market.
To achieve this, Ukrainian company Naftogaz (the largest company in Ukraine) became the property of a new consortium, whose leadership includes the son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former Polish President Kwasniewski.
At the same time, Chevron is preparing shale gas production in south-eastern Ukraine - in the areas of the towns of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk.
Chervon, directly or indirectly, through the European Commission, put pressure on Bulgaria, forcing the country to abandon the South Stream project.
At the same time, the U.S. continues to put pressure on France, to make the country freeze the sale of two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. France's largest bank PNB faces a fine of $10 billion for violating the financial embargo that the U.S. put on Cuba, Sudan and Nicaragua.
At the same time, the United States, with its national debt of 17 trillion dollars and GDP of 14 trillion, prepares to grant NATO's Eastern European members $1 billion for new weapons.
Fortunately, on the "grand chessboard" of world civilization, the U.S. does not play against virtual opponents. The geo-strategy of the United States does not unfold like the Desert Storm Operation in 2 003. Today, the US is playing against experienced players.
Russia is rising after the disgrace of the Yeltsin era, and the EU becomes increasingly aware of the fact that the only chance to survive is hidden in the slogan "More Europe for Europeans!"
The last elections to the European Parliament have confirmed the trend. Hitherto, with so many large- scale geopolitical operations after World War II (Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.), the US has not been able to boast considerable achievements.
Through all those wars, as George Friedman says in his book "The Next 100 Years," America has stimulated the growth of the national economy.
America was gradually and steadily evolving from a manufacturing economy to the economy of a military-industrial complex. In history, such a condition has always heralded the end of any empire.
US "A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE"
The US government is a “criminal enterprise” with a foreign policy that places the well- being of Israel ahead of America’s, a political commentator in San Antonio, Texas says.
“This is a criminal enterprise that has the support of both of the major political parties in the United States,” Mark Dankof, a broadcaster and former US Senate candidate, says.
This criminal enterprise “principally involves conducting a foreign policy firstly for Israel, secondly for the international central banks and thirdly for the oil and natural gas consortiums,” Dankof says.
There is no difference between the policies of the Obama and Bush administrations, he notes. Both “are supporting the criminal policies of Benjamin Netanyahu,” he adds.
Dankof dismisses as a deception the recent remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry that the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq was a serious mistake:
“This is an attempt to absolve John Kerry and Barack Obama of the responsibility for all the criminal policies that they have carried out.”
In an interview with Chinese news agency Geo News, Kerry acknowledged that many problems in the Middle East, have their roots in that war.
George W. Bush, ordered the invasion of Iraq under a pretext --- that former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of mass destruction.
In October 2004, a CIA report revealed that Saddam Hussein did not possess any weapons of mass destruction at the time of the invasion.
In a survey out on Wednesday 2nd June, by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, 33% of registered voters name Obama as the worst president since 1945.
28% choose his predecessor, George W. Bush, as the worst.
By Jim Jones
For many, myself included I suppose, the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine have been riveting over the last couple of months. No need here to go into the sordid history of Coloured Revolutions and the CIA/NATO role in them; most reading this medium as opposed to CNN/SKY/VOA, are informed people and are aware of the manoeuvrings of the West and the associated puppet states in trying to embroil Russia in a war it doesn't want and in extending NATO frontiers to the heart of Russia.
Missile strikes from Ukraine, for example, would be in Moscow in 10 minutes, leaving no reaction time and fits neatly within the new US policy of a "first Strike" nuclear capability. [As opposed to the retaliatory strike doctrine of the last 40 years].
We all know what happened in 1961, when Khrushchev put Soviet Missiles into Cuba after the US put missiles into Turkey. The US wasn't very impressed at all. What is not well known is that Kennedy asked Khrushchev to "cut him some slack" and withdraw the missiles without reference to the US' withdrawal of its missiles from Turkey!
The US had upped the rhetoric so much, that it couldn't be seen to lose face in the public arena - condescendingly, Khrushchev accommodated.
Hold that thought of "face saving" as we explore the current Ukraine Crisis.
The US/NATO pushed the EU to pressure the Ukraine to join the EU and swing to the West. They almost succeeded 4 years ago with their Orange Revolution.
But Russia had learnt a thing or two about the Coloured Revolutions and mounted a successful and embarrassing reversal of the revolution and installed their own man in Ukraine who was leading Ukraine back along the Russian brotherhood line.
Four years later, after over $5 billion in NGO funding and a huge amount of State Department scheming and CIA covert action, the US finally got a chance to redress the "egg on face incident" that the Russians had made for them.
The US played a "background role" in this - preferring to have the EU seen as the driving force behind the Maidan. However, leaked phone calls, like that made to Cabinet Minister Ashton, which clearly identified the role of paid mercenaries in killing both Police & protesters, and later, Viktoria Nuland [US State Dept] hand-picking who will be in the Ukraine government and saying the EU can go get fucked - did nothing to endear the US to the EU -- it came hard on the heels of revelations of extensive phone tapping of EU leaders' phones etc. by the US.
Then we have the unsavoury influence of the Right Sektor in Ukraine being pushed, funded and trained by NATO and the US's Kerry, Nuland, John McCain, Mark Twain and all, were seen in public endorsing the very Right Sektor extremists that the German government was in the process of declaring as criminals!
Europe could see itself being plunged back 70 years with the rise of neo Nazi's, not just in Germany - but across Europe. [Remember Anders Behring Breivik and his mass killings in Norway: an ultra nationalist].
Europe also asked the question, what is the US going to lose over this? If Russia turns off the gas, Europe freezes: the economy of Europe goes down the toilet!
Already Germany is losing billions of Euros in trade with Russia, France has several military deals with Russia, the supply of Mistral Class ships for one, and Putin has promised follow-ons from that. Italy is supplying armour vehicles, many EU nations trade with Russia - so, US, what sanctions are going to hurt you, the EU asks?
Germany has a growing discord there over the 70 year occupation of Germany by US forces - we see demonstrations - Yankees go home! Europe is realising that the US cares, not for them, but only for US and US businesses.
Against this background, we are witnessing the separation of the US/EU and a drawing closer of EU/Russia on common grounds & shared interests.
I was appalled: driven to tears by the criminal acts of the Kyiv Junta's ex facto war crimes/ crimes against humanity. The shelling and bombing of civilians [non-combatants the Junta declares are Terrorists]. The targeting and destructionof schools, kindergartens and hospitals - with the murder of 25 wounded in the hospital - shot by Junta troops!
Destruction of the means of support of life - with water supplies destroyed, electrical installations and sanitary plants destroyed by shelling. The shooting of women and children leaving the region for shelter in Crimea, by bus. The execution style killing of civilians in a town by Junta forces, who lined the people up and shot them in the back of their heads. The use of chemical weapons against civilians - chlorine gas [where is Obama's Red Line on this?]. The targeting of TV reporters in the area trying to objectively record events. I'm sure that I have missed some others.
I cried out from the depths of despair for justice - surely Russia would intervene; surely Russia would protect it's people like it has said it would?
And all along, that is exactly what the US has been saying too - telling the Ukrainian Junta to commit further acts and atrocities against the people who simply want true democracy in the East.
To help them in this, they even get them to demonise and degrade the people there. Junta leaders have called the Russians in the East, "sub-human" - those of you as old as I am, will have heard that phrase before.
They are called parasites and vermin by the new Choco King Junta leader Poroshenko. Such a debasing of the population makes it more acceptable to murder them and commit atrocities against a subhuman species - not much higher than animals really, are they?
The provocation of Russia in this regard has been carefully stage managed by the US, intent as always to let it appear as the EU 's doing, while all the time ensuring that their people are the ones pulling the strings in Kiev - the CIA/FBI and State Department are up to their proverbial balls in Kiev's business.
Don't see the EU featuring though. The US has pushed the warmonger Russian story all through Europe - putting the fear of the bogyman into all ex Soviet states, and determined to show them all how much they need NATO's protection. [In truth, the world needs to be protected from the US].
However, Russia has consistently demonstrated restraint and maturity in handling the world crisis.
Since the failed US--led revolution in Georgia, Russia has been seen to be taking the moral high ground from the US and their consistent lies [WMD et.al].
The lies over Georgia were exposed and eventually the EU came out & confirmed that Georgia started the war. Reluctantly, the Western media has had to admit to "errors" in reporting - all of which have favoured the Russian position. Remember the incredible piece of statesmanship from Russia in pulling the war rug out from under the US's feet over Syrian Chemical weapons?!
Russia has quietly been cementing relationships in Europe - building "partnerships' with European countries, and is doing so in accordance with international law and through responsible, mature actions. All of this has been driving a wedge between the US and the EU. This hasn't gone unnoticed - the US cannot accept that they are not in the driving seat of a single seater any more. Goading and provoking Russia into attacking the Ukraine is how they will demonstrate that the Russia of today is what they told everyone that the USSR of old, was.
Putin has been smarter than they realised.
Reuters reported on July 1st:
Ukrainian forces struck at pro-Russian separatist bases in the eastern regions with air and artillery strikes on Tuesday, after President Poroshenko announced he would not renew a ceasefire, but go on the offensive to rid Ukraine of "parasites".
His decision quickly drew fire from Russian President Vladimir Putin who said Poroshenko had disregarded the advice of himself & German and French leaders. Putin said Poroshenko would now have to bear full responsibility for veering off the road to peace.
Poroshenko, who accuses Russia of fanning the conflict and allowing fighters and equipment to cross the border to support the rebels, then turned his back on another renewal of a 10- day unilateral ceasefire after the phone talks involving Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and President Francois Hollande.
The important thing here is that Putin obtained consensus from France and Germany in a four- way dialogue. This consensus was broken by Poroshenko, under pressure from US handlers.
The facts are obvious. What it also shows, is that once again the US has marginalised the EU and shown scant regard for the EU position.
This now opens the door for Russia to reiterate its threat; "Putin said Moscow will continue to defend the interests of ethnic Russians abroad - up to 3 million of whom live in the east of Ukraine, which has been in separatist ferment since April."
By obtaining consensus to a path of peace, and seeing it broken, Moscow now has the mandate to use force... IF it wants to.
The question is, does Russia want or need to? That famous General of Guerrilla warfare, Vo Nguyen Giap [Incidentally, his book Peoples War, People's Army is worth reading] said, "we do not want to defeat the enemy, we simply want him to leave our country!". In this regard, the Ukrainian Junta cannot win the war in Novorussiya.
Firstly, they have completely lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the people --- through the brutal atrocities they have committed.
Their transparent attempt at a Kosovo type ethnic cleansing, has been seen for what it is and has made people more determined to "hold their ground". Their brutality has now created a generational animosity, which will not be resolved in our life-time.
Secondly, militarily they can't succeed - every day, Novorussiya is gaining in strength and skills. The skill level of Novorussiya's troops is much higher than those of the basic conscripted Junta forces and they're much more motivated than the Junta forces - they are fighting for their existence and homeland. Conventional military doctrine states that we require a 10 to 1 advantage to press a successful attack against a defending enemy.
1,000 to 1 is not enough to succeed in a Guerrilla war scenario. Look at the hiding the Yanks got in Vietnam and they poured hundreds of thousands of troops into there, used the might of total air superiority and naval bombardment etc, and still got their arses kicked. Ask them how many they and NATO had in Afghanistan fighting "towel heads"? [and still lost].
The Ukrainian Army has about 30,000 troops committed against 10,000 in the Novorussiya Army, and many Junta forces are actually surrendering without a fight, handing over their gear, getting on a bus and going home with mum who came to collect their sons.
Also, the Junta is bankrupt. They can't even feed their army; people are deserting and walking home, because of no food or pay.
To save face: that wonderful US terminology again; I see it is proposed that Novorussiya become a Russian protectorate! The US is looking to stem the Junta's haemorrhaging.
All Russia needs to do, is open a humanitarian corridor into Novorussiya and maintain/police it and supply Novorussiya with what war materiel they ask for. And it can do all that with the tacit approval of Europe - the US having gone a bridge too far in Ukraine. Russia can allow the Junta to bleed to death here and like Georgia before; the US will be powerless to stop it.
The US has had it's last Tango in Europe.
Urgent appeal: Message from Slavyansk
Igor Strelkov makes an urgent appeal to the international community as western-backed Ukrainian forces slaughter Russian-speaking citizens, strafing women and children with military hardware.
Washington, Paris and London look on and continue to support the Ukrainian government. A massacre is taking place, the west is dancing with the Devil.
Urgent Appeal by Igor Strelkov, July 4, 2014
I would like to make a short statement with respect to what is happening around Slavyansk. With respect to what is happening here. And, well, to make an appeal, if you will.
Yesterday, the enemy completely surrounded Nikolayevka. The enemy shelled the city in the fiercest possible way, using all types of weapons. Using heavy MLRS systems, howitzers, mortars, tanks, APCs. The destruction is enormous. It is simply impossible to determine the numbers of casualties, because nothing works in the city now.
Our units that are in Nikolayevka at this moment continue the battle in complete encirclement. We have no communications with them.
Nikolayevka has been completely cut off from Slavyansk. At this very moment, a large enemy column of armoured vehicles is moving toward Semyonovka from the south, along the Kharkov- Rostov highway. At the same time, the enemy is continuing uninterrupted artillery shelling of the city and of Semyonovka.
Yesterday, the Nikolayevka Thermal Power Plant was destroyed to the ground and set on fire.
To put it bluntly, we are dealing here with unconcealed genocide. In other words, to break the resistance of the Militia, the enemy is using all the available types of weaponry against the civilian population.
Naturally, seeing the destruction and the death of the civilian population, militiamen are starting to lose the will to continue fighting.
I would like to say to you that, in Slavyansk, there is not one Chechen, not one mercenary. There is not a single person here who did not come of their own good will. If, before, 90% of the fighters were local, now the ratio is 95%.
Out of the entire garrison, there are maybe several dozen people who came from Russia. The majority, the overwhelming majority are citizens of Ukraine. Among them, the overwhelming majority are Donbass residents.
These are people who consciously took up arms to defend their homes, their families, their Motherland. To defend their language and their culture. To defend Russia. Because these people never separated from her. They consider themselves Russian. They want to live in Russia.
This right was taken from them a long time ago. And now, when they tried to restore this right, Russia does not want to help them reunite with their people, with their big Russian family.
It is difficult to understand and accept, that, over three months (it will soon be three months since we arrived in Slavyansk to help the local population defend their rights), that, over these three months, no real help has arrived.
I do not claim that Russia does not help. A huge stream of humanitarian cargo, equipment, uniforms, comes to us through private channels. But, that, which we desperately need, does not, at this time, arrive.
Please understand, that even if we get two tanks, four, even ten tanks, five-six artillery pieces, even if a plane flies here once, this will have no impact whatsoever. Over the course of the ceasefire, the Ukrainian army performed a full mobilization and concentration of forces.
Over sixty heavy artillery pieces are pointed a t Semyonovka and at Slavyansk at this time. At Kramatorsk. Two dozen MLRS systems, including Grad, Uragan and Smerch Heavy mortars. All of them are pointed here.
The enemy has so much ammunition - I did not see so much in Chechnya. In our time, we did not have so many shells. And the entire set of this artillery is shelling us without a stop. The supply columns are coming in continuously. They are transferring in more equipment.
Kharkov diligently repairs a dozen and a half armoured vehicles a day. We hit one or two armoured vehicles a day. No more than that. The enemy is able to grow its forces faster than it expends them. Not just faster - much faster.
If Russia is not able to secure an immediate termination of fire and the execution of a truce, or if it does not step in with its armed forces to protect us, to protect the Russian people that reside here, who are a part of the Russian nation, we will be exterminated.
We will be exterminated in the course of a week, two weeks at most. And Slavyansk will be the first to be exterminated, together with its still- numerous population. Over thirty thousand civilians are still left here.
I am being asked to take on the responsibility for their death. And for the death of the Militia brigade under my command. We are ready to fight. We are ready to die. But we do not want to die senselessly, burying beneath the ruins of the city of those people who believed in us.
Some believe that I am panicking, that I am nervous. Yes, I am nervous. Every day, my soldiers are dying. The hospitals are overflowing with wounded. It is very difficult to see children without legs, torn apart by exploding shells.
We will continue to fight. But we desperately need help.
Washington's War Crimes Spread from Africa and the Middle East to Ukraine
By Paul Craig Roberts
A person might think that revulsion in "the world community" against Washington's wanton slaughter of civilians in eight countries would have led to War Crimes Tribunal warrants issued for the arrest of presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama & many officials in their regimes. But the vocal part of "the world community"-- the West -- has become inured to Washington's crimes against humanity and doesn't bother to protest. Indeed, many of these governments are complicit in the US's crimes, and there could just as well be arrest warrants for members of European governments.
The one exception is Russia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has published a White Book on violations of human rights and the rule of law in Ukraine. Propagandized Americans think that all the violations in Ukraine are made by Russians. The White Book carefully and accurately documents reported violations that occurred in Ukraine for four months from December 2013 through March 2014.
You will not hear much or anything about it from the presstitute US media, & it's unlikely to receive much coverage in Europe. The facts are so greatly at odds with the West's position, that the White Book is a huge embarrassment to the West.
The slaughter of Ukrainians on Washington's orders by Washington's stooge government in Kiev, has worsened considerably in the past three months, producing more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing into Russia for protection from strikes against civilian housing, from the air, artillery, and tanks.
Every effort by Russia's government to involve Washington, the European Union, and Kiev in negotiations to find a peaceful settlement, has failed.
Washington is not interested in a settlement. Disturbed by its NATO vassals' dependence on Russian energy and the growing economic relationships between Russia and Europe, Washington is at work through its Kiev proxy murdering citizens in eastern and southern parts of present-day Ukraine that once were part of Russia.
Washington has declared these civilians to be "terrorists" and is trying to force Russia to intervene militarily in order to protect them.
Russia's protective intervention would then be denounced by Washington as "invasion and annexation." Washington would use this propaganda, which would blare from the Western media, to pressure Europe to support Washington's sanctions against Russia. The sanctions would then effectively destroy the existing economic relationships between Russia and Europe.
Washington hasn't had success in imposing sanctions, because, although Washington's European vassals, such as Merkel, are willing, business interests in Germany, France, and Italy stand opposed.
Washington is hoping that by forcing Russia to act, Washington can sufficiently demonize Russia and silence the European business interests with propaganda.
To counter Washington's ploy, Putin had Russia's Duma rescind his authority to send Russian forces into Ukraine. Unlike US' presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, Putin does not claim the authority to use military forces without permission from the legislature.
Washington's response to Putin's stand down is to increase the slaughter of civilians, all the while denying that any such slaughter is occurring.
Washington is determined not to acknowledge the existence of the slaughter for which it is responsible, although everyone knows that Kiev would not dare to take on Russia without Washington's backing.
Putin's bet is that European business interests will prevail over Washington's European lap dogs.
This is a hopeful and optimistic bet, but Washington is already at work to threaten and undermine the resistance of European business interests. Using concocted charges, Washington has stolen $9 billion from France's biggest bank --- for doing business with countries disapproved of by Washington.
This was Washington's warning to European business to comply with Washington's sanctions. Washington even told France that the fine would be rescinded or reduced if France broke its contract with Russia to supply 2 helicopter carriers. Other such moves against European businesses are in the works. The purpose is to intimidate European businesses from opposing sanctions against Russia.
Washington's arrogance that Washington can decide with whom a French bank can do business is astonishing. It is even more astonishing that France and the bank would accept such arrogance and infringements of France's sovereignty.
France's acceptance of Washington's hegemony shows that one risk in Putin's bet is that the bet assumes that European business interests can prevail over Washington's strategic interests.
Another risk in Putin's bet is that by standing down and tolerating Washington's slaughter of civilians, Putin is becoming complicit in Washington's crimes against humanity. The longer the slaughter goes on, the more complicit Russia's government becomes.
Moreover, the passage of time allows Kiev to increase its forces and NATO to supply these forces with more deadly weapons. A Russian intervention, which previously would have met with easy success, becomes more costly and more drawn out as Kiev's forces increase.
Washington's puppet in Kiev makes it clear --- that he is not going to accommodate any Russian interests or any opposition of the Ukraine's provinces, to the radical anti- Russian policies of Washington's stooge government.
As Washington acknowledges no responsibility whatsoever for the situation, how long can Putin wait for Merkel or Hollande to break ranks with Washington?
Putin's alternative is to come to the defense of the Ukrainians who are being attacked. Putin could accept the requests of the rebellious provinces to rejoin Russia, as he did with Crimea, declare Washington's stooge, Petro Poroshenko, to be a war criminal and issue a warrant for his arrest, and send in the Russian military to face down the forces sent by Kiev.
Outside the West, this would establish Putin as a defender of human rights. Inside the West, it would make it completely clear to Washington's European vassals that the consequence of their alignment with Washington is that they will be drawn into a war with Russia and, likely, also with China. Europeans have nothing to gain from these wars.
Sooner than later Putin needs to realize that his reasonableness is not reciprocated by Washington. Washington is taking advantage of Putin's reasonableness, and Washington is pushing Russia harder.
Putin has done what he can to avoid conflict. Now he needs to do the right thing, as he did in Georgia and Crimea.
Paul Craig Roberts
Guilt by insinuation: How American propaganda works
By Paul Craig Roberts
Why hasn't Washington joined Russian President Putin in calling for an objective, non-politicized international investigation by experts of the case of the Malaysian jetliner?
The Russian government continues to release facts, including satellite photos showing the presence of Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missiles in locations from which the airliner could have been brought down by the missile system, and documentation that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet rapidly approached the Malaysian airliner prior to its downing.
The head of the Operations Directorate of Russian military headquarters said at a Moscow press conference on July 21st, that the presence of the Ukrainian military jet is confirmed by the Rostov monitoring centre.
The Russian Defense Ministry pointed out that, at the moment of destruction of MH-17 an American satellite was flying over the area. The Russian government urges Washington to make available the photos and data captured by the satellite.
President Putin has repeatedly stressed that the investigation of MH-17, requires "a fully representative group of experts to be working at the site under the guidance of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)."
Putin's call for an independent expert examination by ICAO does not sound like a person with anything to hide.
Turning to Washington Putin stated: "In the meantime, no one (not even the "exceptional nation") has the right to use this tragedy to achieve their narrowly selfish political goals."
Putin reminded Washington: "We repeatedly called upon all conflicting sides to stop the bloodshed immediately and to sit down at the negotiating table. I can say with confidence that if military operations were not resumed [by Kiev] on June 28 in eastern Ukraine, this tragedy would not have happened."
What is the American response?
Lies and insinuations.
On July 20, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry confirmed that pro-Russian separatists were involved in the downing of the Malaysian airliner and said that itwas "pretty clear" that Russia was involved. Here are Kerry's words:
"It's pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia into the hands of separatists. We know with confidence, with confidence, that the Ukrainians did not have such a system anywhere near the vicinity at that point and time, so it obviously points a very clear finger at the separatists."
Kerry's statement is just another of the endless lies told by US secretaries of state in the 21st century. Who can forget Colin Powell's package of lies delivered to the UN about Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction" or Kerry's lie repeated endlessly that Assad "used chemical weapons against his own people" or the endless lies about "Iranian nukes"?
Remember that Kerry on a number of occasions stated that the US had proof that Assad crossed the "red line" by using chemical weapons.
However, Kerry was never able to back up his statements with evidence. The US had no evidence to give the British prime minister whose effort to have Parliament approve Britain's participation with Washington in a military attack on Syria was voted down. Parliament told the prime minister, "no evidence, no war."
Again here is Kerry declaring "confidence" in statements that are directly contradicted by the Russian satellite photos and endless eye witnesses on the ground.
Why doesn't Washington release its photos from its satellite?
The answer is for the same reason that Washington will not release all the videos it confiscated and that it claims prove that a hijacked 9/11 airliner hit the Pentagon. The videos do not support Washington's claim, and the US satellite photos do not support Kerry's claim.
The UN weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq reported that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. However, the fact did not support Washington's propaganda and was ignored. Washington started a highly destructive war, based on nothing but Washington's intentional lie.
The International Atomic Energy Commission's inspectors on the ground in Iran and all 16 US intelligence agencies reported that Iran had no nuclear weapons program. However, the fact was inconsistent with Washington's agenda and was ignored by both the US government and the presstitute media.
We are witnessing the same thing right now with the assertions, in the absence of evidence, that Russia is responsible for the downing of the Malaysian airliner.
Not every member of the US government is as reckless as Kerry and John McCain. In place of direct lies, many US officials use insinuations.
US Senator Diane Feinstein is the perfect example. Interviewed on the presstitute TV station CNN, Feinstein said: "The issue is where is Putin? I would say, 'Putin, you have to man up. You should talk to the world. You should say, if this is a mistake, which I hope it was, say it.'"
Putin has been talking to the world nonstop, calling for an expert non-politicized investigation, and Feinstein is asking Putin why he is hiding behind silence. We know you did it, Feinstein insinuates, so just tell us whether you meant to, or whether it was an accident.
The way the entire Western news cycle was orchestrated with blame instantly being placed on Russia long in advance of real information suggests that the downing of the airliner was a Washington operation. It is, of course, possible that the well-trained presstitute media needed no orchestration from Washington in order to lay the blame on Russia. On the other hand, some of the news performances seem too scripted not to have been prepared in advance.
We also have the advanced preparation of the youtube video that purports to show a Russian general and Ukrainian separatists discussing having mistakenly downed a civilian airliner.
As I pointed out earlier, this video is twice damned. It was ready in advance and, by implicating the Russian military, it overlooked that the Russian military can tell the difference between a civilian airliner and a military airplane. The existence of the video itself implies that there was a plot to down the airliner and blame Russia.
I have seen reports that the Russian anti-aircraft missile system, as a safety device, is capable of contacting aircraft transponders in order to verify the type of aircraft. If the reports are correct and if the transponders from MH-17 are found, they might record the contact.
I have seen reports that Ukrainian air control changed the route of MH-17 and directed it to fly over the conflict area. The transponders should also indicate whetherthis is correct.
If so, there clearly is at least circumstantial evidence that this was anintentional act on the part of Kiev, an act which would have required Washington's blessing.
There are other reports that there is a divergence between the Ukrainian military and the unofficial militias formed by the right-wing Ukrainian extremists who apparently were the first to attack the separatists. It is possible that Washington used the extremists to plot the airliner's destruction in order to blame Russia and use the accusations to pressure the EU to go along with Washington's unilateral sanctions against Russia. We do know that Washington is desperate to break up the growing economic and political ties between Russia and Europe.
If it was a plot to down an airliner, any safety device on the missile system could have been turned off, so as to give no warning, or leave any telltale sign. That could be the reason a Ukrainian fighter was sent to inspect the airliner. Possibly the real target was Putin's airliner and incompetence in implementing the plot resulted in the destruction of a civilian airliner.
As there are a number of possible explanations, let's keep open minds and resist Washington's propaganda until facts and evidence are in.
At the very least, Washington is guilty of using the incident to blame Russia in advance of the evidence. All Washington has shown us so far is accusations and insinuations. If that is all Washington continues to show us, we will know where the blame resides.
In the meantime, remember the story of the boy who cried "wolf!" He lied so many times that when the wolf did come, no one believed him. Will this be Washington's ultimate fate?
Instead of declaring war on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, and Syria, why did Washington hide behind lies? If Washington wants war with Iran, Russia, and China, why not simply declare war?
The reason that the US Constitution requires war to begin with a declaration of war by Congress is to prevent the executive branch from orchestrating wars, in order to further hidden agendas.
By abdicating its constitutional responsibility, the US Congress is complicit in the executive branch's war crimes. By approving Israel's premeditated murder of Palestinians, the US government is complicit in Israel's war crimes.
Ask yourself this question: Would the world be a safer place, with less death, destruction and displaced peoples, and more truth and justice, if the United States and Israel did not exist?
Paul Craig Roberts
Does Russia have a future? By Paul Craig Roberts
The Russian government has finally realized that it has no Western “partners,” and is complaining bitterly about the propagandistic lies and disinformation issued without any evidence whatsoever against the Russian government by Washington, its European vassals, and press-titute media.
Perhaps the Russian government thought that only Iraq, Libya, Syria, China, and Edward Snowden would be subjected to Washington’s lies and demonization.
It was obvious enough that Russia would be next.
The Russian government and Europe need to look beyond Washington’s propaganda, because the reality is much worse.
NATO commander General Breedlove and Senate bill 2277 clearly indicate that Washington is organizing itself and Europe for war on Russia.
Europe is reluctant to agree with Washington to put Ukraine in NATO. Europeans understand that if Washington or its stooges in Kiev cause a war with Russia, Europe will be the first casualty.
Washington finds its vassals’ noncompliance tiresome. Remember Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s “fuck the EU.” And that is just what Washington is about to do.
The US Senate’s Russian Aggression Prevention Act, about which I reported in my previous column, does even more mischief than I reported. If the bill passes, which it likely will, Washington becomes empowered to bypass NATO and to grant the status of “allied nation” to Ukraine independently of NATO membership. By so doing, Washington can send troops to Ukraine and thereby commit NATO to a war with Russia.
Notice how quickly Washington escalated the orchestrated Ukrainian “crisis” - without any evidence - into “Russian aggression.” Overnight we have the NATO commander and US senators taking actions against “Russian aggression”, of which no one has seen any evidence.
With Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Washington learned that Washington could act on the basis of bald- faced lies. No one, not Great Britain, not France, not Germany, not Italy, not the Netherlands, not Canada, not Australia, not Mexico, not New Zealand, not Israel, nor Japan, nor S. Korea, nor Taiwan, nor (substitute your selection) stepped forward to hold the US accountable for its blatant lies and war crimes.
The UN even accepted the package of blatant and obviously transparent lies that Colin Powell delivered to the UN. Everything Powell said had already been refuted by the UN’s own weapons inspectors. Yet the UN pussies gave the go-ahead for a devastating war.
The only conclusion is that all the whores were paid off. Whores can always count on Washington paying them off. For money, the whores are selling out civilization to Washington’s war, which likely will be nuclear and terminate life on earth. The whores’ money will incinerate with them.
It is hardly surprising that Washington now targets Russia. The world has given Washington carte blanche to do as it pleases. We have now had three administrations of US war criminals welcomed and honored wherever the war criminals go. The other governments in the world continue to desire invitations to the White House as indications of their worth. To be received by war criminals has become the highest honor.
Even the president of China comes to Washington to receive acceptance by the Evil Empire.
The world did not notice Washington’s war crimes against Serbia and didn’t puke when Washington then put the Serbian president, who had tried to prevent his country from being torn apart by Washington, on trial as a war criminal.
The world has made no effort to hold Washington responsible for its destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria and Gaza. The world has not demanded that Washington stop murdering people in Pakistan and Yemen, countries with which Washington is not at war. The world looks the other way as Washington creates the US Africa Command. The world looks the other way as Washington sends deadly weapons to Israel, with which to murder women and children in the Gaza Ghetto. Washington passes Senate and House Resolutions cheering on the Israeli murder of Palestinians.
Washington is accustomed to its free pass, granted by the world, to murder and to lie, and now is using it against Russia.
Russian President Putin’s bet that by responding to Washington’s aggression in Ukraine in an unprovocative and reasonable manner, would demonstrate to Europe that Russia was not the source of the problem --- has not paid off.
European countries are captive nations. They are incapable of thinking and acting for themselves. They bend to Washington’s will. Essentially, Europe is a nonentity that follows Washington’s orders.
If the Russian government hopes to prevent war with Washington, which is likely to be the final war for life on earth, the Russian government needs to act now and end the problem in Ukraine by accepting the separatist provinces’ request to be reunited with Russia. Once S.2277 passes, Russia cannot retrieve the situation without confronting militarily the US, because Ukraine will have been declared an American ally.
Putin’s bet was reasonable and responsible, but Europe has failed him. If Putin does not use Russian power to bring an end to the p roblem with which Washington has presented him in Ukraine while he still can, Washington’s next step will be to unleash its hundreds of NGOs inside Russia to denounce Putin as a traitor for abandoning the Russian populations in the former Russian provinces that Soviet leaders thoughtlessly attached to Ukraine.
The problem with being a leader is that you inherit festering problems left by previous leaders. Putin has the problems bequeathed by Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a disaster for Russia. Yeltsin was Washington’s puppet. It is not certain that Russia will survive Yeltsin’s mistakes.
If Washington has its way, Russia will survive only as an American puppet state.
In a previous column I described the article in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Washington foreign policy community, that makes a case that the US has such strategic advantage over Russia at this time that a “window of opportunity” exists for the US to remove Russia as a restraint on US hegemony --- with a preemptive nuclear attack.
It is almost certain that Obama is being told that President John F. Kennedy had this window of opportunity and did not use it, and that Obama must not let the opportunity pass a second time.
As Steven Starr explained in a guest column, there are no winners of nuclear war. Even if the US escapes retaliatory strikes, everyone will die, regardless.
The view in Washington of the neoconservatives, who control the Obama regime, is that nuclear war is winnable. No expert opinion supports their assumption, but the neocons, not the experts, are in power.
The American people are out to lunch. They have no comprehension of their likely fate. Americans are an uninformed people distracted by their mounting personal and financial problems. If Europeans are aware, they have decided to live for the moment, on Washington’s money.
What life is faced with is a drive for hegemony on the part of Washington and ignorant unconcern on the part of the rest of the world.
Americans, worked into a lather about Washington’s unfunded liabilities and the viability of their future Social Security pension, won’t be alive to collect it.
World doomed by Western insouciance By Paul Craig Roberts
European governments and the Western media have put the world at risk by enabling the US’s propaganda and aggression against Russia.
Washington has succeeded in using transparent lies to demonize Russia as a dangerous aggressive country led by a new Hitler or a new Stalin, just as Washington sought to vilify Assad in Syria, Chavez in Venezuela, and, of course, Iran.
The real demons – Clinton, Bush, Obama – are “the exceptional and indispensable people” above the reach of demonization. Their horrific real crimes go unnoticed, while fictitious crimes are attributed to other people and countries.
The reason that Washington demonizes a leader and a country is to permit the creation of circumstances that Washington can use to act with force against a leader and a country.
Washington’s incessant lies alleging “Russian aggression” have created Russian aggression out of thin air. John Kerry and the State Department’s Marie Harf issue new lies daily, but never any supporting evidence. With the stage set, the US Senate, the NATO commander and the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff are busy at work energizing the wheels of war.
Senate bill 2277 provides for beefing up forces on Russia’s borders and for elevating Ukraine’s status to “ally of the US” so that US troops can assist the war against “terrorists” in Ukraine.
NATO commander Breedlove is preparing his plans for stockpiling war material on Russia’s borders so that US/NATO troops can more quickly strike Russia.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, is at work preparing American opinion for the upcoming war.
On July 24, Dempsey told Aspen Security Forum, a high level group where US opinion is formed, that Putin’s aggression in Ukraine is comparable to Stalin’s invasion of Poland in 1939 and that the Russian threat was not limited to Ukraine or Eastern Europe, but was global.
The intellects in the Aspen Forum did not break out laughing, when Dempsey told them that Russia’s (alleged but unproven) involvement in Ukraine was the first time since 1939 that a country made a conscious decision to use its military force inside another sovereign nation to achieve its objectives.
No one asked Dempsey what Washington has been doing during the last three presidential regimes: Clinton in Serbia, Bush and Obama in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen, Obama in Libya and Syria.
Here are Dempsey’s words: “You’ve got a Russian government that has made a conscious decision to use its military force inside another sovereign nation to achieve its objectives. It’s the first time since 1939 or so that that’s been the case. They clearly are on a path to assert themselves differently not just in Eastern Europe, but Europe in the main, and towards the United States.”
Washington’s view that the world is its oyster is so ingrained that neither Dempsey nor his upper echelon audience at the Aspen Forum noticed the absurdity of his statement. Washington and the brainwashed US population take if for granted that the “exceptional, indispensable nation” isn't limited in its actions by the sovereignty of other countries.
Washington takes for granted that US law prevails in other countries over the countries’ own laws – just ask France or Switzerland, that Washington can tell foreign financial institutions and corporations with whom they can do business and with whom they cannot – just ask every country and company prevented from doing business with Iran, that Washington can invade any country whose leader Washington can demonize & overthrow – just ask Iraq, Honduras, Libya, Serbia, and so forth, and that Washington can conduct military operations against peoples in foreign countries, such as Pakistan and Yemen, with which Washington is not at war.
All of this is possible, because Washington has claimed the title from Israel of being “God’s Chosen People.” Of course, Israel’s loss of the title has not stopped Israel from acting in the same way.
Washington has put in motion the wheels of war. Once the wheels of war begin to turn, momentum carries them forward. The foolish, indeed utterly stupid, governments and media in Europe seem unaware of Washington’s orchestration of their future or lack thereof, or they are indifferent to it.
They are dooming themselves and all of humanity by their insouciance.
Readers who cannot tolerate problems without solutions always request solutions. OK, here is the solution:
The only possibility of avoiding war is that Putin take his case to the UN. If Washington can send Colin Powell to the UN unarmed with any truth to make Washington’s case for war against Iraq, Putin should be able to take his case to the UN against Washington’s war against Russia.
The case that the emperor has no clothes is an easy one to make.
Unlike Washington, Putin is willing to share the evidence that Russia has about who is doing what in Ukraine. It is a simple matter to establish that Washington organized a coup that overthrew an elected government, supports violence against those who object to the coup, and has turned a deaf ear to Russia’s repeated pleas for Kiev and the separatists to negotiate their differences.
Putin should make it clear to the world that Washington continues with provocative military steps against Russia, with force buildups on Russia’s borders and calls for more buildups, with S.2277 which reads like a US preparation for war, with provocative actions & accusations by top US generals and government officials against Russia, and with efforts to isolate Russia and to inflict economic and political injury on Russia.
Putin should make it clear to the world that there is a limit to provocations that Russia can accept and that Russia believes that Russia is in danger of a preemptive nuclear attack by Washington.
Putin can describe Washington’s withdrawal from the ABM treaty, the construction of ABM bases on Russia’s borders, and the announced change in Washington’s war doctrine that elevates US nuclear forces from a retaliatory role to a preemptive first strike role. These actions are clearly directed at Russia (and China–wake up China! You are next!).
Putin must state clearly that the likely consequence of the world continuing to enable Washington’s lies & aggression will be not merely another disastrous war, but the termination of life.
The governments of the world, especially Washington’s vassals in Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan, need to be told that it is their responsibility to stop their enabling of Washington’s aggression or to accept their responsibility for World War III.
At least we could all have the enjoyment of watching the arrogant Samantha Powers and the craven British lapdog rise and walk out of the UN proceedings. There is no doubt what- soever that Washington is unable to answer the charges.
Here again is the Wolfowitz Doctrine that controls US foreign policy and that condemns Planet Earth to death:
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that posses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union.
“This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”
A hostile power is defined as any country that is not a Washington vassal.
The Wolfowitz Doctrine commits the United States, its peoples, Washington’s gullible EU allies and those peoples, to war with Russia and China.
The destruction of the world is what the idiot EU governments and the presstitute Western media are fostering by their enablement of Washington’s lies and aggression.
WHY RUSSIA REFUSES WAR
Two thirds of Russians say in the latest poll that they are against sending troops to Ukraine, despite the latest US' moves.
WHY EU LEADERS ARE FOLLOWING US SANCTIONS TO HURT RUSSIA
The European Union is expanding anti-Russian sanctions against its own interests under tough pressure from the US in favour of the American military-industrial complex, say experts.
“This week, the EU is to expand and toughen anti-Russian measures. This is obviously an operation staged by Washington that is using the Malaysian airliner downed in Ukraine with most of its passengers being Europeans, as an excuse to defeat Russia,” says the director of the strategic analysis & developments dept, at the sanctioned Vnesheconombank, Vladimir Andrianov.
“The unprecedented propaganda campaign on Russia has turned the Old World's public against Russia, to such an extent that its politicians are afraid of looking indecisive and losing voters' support, to blindly take their cue from the US”
“The EU has no chance to withstand US pressure over anti-Russian measures,” the expert explains: “Washington overtly interferes with Russian-EU gas supply talks & blackmails France over its contract on helicopter carrier Mistral supplies to Russia.
“The US is flagrantly pursuing its own policy in Europe and is appointing its own people to key posts in the EU.”
“EU countries have a deficit of strong leaders now, and European governments are weak. Meanwhile, the EU's bureaucratic machine is proving to be incompetent on issues of global politics and economics and totally dependent on the US will,” Andrianov says.
“The fact that even German Chancellor Angela Merkel suddenly switched tactics after several months of a moderate approach shows the EU leaders’ dependence on the US.
“Washington keeps files on all prominent politicians. It certainly has blackmail evidence against Merkel. It’s no coincidence that her cellphone was bugged by US special services. For this reason, the German chancellor yielded to pressure from Washington.”
“All US foreign policy starting from Vietnam, has been tailored to its military's needs. Amid global competition, the US - as the world’s gendarme - cannot bear the thought that Russia remains the only major geopolitical opponent which it can't control,” the expert says.
Washington aims to arm the Ukrainian army with modern weapons and equipment, and pull Russia into a confrontation with Ukraine, Mr Andrianov believes.
“For this purpose, the US Congress plans to recognise Ukraine as a major non-NATO ally and provide it with direct military aid.
“The S.2277 - Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014 - has passed two readings in the US. These moves are clearly designed to serve the interests of the US military-industrial complex in order to kindle the fire in Europe and line US pockets on weapon supplies to the crisis zone,” Andrianov says.
“The scenario of pulling Russia into armed conflict with Ukraine is so dangerous that it's unacceptable,” the dean of the Higher School of Economics Faculty for World Economy and International Affairs, Sergey Karaganov says.
“But the EU sanctions already announced, and those on the table, mean that the large-scale US's anti-Russian campaign, caused by the Boeing's downing in Ukraine, is bearing fruit.”
“US pressure for the EU to adopt anti-Russian sanctions aims at splitting Europe, weakening Germany and inflicting as much grave damage as possible on Russia, to deprive the country of its power in the world,” the expert says.
“Europe is blindly obeying the US by imposing anti-Russian sanctions, because EU welfare directly relies on the US in financial terms, the Deputy Director of Russia's Academy of Sciences Institute for the USA and Canadian Studies, Major General Pavel Zolotarev says.
“In terms of its security policy, the EU is peace- ful under the US umbrella. Washington bears the lion’s share of NATO spending, enabling the EU countries to reduce defense spending to 2% of their gross domestic product.”
“EU countries lay out 6-7 times more for education and healthcare than defense,” the analyst adds.
“Russia cannot afford such a budget distribution, while EU countries can, thanks to the US. Hence their obedience to Washington.”
The video above shows a mob of about 50 men in Kiev, attacking one of the few news outlets left which Kiev does not control. A legal case has dragged on for months, threatening its closure.
The US and UK say that the US-backed Kiev coup, is a "people's revolution"...
we say it's fascism.
LATEST NEWS ON THURSDAY
CUBA/US DIPLOMATIC TIES RESTORED
Cuban leader Raul Castro says in a televised speech on Wednesday, that Cuba and the United States have agreed "to restore" ties, ending 50 years of frosty bilateral relations.
Pope Francis unexpected hero of US-Cuba relations breakthrough
Pope Francis has congratulated both the US and Cuba on restoring relations. The Vatican and Canada both played a significant role in the talks, which broke 50 years of cold war- style sanctions imposed on the independent island.
President Obama comments that "sanctions did not work".
At this point, it is hard to predict how soon the US Congress may lift the trading and economic embargo from Cuba, but the first steps towards cancelling visas are being taken already,” the international research director at the Institute of Modern Development, Sergey Kulik, states.
“It's very unlikely that the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States & Cuba was prompted only by the awareness that sanctions are ineffective, contrary to what Obama said.
“Washington never makes decisions on the basis of just one reason, and always, on several ones, first and foremost, geopolitical — for the sake of tightening its grip on the world,” the analyst says.
Yemen Shia fighters take full control of strategic port city
Yemen’s Shia Houthi movement’s Ansarullah fighters have taken full control of the Yemen’s second-largest port city of Hudaydah, on the Red Sea.
According to reports, the Ansarullah fighters managed to gain full control of the strategic port of Hudaydah on Wednesday (17th Dec), which they had entered earlier, in October.
The Yemeni army soldiers in Hudaydah gave no resistance, as the Shia fighters tightened their grip on the strategic port.
The Ansarullah revolutionaries also captured several government offices, including the state-owned SAFER oil and gas company, in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on Wednesday.
Ansarullah’s gains now pose a serious challenge to the authority of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has for long destabilized the impoverished Arab country.
In the past months, al-Qaeda militants have frequently attacked Yemen’s security forces and been locked in deadly battles with Shia Ansarullah fighters.
Yemen’s central government has so far failed to confront the terrorist threats. Ansarullah fighters, however, have intervened to fill the vacuum and driven al-Qaeda militants out of many areas in the country.
The Shia revolutionaries also played a major role in ousting Yemen’s former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in 2012.
Syrian Opposition Parties Reject Foreign Intervention
Various Syrian opposition parties call for an end to economic sanctions against Syria and a stop to the flow of radicals and mercenaries to their country, local television channels broadcast.
During a meeting with Ramzy Ezzedine Ramzy, the deputy of the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan De Mistura, and the secretary general of the National Development Party, Inas al Hammal, he said that those conditions are needed to promote inter-Syrian talks.
For his part, Parwen Ibrahim, leader of the National Youth for Justice and Development Party, urged the United Nations to condemn the constant Israeli violations of Syrian sovereignty.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Nawaf Abdul Aziz Trad Al Milhim, from the People's Party, highlighted the importance of dialogue, and the UN's proposals for ending combat in Aleppo city.
During a meeting with de Mistura last month, president Bashar al Assad promised to study the initiative and highlighted the importance of Aleppo, considered to be Syria's economic heart, before the conflict.
A Syrian political opposition party says plans for "frozen zones" in Aleppo must be coupled with a political solution and expand to cover other Syrian cities.
"The plan put forward by the UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura, must be coupled with a political solution and expanded to cover the areas in southern and central Syria," says Safwan Akkasheh, a leading member of the opposition 'National Coordination Body' (NCB).
He says his group met earlier in the day with Ramzi Ezz el-Deen, deputy of de Mistura, who flew in last Saturday for a meeting with Syrian officials and opposition forces to discuss de Mistura's plans.
The special envoy has proposed a plan to freeze battles between government troops and "rebels" in Aleppo, as a prelude to a broader pacification across the war-torn country.
The Syrian government says the plan is "worth studying" but government officials say that they are waiting for more details about the plan from Mistura, who's gathering regional & international support for his plan, which is basically still a series of ideas.
Meanwhile, Akkasheh says the NCB discussed Mistura's plan in detail, adding that his group, the largest domestically-based opposition group, backs any step that might alleviate the suffering and end the destruction.
The opposition figure, though, expresses concern that the plan, if kept limited to Aleppo, could push the key Syrian province which borders Turkey, to become an autonomous area.
He stresses that this idea is of great concern to a majority of all the political forces in Syria.
Akkasheh says his group also agrees on the presence of international observers to monitor Aleppo's "frozen battles" --- if the cessation of violence is ever accepted by the warring sides.
Syrian troops have recently been racing against time to consolidate their positions in Aleppo and further tighten the siege on various rebel and extremist groups in rebel-held areas in Aleppo, while the plan is being discussed.
Local media and activists say Syrian troops are advancing on the northeastern part of Aleppo and inching closer to laying siege to the rebel- held areas, cutting their key supply lines from neighboring Turkey.
Russia Is Concerned about Western Lethal Aid to Ukraine
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov states Russia''s concern about the possible supply of weapons to Ukraine by the West, and calls on those countries to foster political dialogue in Ukraine.
"I know that over the past few weeks, the debate on the so-called supplies of "lethal weapons" to Kiev has intensified in a worrying way, he says, adding that NATO planes have already sent the weapons to Ukraine secretly.
The deputy minister points out that if the West is interested in solving the Ukrainian crisis, it should promote the start of inclusive dialogue among all parties politically involved, and the adoption of constitutional reform, the First channel of Russian television reports.
Victoria Kushnir, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, confirms that, thanks to the West's assistance, despite the crisis that keeps the country on the verge of bankruptcy, the Armed Forces continue receiving new and better military technology.
Israel suffers series of diplomatic setbacks in Europe
An EU court orders the removal of Hamas from the list of terror groups and the European Parliament has voted to recognise a Palestinian state.
Ban Ki Moon Calls to Strengthen Cooperation with Africa
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon calls for a strengthening of United Nations links with Africa & the mechanisms for integrating that continent -- to foster peace and stability.
"The problems in Africa are the problems of everyone there and there is a possibility to solve the problems, only if all parts of the international community work as one, Ban Ki Moon said, at a forum centred on the links with the African Union.
The diplomat said that there are examples of the usefulness of joint work with African organizations to prevent conflicts or try to solve them, but there is still a lot to do, to strengthen such an alliance.
Burkina Faso, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Central African Republic and the Great Lakes region, show the importance of cooperation in facing the crisis, he added.
Ban Ki Moon said there are many challenges to move forward in the search for peace and stability, and create key scenarios for socio- economic development.
"We should foster political links with the African Union, fix them into a clear strategy, foster the peace joint operations and promote a search for greater access to financial resources in the region," he concluded.
Russia Ends Military Drills in Kaliningrad Successfully
Lt General Andrei Kartapolov,spokesperson for the General Staff of the Armed Forces, confirms the successful conclusion of the largest military drill carried out in Russia''s westernmost region, Kaliningrad.
According to the military spokesperson, 9,000 soldiers, 250 tanks and other armored vehicles, 100 pieces of artillery and multiple rocket launchers, 55 boats and 41 planes participated in the maneuvers.
Kartapolov underlines that the operations, which took place from December 5 - 10, involved all kinds of troops, including units equipped with Iskander- M tactical missile systems, artillery, mechanized infantry, airborne troops and navy infantry.
The crews of fighters and transport helicopters, plus Baltic Sea Fleet troops, demonstrated their capabilities during the drills, states the source.
Particularly, the pilots and antiaircraft defense systems simulated the protection of key military and state objectives, as well as air support for other kinds of troops and the neutralization of ground targets of allegedly hostile groups.
The lieutenant general notes the participation of intelligence, communications and logistics experts in the maneuvers. The spokesperson assures that all forces that participated in the military drills have returned to their permanent garrisons and routine missions.
The presence of Iskander missiles in these operations grants a special importance to the maneuvers, as they can destroy targets within a radius of up to 500 kilometers and can carry several warheads, including nuclear warheads.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warns that the deployment of this kind of missile in Kaliningrad is Russia's response to the Antimissile Defense (AMD) deployed by the United States in Europe.
Putin has repeatedly stated that the AMD is a threat against Russia and forces the country to react.
ISIL executes 150 Iraqi women for not marrying militants
The ISIL terrorist group has executed 150 women in the Western Iraqi province of Anbar for refusing to marry Takfiri militants.
"At least 150 females, including pregnant women, were executed in Fallujah… after they refused to accept jihad marriage," reads a statement issued by Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights.
"Many families were also forced to migrate from the province’s northern town of al-Wafa, after hundreds of residents received death threats," the statement adds.
According to the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights, many children lost their lives after their families took refuge in deserts, in an attempt to escape from Takfiri terrorists.
The issue of the so-called Jihad al-Nikah (sexual jihad) was first brought up last September when it was revealed that a number of Sunni girls had travelled to Syria to marry Takfiri militants. This is while the real Islam in no way approves of the so-called Jihad al-Nikah.
Anbar province, which borders conflict-ravaged Syria, has been a major stronghold of the ISIL Takfiri militants and continues to be largely controlled by the terror group.
The ISIL terrorists control large areas across northern and western Iraq, as well as in eastern Syria.
The Takfiri militants have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations, against Iraqi communities, such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds & Christians.
Five Million People Affected by Crisis in Ukraine, Says UN
More than five million people in the Ukrainian southeastern region are facing difficulties, as a result of the internal conflict, in which violations of human rights still continue, the United Nations warns today.
In its 8th report on the crisis in the country, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says the arrival of the winter season increases the risks of hardship to the population.
The report, by a group of experts deployed on the spot for months, says at least 4,000 Ukrainians have died and 10,332 wounded, since the middle of April, during hostilities that have Donetsk and Lugansk, in the region of Donbass, as the epi-centre.
The document, which covers all November, says over 1,300 people have died, despite the ceasefire agreed in September in Minsk, Belarus, between the Government in Kiev and the pro-Russia activists who declared the independence of those territories.
The office accuses the sides of committing human rights violations, starting with the indiscriminate attack against densely populated areas and the kidnapping of people by armed groups and the Ukrainian Security Service.
It also regrets and criticizes the lack of progress in investigations into violations of human rights committed during protests in the Maidan, the violence on May 2nd in Odessa, and other cases.
The authorities in Moscow repeatedly criticize UN reports on human rights in Ukraine, for its bias in favour of the anti-Russian sectors.
US Government Insists on Studying New Sanctions Against Russia
A top US official says today the President Barack Obama is still considering signing legislation which imposes more sanctions on Russia and would authorize sending "resources" to Ukraine.
The source - quoted by the daily The Hill - considers as important that the sanctions regime reaches a "delicate balance" that keeps a united front with allies & partners, optimizes costs on Russia and minimizes the impact on US businesses, international oil markets and the world economy.
He adds that the present target is to maintain that focus.
According to The Hill, Obama is under pressure from the Capitol, where this Monday, President of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, vows that the aforementioned legislation will be approved immediately..
New legislation will penalize Russian weapon exports and oil imports, and also send Ukraine more "defensive weapons and non-lethal aid".
The US media seems to believe that Obama will keep to the same pace as his European allies, even if Congress pursues a more radical stand.
Since the beginning of this year, since the political conflict in Ukraine exploded, it has become a crisis between Russia and many western countries, especially the US.
Russia's authorities denounce those nations for using Ukraine as a spearhead against their country, in particular through the approach of NATO forces right up to Russia's borders.
For its part, the US and the European Union accuse Russia of supporting the independent movement of the Donbass, with its epicentre in the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk, and in consequence, they have imposed several economic sanction.
According to the report of a group of experts displayed on the ground months ago, hostilities on Ukrainian soil have left at least 4,707 Ukrainian dead and 10,332 wounded, since mid April.
Nigerian army denounces US officers over soldiers’ mutiny
The Nigerian army says not only has the US done nothing to help, but has made matters worse with its training of the soldiers who recently committed acts of mutiny.
“Our investigations show that some of the soldiers who were involved in the mutiny received training in the US,” a senior Nigerian official told Nigerian daily Punch, adding that the soldiers’ mutiny in the fight against Boko Haram Takfiri militants in recent months was due to the "negative training" they received from US trainers.
The official also said, “Another thing Nigerians should note is that since the Americans came here purportedly to help get the Chibok girls, yet they have not done anything. What have they done with all their technology and might? Is it not suspicious?”
The official also stressed that it might not be easy to tell Americans to leave Nigeria as “they are a super power.”
In response, the US Embassy in the Nigerian capital Abuja announced it hadn't received any request from the Nigerian government to withdraw its forces from the country.
The forces were allegedly brought into the country to assist with the rescue of the abducted girls.
On April 14, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 students from a secondary school in the northeastern town of Chibok, triggering worldwide outrage. Reports say 57 of the girls managed to escape, but 219 are still missing.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly shooting and bombing attacks in various parts of Nigeria which have left 10,000+ people dead, so far.
Syrian Army Closes Siege around Aleppo Syrian Armed Forces closed the siege around the city of Aleppo, on Sunday.
The Army's progress at Al Jandoul roundabout threatens the rebel bastions in Al Qweeka and Hanano.
As part of its offensive, the Syrian Army took control over the Al Bureij quarry and a timber factory in the industrial district.
Meanwhile, the al-Nusra Front, the armed branch of Al Qaeda in Syria, resumed its attacks on the towns of Nubl and Zahra, about 20 kilometers northwest of Aleppo, although the assault was rejected.
Both villages have been besieged by the radicals, for more than two years.
Since 2012, the rebels have controlled eastern Aleppo, which was Syria's economic heart, before the war.
Over the past few months, the Army has taken control over several strategic areas of the city amid violent confrontations.
As a consequence, the corridor that serves as a way for the Islamic groups to get provisions from the north, is getting narrower.
Ukraine closes 3 major airports ‘for security reasons’
Three major airports in Ukraine - Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye - have been closed indefinitely, Ukraine’s State Air Traffic Service says on Monday.
Flights are banned “for security reasons,” TASS reports, citing the statement. The service’s chief, Denis Antonyuk, earlier said the airports would be closed until Tuesday morning.
Netanyahu vows to fight Palestinian UN bid
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows to “fend off any attempts to dictate unilateral moves,” referring to a Palestinian UN proposal that sets a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, Haaretz daily says.
The Palestinian leadership on Sunday, said it plans to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council setting a two-year deadline for Israel to end its occupation, AFP reports.
A draft UN resolution will be presented on Wednesday, to end the Israeli occupation by late 2016, senior Palestine Liberation Organization member Wassel Yussef says.
ICC to examine UK troop abuses during Iraq invasion
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is reportedly expected to look into hundreds of new cases accusing British soldiers of abusing Iraqi civilians from 2003 to 2008.
The Hague-based court will review cases which detail torture techniques such as rape, sexual assaults, electrocution, sleep deprivation, beating and hooding used by UK forces in, Iraq during interrogations in the period, the Independent reports today.
The cases, presented by lawyers and human right activists, accuse UK troops of abusing Iraqi children, women & men aged between 13 and 101.
In one of the cases, an Iraqi policeman died after British soldiers “forced his head into a bucket of cold water a number of times. He stopped breathing and died. His wife and children witnessed the soldiers killing him.”
The Independent report comes ahead of the publication of an official report into allegations that British forces mistreated and unlawfully killed Iraqis back in 2004.
The report, to be released on Wednesday, is likely to fuel more anger against the UK government, which reportedly was aware of the CIA's torture techniques at the time.
Earlier this week, Angus Robertson MP, the defense spokesperson for the Scottish National Party (SNP), called for an immediate publication of the findings of the long-awaited Chilcot inquiry into the UK’s role in the Iraq war.
UK forces participated in the US-led invasion of Iraq in a blatant violation of international law in 2003 under the pretext that the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were ever discovered in Iraq.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the SNP lawmaker further accused the UK government of failing to act urgently “despite the appalling findings of the US Senate report about the inhumane treatment of detainees.”
On December 9, the US Senate Intelligence Committee released a truncated report on the CIA’s so-called Terror War, which detailed torture techniques it used during the term of former US President George W. Bush.
Ninth Humanitarian Convoy Returns to Russia from Donbass
The ninth convoy of humanitarian assistance to the population of the Donbass regions has now returned to Russia, after delivering over 1,000 tons of food and basic necessities.
130 Ministry of Emergency Situations lorries crossed the border today to Russian territory across Rostov province, says Rossia 24 TV.
The humanitarian aid, the 9th since mid-August, was food, basic staples, building materials for the recovery of the infrastructure destroyed by bombing, and devices for mobile power plants.
Over 50 vehicles moved the load to Donetsk, to alleviate the food shortage in the region, say representatives of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk in charge of distributing the reconstruction and social aid to the population... with Russia's help.
Another 80 lorries took the aid to inhabitants of the neighboring region of Lugansk, also in a very serious humanitarian situation, due to an economic, financial & energy embargo imposed by the Kiev coup authorities and the consequences of the bombing on cities.
Civil defense sources say another convoy could arrive by the year's end, to the south Ukrainian territories, which have received over 10,700 tons of humanitarian aid so far.
Meanwhile, various Russian regions are sheltering 2,600,000 Ukrainian refugees, according to statistics from November, issued by the Federal Migration Service.
Syrian Army Beats Off New IS Attack on Military Airport
After fierce fighting, the Syrian army has beaten off a new attack by armed elements of the Islamic State (IS) on Deir Ezzor military airport in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, military sources report today.
Members of the terrorist organization tried to infiltrate the Al-Jafra Quarter in order to get closer to the base in Deir Ezzor town, but they were defeated and retreated with heavy losses, says a spokesperson quoted by Masdar News agency.
"IS has been controlling this neighborhood for 11 days now. But, it has been unable to move forward, the spokesperson states.
Meanwhile, the 104th airborne brigade has launched a counteroffensive to counter IS attacks in the nearby Al-Mariiyyah Quarters with the support of units of 137th brigade, and militias.
The armed forces have recovered several blocks of buildings in the area.
After the operation, military units control 70% of Al-Mariiyyah, while the IS keeps control of its southeastern perimeter.
Patients ‘dying of hunger & cold’: WHO raises alarm over healthcare in Ukraine
A lack of doctors and medicines in the east Ukraine conflict zone, is putting lives at risk, says a new World Health Organization report, which describes the situation on the ground as “not just a humanitarian crisis.”
“No child has been vaccinated in the areas affected by conflict since September 2014, sending polio vaccine coverage down to less than 30-40%,” the WHO report reads.
Fears of Ukraine becoming increasingly vulnerable to preventable diseases are becoming ever more real.
The report comes up with more “daunting” statistics in the section titled “Not just a humanitarian crisis,” where it talks about the first casualties of the botched health- care system.
“About 40 patients in a mental health institution have reportedly died from hunger, cold and lack of care,” it says.
The WHO argues that 60 villages situated between the front lines of Kiev's troops and the rebels, have been left with no medical personnel at all.
It also estimates that Lugansk city has only a third of the doctors and nurses who used to work there.
“Universal health care exists only on paper,” says Dorit Nitzan, the WHO representative for Ukraine. “People have to pay for a large amount of health services, buy their own medicines and there are no set prices for these essentials.”
The WHO is trying to assist with mobile emergency units made up of one doctor, two nurses and a logistician.
The units deal primarily with internally displaced people, assess their health and try to refer them to any medical services that still exist.
The Russian charity, Fair Aid, run by a famous Russian philanthropist, Elizaveta Glinka - better known as just Doctor Liza – has been regularly transporting children with serious health problems, to medical institutions in Moscow.
She has already helped 36 children from Donetsk get treatment in the Russian capital. And she was accompanying another group of 13 children - 4 of them born this year, and others aged from 4 to 12 years – on Wednesday.
“All the children I bring to Moscow are seriously ill - some of them have epilepsy with frequent seizures, some have congenital heart disorders,” Glinka tells RT’s Roman Kosarev, as the bus is about to set off from Donetsk.
Ivan Kravchenko, father of 3-year-old Ilya, who has heart disease, says Fair Aid was their last hope.
“Surgeons are nowhere to be found – they’ve all left,” says Ivan. “The fund found out about us and offered assistance...” Everything, from the trip to Moscow to the surgery itself, will be free of charge for Ilya.
The main challenge is safely passing the Ukraine part of the road from Donetsk to Konstantinovka on the border with Russia.
“There are checkpoints and the road is completely ruined by tanks,” Elizaveta Glinka says. “We'll have to hold our children tight - as you can see, we don't have the prams we need - so we just have to draw them close to us and hold them with our hands.”
‘Die-in’ for Eric Garner: Hundreds shut down mall, block streets in London protest
76 protesters were arrested after a large crowd stormed a London mall, blockaded roads, and shouted slogans against police brutality and a Staten Island grand jury’s ruling not to indict a police officer for Eric Garner's death.
Protests under the “We Can’t Breathe” slogan began near Westfield Shopping Centre in London.
Activists came out to support a recent wave of demonstrations in the US against the killing of African-American Eric Garner by white New York Police Officer, Daniel Pantaleo.
As the protest heated up, people occupied and shut down the shopping centre. The crowd was very lively, shouting slogans, jumping, and waving banners.
After staging a “die-in” by lying on the floor, protesters walked out of the mall with their hands in the air, imitating surrendering to the police.
Activists then walked onto the streets and blockaded a main road in London. Some surrounded and stopped a bus.
The bus driver eventually stopped trying to make his way through the crowd and posed for pictures with the activists.
Protesters repeatedly shouted: “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
After the action, London police surrounded dozens of protesters and announced they would be arrested for “violent disorder.”
“We came out tonight to protest in solidarity with those in America, who are protesting against police brutality, the unlawful killing of Eric Garner...and the unlawful killing of so many black people both in America & in the UK,” one protester, Joanna, said to RT. “We are here to say that it has to stop.”
She described how the crowd was kettled by police, that activists were “manhandled, and one was put in a chokehold.” She stressed that the activists weren't doing anything illegal.
“We’ve been taken off one by one to police custody, where we are told that we will be charged with violent disorder, which is completely outrageous. All we’ve done here today is show our solidarity,” she said.
Police said that those taken into custody broke away from the crowd, assaulted security staff, and vandalized property.
The US too has witnessed protests across the country after a grand jury decision that acquitted a white New York police officer of wrongdoing in the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black Staten Island resident, on July 17th.
The incident was videotaped by a passer-by and uploaded online, causing global outrage against US' police brutality.
The video shows the officer placing Garner in an illegal chokehold while a group of other officers force Garner to the ground. Garner, who reportedly suffered from asthma, died after repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe” – a phrase that has become a backbone of the protests.
The jury’s decision in the Garner case follows a Missouri grand jury's ruling not to indict a white police officer in the death of Michael Brown, 18, who was shot multiple times after a set to with police in Ferguson Missouri, despite being unarmed.
Tuesday, protesters in Berkeley, California shut down both sides of the I-80 freeway.
Pope Francis Calls For Nuclear Disarmament
Pope Francis urges states with nuclear arsenals, to get rid of them.
Nuclear weapons, his statement says, are an issue affecting all nations with negative consequences for future generations and the planet.
The Pope says that nuclear deterrence and the threats of mutual destruction cannot be the basis for coexistence and fraternity among countries and peoples.
Our youngsters deserve a peaceful world, ordered by values like respect, cooperation, solidarity and compasion, says the text.
Pope Francis' message urges nations to join hands for disarmament and a safer world with responsibility, confidence and sincere dialogue.
He also condemns states spending on weapons, which he considers a waste of riches and resources.
Piority should be given instead to programs related to human development in areas like education, health and the eradication of poverty, says the message.
His statement is released at the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.
70 Palestinian prisoners start hunger strike in Israel jails
Seventy Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails have started a hunger strike to protest against the regime’s policy of solitary confinement, a prisoners' group says.
According to a statement by the Palestinian Prisoners Society, the protest action started on Tuesday in solidarity with detainees being held in solitary confinement, some of whom had already gone on hunger strike, to stop the policy.
The strikers are calling for an end to solitary confinement, and the release of ill prisoners.
Their strike is also in solidarity with Nahar al-Saadi, who’s been refusing meals since November 20th, to protest at being held in solitary confinement.
Saadi’s demands include: end his confinement, allow family visits, & end solitary confinement for all the other prisoners.
Earlier, the group said that two other prisoners, Fahd Sawalha & Mahmoud Kleibim, also began a hunger strike on Saturday, in protest at their solitary confinement.
Reports say over 7,000 Palestinians are now held in Israeli gaols, many of them without charge or trial.
Israel's Prison Service, the agency responsible for overseeing gaols, has come under criticism from human rights groups, for rampant rights abuses in gaols.
ISRAELI TROOPS MURDER TOP OFFICIAL
Israeli forces have killed a senior Palestinian official, at a protest rally near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
According to Palestinian security sources on Wednesday, Ziad Abu Ein, who was in charge of the issue of Israeli settlements within the Palestinian Authority, died after Israeli troops hit him with the butts of their weapons and their helmets, during the rally in the village of Turmus Ayya.
Abu Ein "was martyred after being beaten in the chest," says Ahmed Bitawi, the director of Ramallah hospital.
The president of the Palestinian national unity government, Mahmud Abbas, condemns "the brutal assault that led to the martyrdom" of Abu Ein, calling it "a barbaric act that can't be tolerated, or accepted."
"We will take the necessary measures after the results of the investigation into the incident," Abbas says.
Tensions have been running high for weeks, in the West Bank & East Jerusalem/Al-Quds, over the desecration by Israeli troops of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israel gives demolition orders to Palestinians
Israeli security forces have given demolition orders to the residents of homes and commercial stores in various parts of the occupied West Bank, as part of the regime's settlement expansion project.
Israeli troops invaded Silwan and Jabal al-Mukabir neighbourhoods on Tuesday and handed demolition orders to a number of Palestinian families, local sources say.
The residents were told to leave their homes, because they were built “illegally.”
Similar orders were handed to the residents of Silwan, Jabal al-Mukabir and Sur Baher a day earlier.
In November, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Israel to end the destruction of Palestinian homes, saying the practice can amount to a “war crime.”
"Israel should impose an immediate moratorium on its policy of demolishing the family homes of Palestinians," the HRW said.
The decision to destroy more Palestinian homes comes, as Tel Aviv continues with its illegal settlement expansion on Palestinian land.
Report on the CIA's Use of Torture and Lies Above All Expectations
The report to the US Senate beats all the calculations of those who expected the worst.
The summary of a report released to the Senate's investigation of these operations, even after being sanitized by the CIA itself, is a portrait of depravity that is hard to comprehend & even harder to stomach, says the New York Times.
The report again raises the question of why no one has ever been held accountable for these seeming crimes - not the top officials who set them in motion, the lower-level officials who committed the torture, or those who covered it up, including by destroying videotapes of the abuse and by trying to block the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of their acts.
At one point, the report says, the CIA assured Congress that the behavior of the secret jailers and interrogators was nothing like the horrors the world saw at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. That's the closest the agency seems to have come to the truth.
What happened appears to have been worse than what took place at Abu Ghraib.
The Senate committee's summary says that the torture by CIA interrogators and private contractors was "brutal and far worse" than the agency has admitted to the public, to Congress and the Justice Department, even to the White House.
In that, and other clandestine prisons, very often no initial attempt was made to question prisoners in a nonviolent manner, despite CIA assertions to the contrary.
"Instead, in many cases the most aggressive techniques were used immediately, in combination and nonstop," states the summary of the declassified and heavily censored document.
The CIA appears to have used water- boarding on more than the three detainees it has acknowledged subjecting to that form of torture.
But "at no time" did the CIA's torture program produce intelligence averting a terrorism threat, the report says.
According to The Hill, the 'Report on Torture' shows a great abbys between the confidence of the intelligence community and members of Congress.
Obama's response? He appoints Brennan to say:
“Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used, did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives. The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qaida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day,” Brennan says, defying the report's main conclusion -- that the torture failed to stop a single act of terror.
Russia warns against US missile bases in east Europe
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns that Moscow will show an adequate response to the US deployment of a costly missile system in Eastern Europe.
"We warn that at some stage of the development of the American missile defense systems, we will have to take adequate measures to ensure our own security," Lavrov says on Tuesday.
"We don't intend to get drawn into an expensive arms race but we will provide the defensive capabilities of our country reliably," he adds.
Russia says US missile plans across the globe are a real threat, not only to Russia, but to the whole world, adding that the missile systems harm the global strategic balance of forces.
The remarks are made amid escalating tensions between the West and Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.
On October 10th, the US military commissioned its new missile base in southern Romania amid strong opposition by Russia.
The military base will be the first to feature the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile system and it will be operational by the end of 2015.
Several hundred American military, civilian and contract employees will be deployed to the site.
Another missile base is scheduled to become operational in Poland by 2018.
Last year, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that it deployed several Iskander ballistic missile systems, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, in Kaliningrad.
The Iskander ballistic missile has a range of up to 500 kilometers (about 300 miles) and travels at hypersonic speed --- making it very difficult to intercept.
Their deployment came as a response to the development of a US missile system in Europe.
Ukraine military suspends combat operations in east
Ukrainian government troops have suspended their military operations in the volatile east in preparation for a frontline ceasefire.
"The Ukrainian military has suspended all combat actions and is ready for the Day of Silence, but if separatists attack, we will fire in response," a Ukrainian army spokesman says on Tuesday.
Ukraine and the pro-Russia forces agreed on December 9th, to stop fighting across the eastern conflict zone, under the terms of a Kremlin-brokered ceasefire.
Also on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the contact group on Ukraine, made up of pro-Russia forces fighting the Kiev government in the east, and officials from Kiev, Moscow and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), will meet soon, to discuss the implementation of measures to uphold the truce in eastern Ukraine.
"In the coming days, a meeting of the contact group is planned, in which will be discussed a plan: with the aim of a final ceasefire," he says.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Moscow protests in mid-April.
UN: Opium Harvests Soaring in Southeast Asia The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says in the findings of its annual Southeast Asia Opium Survey, that poppy cultivated in Myanmar and Laos in 2014, reached 772 tons of opium.
Poppy cultivated in Myanmar and Laos in 2014 reached 63,800 hectares, up from 21,600 hectares in 2006.
The latest figure represents a rise in cultivation for the eighth consecutive year, boosting an industry estimated to be worth $16bn a year in Southeast Asia.
Around 76 tons of heroine were made. That drug, one of the most expensive, has a ready market in many other nations.
Myanmar is the world's second largest producer of opium, with Afganistan now in first place.
The great demand for drugs motivates more international crime cartels, says the report.
Poppy cultivation in the heroin-producing Golden Triangle, the area adjoining Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, has nearly tripled since 2006, and is now a challange to the State and the Law, according to a new UN report.
According to Yuri Fedoto, Executive Director of the UN agency, a lot of poor farmers depend on harvesting opium for survival, fuelled by an increase in consumption in the West, and made easy because of the porous borders.
Protests in Front of US Congress Demand End to Police Brutality
Demonstrations took place in front of the US Congress and the Department of Justice on Monday, demanding an investigation into the deaths of Afro Americans at the hands of police officers in this country.
In the Capitol, a line of police officers stopped the access of several dozen demonstrators, who carried posters and shouted slogans, condemning police brutality.
Spokespeople for the demonstrators demanded an international investigation into the most recent crimes against Afro Americans by police officers, and other public order forces.
The death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old negro adolescent, assassinated by white police officer Darren Wilson in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and the strangling of Eric Garner at hands of policeman Daniel Pantaleo, in New York, provoked energetic protests in over 170 US cities in the last weeks.
Another similar case occurred in Cleveland, Ohio, in November, when another police officer fired his gun and killed a black 12-year-old child.
Other demonstrations took place last Saturday in Phoenix, Arizona, after people knew about the death by two shots in his chest of Afro American Rumain Brisbon, 34, by a white police officer.
Lebanon Strengthens Border Security with Syria
Lebanese armed forces have strengthened their security on the border with Syria, after a marked increase in attacks by jihadist groups.
The military blocked roads in a mountainous area to prevent access by armed groups to the regions of Arsal, Wadi Atah and Wadi el Hons, located in the eastern Valley of the Bekaa.
In August extremists captured 30 Lebanese army troops in Arsal and recently killed six soldiers in an attack in Ras Baaleck area.
Palestinian Prisoners In Israel Announce Hunger Strike
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails warn - they will initiate an open hunger strike if the prison authorities continue to ignore demands by one of their fellow captives.
The detainees, members of the Islamic Jihad movement, are acting in solidarity with Nahar al-Saadi, who 16 days ago refuses to eat food after the authorities banned him from receiving family and medical visits and started to impose arbitrary punishments, constant searches and confiscated all his belongings.
Violations of the rights of Palestinian prisoners have increased in recent weeks, particularly solitary confinement & collective punishment, states the director of the Centre for Palestinian Prisoners Studies, Rafat Hamdouna.
5,000 plus Palestinians are in Israeli prisons, including women and children: hundreds of them under an administrative detention law dating from UK colonial rule, according to which, any person may be arrested with- out the right to legal assistance.
United Kingdom to Open military Base in Bahrain UK Foreign Minister Philip Hammond today announces that his country is to open a permanent military base in Bahrain, aimed at reinforcing security in the Persian Gulf.
Hammond's communique was released by the local press this weekend, and it says that the base is believed to cost over 19 million euros.
The base will be first permanent UK base in the Middle East since 1971.
Hammond stresses that the opening of the base will extend the presence of the Royal Navy and reinforce security in the region.
For his part, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon says the new base is a permanent expansion of the Royal Navy's footprint and will enable the UK to send more and larger ships to "reinforce stability" in the Gulf.
Israeli 'planes carried out 2 air assaults against an area of Damascus International Airport, and another airport in the town of Dimas, on Sunday.
The Syrian army issued a statement later in the day, saying the air attacks by Tel Aviv were aimed at helping the ISIL militants operating in the Arab country.
Israel has carried out several airstrikes in Syria since the start of the conflict there, in 2011.
Israel must explain airstrikes on Syria: Russia
The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed grave concern over Israel’s recent airstrike against Syria, calling on Tel Aviv to provide answers regarding the military aggression.
“Moscow is deeply worried by this dangerous development, the circumstances of which demand an explanation,” says Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich.
Russia has sent a letter to the UN complaining about Israel’s “aggressive action,” stressing that such attacks should not take place in the future, he states.
Police Kill Another African American in Phoenix and Revive Tensions New protests against racial discrimination and the excessive use of police force have reignited tensions in the US, after the death of another African-American, at the hands of the police, in Phoenix.
The US media highlights the death of Rumain Brisbon, 34, who was shot twice in the chest by a white police officer in a confusing drug trafficking incident on Tuesday.
The death of Brisbon has reignited the passion of the African American community in the US, which has returned to the streets in protests over recent court decisions to exempt two white police officers involved in violent acts that have taken the lives of Michael Brown, Ferguson, and Eric Garner, in New York.
According to the police statement, Rumain Brisbon was selling drugs when the police asked him to raise his hands, but he didn't obey the order.
Brisbon ran to an apartment building where a struggle began, during which the suspect put his hands in his pockets, which, says the police report, caused the officer to think that he had a gun.
The officer, identified only as a white man of 30 years, shot him twice in the chest, which caused Brisbon's death.
An inspection of his body showed that he had in his pockets a bottle of oxycodone, a drug that's also used as a narcotic. The vehicle driven by Brisbon contained marijuana and a semi-automatic rifle.
The victim had a long criminal record for assault and robbery, says the local media.
Marci Kratter, attorney for the family Brisbon, says witnesses contradict the police version.
Russia Opens Criminal Case against Ukrainian Deputies Russian Investigative Committee spokesperson Vladimir Markin confirms that the committee has opened a criminal case against three Ukrainian deputies for backing a terrorist act in Chechnya which left 14 dead, and 28 injured.
"The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, upon obtaining data on Ukrainian deputies Yury Beryoza, Andrei Levus and Igor Mosiychuk, has opened a criminal case for an offense under Article 205.2 of Russia's Criminal Code (public calls for terrorist acts, or the public approval of terrorism)," Markin says.
The three deputies praised the recent attack by 11 Islamic terrorists, who attacked a road patrol station in Grozny, in Russia's southern Republic of Chechnya, on Thursday.
The attackers then found shelter in the city's Press House and a nearby school after killing police officers on patrol.
After killing the armed militants, Russian security forces found weapons caches and over 20 bombs at the school.
Investigators believe that a series of attacks were planned by the extremists in Chenchnya.
Yet Ukrainian deputy and ex chief of Ukraine's Security Service, Andriy Levus, says that the counter-terrorist operation has caused outrage ]within the human rights movement, in Grozny.
Levus justifies the violent attack by the extremists, who are trying to create in the Caucasus, what the Islamic State is trying to create in the Middle East, by claiming that they're "fighting for respect for their constitutional rights."
Syria:--- Destroy all Weapons of Mass Destruction in Middle east
Syria''s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad calls the use of any weapons of mass destruction "immoral" and demands that the Middle East be made a nuclear-weapons-free zone.
The nuclear weapons that Israel, the US, UK and France persist in having as a deterrence strategy, can destroy the planet five or six times in a few minutes, says a report from Al Binaa daily.
The Syrian deputy Foreign minister recalls that Syria was one of the first countries to join The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, in 1968.
Mekdad says his Government proposed declaring the region free of nuclear arsenals 11 years ago, but that Washington and its European allies rejected that initiative.
The deputy Foreign minister denounces Tel Aviv's big nuclear, biological, and chemical arsenals and its refusal to destroy them.
He says Syria was unfairly accused of using chlorine gas, but then it was later proved that armed groups were responsible for those attacks.
With the complicity of the US, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, rebels used chemical substances in order to blame the Damascus authorities.
Kerry warns about release of US torture report: and asks Finestein to delay the report's release.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Senate Intelligence Chair, Dianne Feinstein, about the expected release of a report criticizing US torture techniques.
In a phone call between Kerry & Feinstein on Friday, the top US diplomat asked the senator to delay the release of the report.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki states that he called his former colleague and made clear that the timing was, of course, her choice.
“He wanted to make sure that foreign policy implications were being appropriately factored into the timing,” she said. “These include our ongoing efforts against ISIL and the safety of Americans being held hostage around the world.”
The release of the report about the CIA's use of torture methods could complicate Washington’s foreign policy issues.
The US says ISIL terrorist group and other groups that hold American hostages would execute them once the report is released.
At least 3 Americans, including a woman, are believed to be held by terrorist groups.
The torture program was launched under former president George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York.
The report was scheduled to be released next week.
Ansarullah fighters take over Sana'a army academy
Shia fighters of the Ansarullah movement in Yemen have reportedly seized the military academy in the capital, Sana'a.
Witnesses say the Shia fighters of the Houthi tribe entered the academy on Friday with no resistance from the guards and stationed their patrols inside.
"The Houthis are now in control of the academy's gates,” said one witness.
Neither the Ansarullah nor the government is offering any comment.
The development comes a few days after Defense Minister Mahmoud al-Subaihi said that Ansarullah fighters might be allowed to join the Yemeni army.
Over the past few months, al-Qaeda militants have frequently carried out attacks on Yemen’s security forces and have been also locked in deadly battles with Ansarullah fighters.
The US and its ally, Saudi Arabia, have backed the terrorists and armed, paid and trained them.
Yemen’s central government has so far failed to confront the terrorist threat. Ansarullah fighters, however, have intervened to fill the vacuum and driven al-Qaeda militants out of many areas.
In September, Ansarullah revolutionary fighters gained control over key government buildings in Sana’a, after weeks of demonstrations and a 4--day battle with army forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a half-brother of Yemen’s former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
On November the 2nd, Yemen’s main political parties, including Ansarullah revolutionaries, signed a UN-brokered truce, deal in a bid to end Yemen's crippling political crisis.
On November 9th, Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi swore in Yemen’s new government, despite opposition from Ansarullah revolutionaries.
They called for the replacement of a number of newly-appointed ministers, on the grounds of corruption and lacking qualifications.
The Ansarullah movement played a major role in the popular uprising which forced Saleh to step down in 2012, after 33+ years in power.
China's warships more than US by 2020: Report
We all learnt yesterday, that China is now larger, economically, than the US.
A report by a US congressional commission on China predicts now that China's military will have more warships than the US --- by 2020.
The number of China’s military vessels will reach about 351 within six years, The Washington Post reports.
The US-China Economic & Security Review Commission has given its annual report to the US Congress.
The US Navy now has 289 deployable battle force ships.
The commission demands that Congress increase its Pacific fleet by up to 67 ships.
According to the commission, China's military spending is $131 billion this year, almost 12.2% greater than last year.
The US Navy says it is concerned about China’s military plans.
Last year, the US Department of Defense said in a report to Congress, that China will “likely build multiple aircraft carriers over the next decade. The first Chinese-built carrier will likely be operational sometime in the second half of this decade.”
For several years, the US military has said that Washington might be losing its military superiority in areas such as fighter jets, missile systems and cyber warfare "soon".
China, for its part, is concerned about US militarism in the Asia-Pacific region.
Beijing sees the Pentagon’s Asia “pivot” to the Pacific, and its increased military presence there, as a strategy to counter China’s increasing global influence.
New Agreement and Truce in Ukraine
The foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) ended in Basel, with important agreements on European security and a new truce between the US-installed Kiev government and its opponents in the South East.
Hezbollah missiles can level Israel to ground: Iran general
An Iranian commander says missiles of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah are capable of completely destroying Israel.
“Although the United States’ first mission is to ensure the security of the Zionist regime, today Hezbollah’s missiles can raze Israel to the ground,” says Brigadier General Esmail Qa’ani, the second- in-command of Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
Today, missiles fired by Hezbollah at the Zionist regime, have such a range that they can reach even Gaza which is located beyond Israel, says the general, describing Israel as one of the most insecure spots in the world.
“A large number of missiles threatening Israel’s security today, are manufactured in this very Palestinian territory which, in many cases, has difficulty providing [even] necessary foodstuff,” says the top commander.
Israel launched wars on Lebanon in 2000 and 2006. About 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, were killed in the 33-Day War of 2006.
On both occasions, however, Hezbollah fighters defeated Israeli forces and Tel Aviv was forced to retreat without achieving any of its objectives.
Hezbollah says that it has both the capability and courage to defend Lebanon and that the movement's missiles are ready to strike back on "certain targets" in Israel in self-defense --- if Tel Aviv launches an attack on Lebanon.
Russia Counteracts NATO in Eastern Europe
Russia's ambassador to NATO, Alexandr Grushko, says that his country has begun applying measures to counter the rising presence of NATO's military in E. Europe.
NATO is handling the crisis in Ukraine to its own advantage, in order to justify its activity in the area and the war costs, declares the diplomat to the press.
Grushko stresses that Russia's response will be well-analyzed, based on NATO's actions in the region.
According to the Russian diplomat, NATO admits that the flights over international waters of the Baltic sea, authorized by Moscow, do not violate the established regulations.
The majority of the block's Defense ministers indicate that the Russian planes operate in full accordance with the rule of International Law, and that the routine maneuvres do not represent any threat, he states.
Grushko points out that the relationship between Russia and NATO is getting closer to freezing point. The alliance will have to reassess its position on Moscow, he insists.
Russia has no shortage of partners on the international scene, therefore, the projects we have carried out within the framework of the Russia-NATO Council can be retaken with others, or taken solo.
Russia Reinforces Defense in Arctic Region with New Command
The North United Strategic Command, Russia''s fifth Military District equipped with its own land, naval and air forces, and deployed beyond the Arctic Circle, is officially established and now carrying out its missions, local media report.
The nucleus for this new military structure will be the Russian North Fleet, whose ships will join the maritime units of that armed corps, the official newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports.
Without revealing the exact composition of the new command, the newspaper says that, in addition to the North Fleet, it will be made up of units from the West, Central, South and East Military Districts, which were linked to protecting the Arctic before these changes.
Since October, Russia has stationed army units integrated into the Single Tactic Group on its Arctic island. Those units are equipped with new weapons such as the Rubezh coastal missile systems and the Pantsir-S1 missile-cannon anti-aircraft complexes.
Military sources say that a land component of the new strategic command, made up of two Arctic brigades that must be fully operational by 2016, is being created.
Mikhail Mizintsev, chief of the National Defense Centre, said recently that Russia will build 13 aerodromes and an aviation polygon in the Arctic region, where it will replace several radars and command posts of the Air Force.
For his part, President Vladimir Putin said on November 25th that in order to improve the composition and structure of the Armed Forces, a unified strategic command would be operational on December 1st in the Arctic.
Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia's Security Council, has warned about the interests of such countries as the United States, Canada, Iceland, Norway and Denmark in the Arctic region, and their military mobilization, which has increased dramatically.
Syria Calls Coalition Air Strikes on IS Ineffective
Syrian President Bashar al Assad says that the international coalition''s air attacks, led by Washington, against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, are "ineffective".
In an interview with the French 'Paris Match' magazine, released on Thursday, and whose summary is reproduced by the state-run Sana news agency, the president says that Syrian armed forces fighting against that radical group have not seen any changes on the ground, after the coalition's air strikes.
Al Assad repeats his denunciation of the Turkish Government's support of terrorist groups in Syria, chiefly IS, and warns that his people will never accept being puppets in the hands of Western powers.
The president says that Damascus will hold talks with any French Government that works with good intentions for the common benefit, but warns that the government of Francois Hollande acts against the interests of both Syria and France.
Last month, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad accused Ankara and Paris of backing terrorist groups in this nation of the Levant.
Al Mekdad said that both Hollande and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seek to divide Syria.
UN urges Israel to renounce nuclear arms, join non-proliferation treaty
The UN General Assembly has passed an Arab- introduced resolution calling on Israel not to develop, produce or possess nuclear arms and criticizing the country for not being a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The resolution calls on Israel to "accede to that treaty without further delay, not to develop, produce test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons," and put its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, AP reports.
The UN would like to see the whole of the Middle East as a nuclear weapons-free zone, according to the text of the document, which specifies that Israel is the only country in the region which has not signed the non-proliferation treaty.
Israel, which is believed to have nuclear arms, but has never admitted to it, has long been under fire from Arab countries in the region for not putting its alleged stockpile under international supervision.
The resolution, initiated by Egypt, was approved by 161 nations with only five voting against it, and 18 abstentions.
The United States and Canada were among the minority opposing the measure.
US representative Robert Wood, earlier condemned the resolution for failing “to meet the fundamental tests of fairness and balance.”
“It confines itself to expressions of concern about the activities of a single country," he said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency voted in September on a resolution, expressing concern over Israel's assumed nuclear arsenal. That time the resolution was rejected by 58 votes to 45.
In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly passed a non-binding call on Tel Aviv to join the NPT “without further delay."
Israel rebuffed this call with a Foreign Ministry statement that the UN has “lost all its credibility regarding Israel with these types of routine votes that are ensured passage by an automatic majority and which single out Israel."
Israel has repeatedly stressed that it sees Iran as the real nuclear threat in the region, urging the international community to do whatever it takes to thwart the 'Iranian nuclear problem'.
Tehran insists it’s not pursuing weapons and that its nuclear effort is altogether peaceful.
Moscow Slams NATO over Ukraine
Russia accuses NATO of risking European peace with military drills linked to a spike in tensions over the Ukraine crisis.
Russia's deputy foreign minister Alexei Meshkov says that the US-led military alliance is "trying to destabilize the world's most stable region".
"Endless military exercises, the deployment of nuclear-capable planes to Baltic countries" will lead to the "destruction" of stability and security in the region, he tells Interfax news agency.
The comments came the same week as a meeting of foreign ministers from NATO's 28 member states, meet in Brussels.
Talks are dominated by Ukraine, where fighting in the east between government forces and pro- Russian separatist rebels has killed over 4,300 people and displaced one million, since April.
The West accuses Moscow of stoking the conflict and has imposed sanctions against Russia, sending relations plunging to Cold War lows.
On the ground, Ukraine's military says its forces and Russian generals have agreed a temporary ceasefire around an airport in rebel-held Donetsk that has been the focus of fighting for months.
A pro-Russian rebel leader confirms to media outlets that top-level negotiations are ongoing and a final agreement is expected by today.
US President Obama and European Council chief Donald Tusk express their concern over the Ukraine crisis, urging Russia to pull back from the country's east.
We "agreed on how important it is for Russia to withdraw from eastern Ukraine, to stop supplying troops and equipment, to allow effective control of the border," Tusk says in a statement.
"The European Union and the United States continue working together closely, including on sanctions as well as on financial support to Ukraine. We agreed to stay united and to keep a steady course."
Moscow fiercely rejects any claims that it is involved in the fighting in east Ukraine but gives open political backing to the rebels, who now boast the heavy weaponry of a regular army.
Russia in upgraded war of words with NATO
Russia slams NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg over his anti-Moscow remarks, saying NATO's boss repeats "idle inventions".
"Instead of doing some concrete work, looking for a settlement of the Ukrainian internal conflict, Stoltenberg has joined in the efforts of propagating idle inventions about the supposed movements of Russian armaments across the Ukrainian border," Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova says in a statement.
The remarks made by Stoltenberg, who took the current position in October, were primarily based on principles and instructions that reflect the consolidated opinion of all 28 member countries of NATO, Zhkharova says.
"They bring grist to the mill of Kiev's party of war and are fraught with destructive effects on the fragile process of peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian internal crisis," she adds.
Stoltenberg says that the alliance has extensive evidence of the movement of Russian military equipment near Ukraine. He says the maneuvers Russian military aircraft have been conducting in Europe, have posed threats to civilian airlines.
The politician admits to NATO's increasing military presence in Eastern Europe, but attributes that to the need to prevent developments in Ukraine from "growing into a new Cold War".
Moscow insists that NATO prefers to fan up anti-Russian sentiment, to justify its plans to strengthen its defense potential and build up its military presence near Russia's borders.
"This creates serious security risks in the Euro-Atlantic region," Zakharova says.
Russia & NATO have severely strained ties since the Ukraine crisis. Since April, NATO has ended all practical cooperation with Russia, only maintaining contacts at ambassadorial and higher levels.
Police in Ferguson React to Protests by Rams Soccer Players
Police officers from Ferguson say today that six members of the football team St. Louis Rams, have been "punished" for going onto the field with their hands up, to protest about the murder of the African-American, Michael Brown.
The Association of St. Louis police officers says that it was "deeply disappointed" with the demonstration by the athletes from the National Soccer League (NSL), which they describe as "offensive and incendiary".
They also claim that the players involved were punished and that the league and the team have issued a public apology.
The protest occurred on Sunday, minutes before the beginning of the game between the St. Louis Rams and the Oakland Raiders, when Afro-American players Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Edward Jones Dome, Jared Cook, Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens, went out onto the field, with their hands up.
The slogan "hands up, do not shoot" is being used by demonstrators who disagree with a decision by a county grand jury in St. Louis, not to charge officer Darren Wilson, who was responsible for Brown's death, on August 9th.
Some witnesses state that Brown, a black 18 year old teenager, had put his hands up before receiving six shots fired by white police officer Wilson.
Right-Wing Continues Losing in Latin America, says Topolansky
Lucia Topolansky, a re-elected senator and Uruguay's First Lady, believes that the recent elections in Latin America, from Venezuela in 2013, to Uruguay last Sunday, prove that "the right-wing is losing in the region".
In an interview for the newspaper Pagina 12, Topolansky, President Jose Mujica's wife, a former guerrilla member and political prisoner during the US-backed Uruguayan dictatorship, highlights the importance of regional integration and the relationship between her country and Argentina.
Topolansky, who described herself as "a left- wing woman seeking socialism", believes that Latin America's left-wing lacks theorizing and should "add theory to these processes and the concept of populism".
By 'Populism', she refers to the label used by the right-wing, calling leaders of the region populist.
She highlights popular projects and revolutionary processes that have led to a change of direction in Latin American politics.
"The most striking was when Cuban President Raul Castro received the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), from Sebastian Piñera:-- that picture would had been impossible 15 years ago", says Mrs Topolansky, a senator for the Movement of Popular Participation.
From her standpoint, Brazilian Frei Betto gives the best definition about what is happening in Latin America in the statement:"Now people elect presidents with human faces".
As a Uruguayan politician, Topolansky says that she cares "too much about what happens in Argentina and Brazil, because we're defined a lot by both countries'.
At Least 21 Million People Suffer Modern Slavery
Human rights experts from the United Nations say that at least 21 million human beings on the planet are now suffering from several contemporary ways of slavery and they demand the use of political will to eradicate this shameful practice.
Forced labour in mines & farms, sexual exploitation and several "informal economy" jobs under similar conditions to the ones suffered by slaves in the past, are listed as among the modern manifestations of slavery.
Women and children are the most affected people, says the UN Special Rapporteur for Contemporary Ways of Slavery, Urmila Bhoola, a South African lawyer, who adds that statistics on the problem do not include the 168 million children submitted to infant labour, some of them involved in quite dangerous tasks.
"We need countries to fulfill their respective obligations on international laws. We need them to show a greater commitment to eradicate the problem," says the UN rapporteur, in a speech on a joint declaration on the Day for Abolition of Slavery, which is celebrated today.
The special rapporteur for the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, complains that millions of minors suffer slavery.
Slavery will only be able to be fought in an effective way if systems are adopted for the protection of the child, including the prevention of the risks and the early identification of the victims, he says.
In the joint declaration, the special rapporteur for the Trafficking of People, Grazia Giammarinaro, demands the existence of mechanisms of justice and compensation, at a world level.
"Human victims of contemporary forms of slavery should have access to compensation and support, regardless of their immigration status or otherwise."
Bhoola, de Boer-Buquicchio & Giammarinaro both call for ongoing negotiations to secure the sustainable development agenda after 2015, to take account of eradicating the scourge of slavery.
Tension Decreases in Cairo Tahrir Square Reopened
Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo is open today after being closed for about 2 days for security reasons, as well as one of the metro stations.
The area in Cairo gained notoriety during the popular uprising that put an end to the over 30-year-old regime of Hosni Mubarak, and then the opposition to the now imprisoned Mohamed Morsi.
The surrounding of the famous crossroad of avenues, and the blockade of Gamal Abdel Nasser subway, continues under the custody of the Army, deployed since last Thursday as a precaution against an announced Islamic revolution.
The Islamist summoning, to which the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) responded, was not warmly met by the population. But the exoneration of Mubarak, two of his children, and a former Minister of the Interior, unleashed a wave of mass rejection.
Tahrir and the surrounding areas were the stage of a mass protest on Saturday, in which 3 people died, due to the exoneration of Mubarak and ex minister Habib el Adli, accused of allowing the death of more than 800 demonstrators during opposition demonstrations in 2011.
US Laws Encourage Armed Violence
The rise of violence in the United States is directly linked to the existence of state laws that allow the carrying of firearms, reveals new research published today.
The investigation, carried out by experts of Stanford and John Hopkins universities USA, rejects the results of previous reports made with empirical conclusions which asserted that the carrying of firearms by US citizens results in a reduction of all kinds of crimes.
'The evidence, based on data between 1979-2010 suggests that laws on the right to carry arms are associated with substantially higher rates of both attacks and murders, notes the law professor of Stanford University, John Donohue, co-author of the report.
Although there's no federal law that allows people to carry guns when they are in public places, 50 states of the Union have adopted statutes that do allow citizens to carry the devices in public places -- with a permit from the local authorities, adds the specialist.
Since 2009 there have been over 50 massacres with guns in the US, the worst of which occurred in December 2012, at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and 6 adults died.
President Barack Obama launched an offensive in 2013 to regulate the sale and use of weapons in the country, but he faced strong opposition from right-wing groups and the National Rifle Association who lobbied on behalf of the makers of the devices.
Israeli agents training MKO terrorists in Jordan
Israel is training members of the anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in Jordan along the border with Saudi Arabia -- to carry out acts of terror inside Iran and neighboring Iraq, Press TV has learnt.
According to sources, who decline to be named, MKO terrorists are undergoing training on how to conduct terrorist operations in Iran and Iraq, and are receiving technical and information technology (IT) training from Israeli agents.
It is the first time it is revealed that anti-Iran MKO terrorists are being trained in Jordan along the border with Saudi Arabia.
Earlier reports revealed that radical extremists are receiving terror training in Jordan before being sent into Syria and Iraq to carry out bomb attacks and join the ranks of al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, ISIL Takfiri militants and other terrorist groups operating inside both violence-plagued Arab countries.
The MKO fled to Iraq in 1986, where it enjoyed the support of Iraq's executed dictator Saddam Hussein, and set up its camp near Iran's border.
The group is also known to have cooperated with Saddam Hussein in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and carrying out the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.
The MKO has carried out numerous acts of violence against Iranian civilians and government officials.
Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks since the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, 12,000 have fallen victim to the acts of terror carried out by the MKO.
US "PIVOT TO ASIA" INCLUDES RE-ARMING JAPAN
The United States is set to provide Japan with a number of amphibious vehicles amid tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
A Defense Ministry official says on Monday that Japan plans to buy 52 amphibious vehicles in 2018, but it has not decided on a model yet, Stars and Stripes reports.
The military deal comes as the disputed islands, called Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese, have been a source of tension between Japan and China for decades.
Japan claimed to nationalize a part of the island chain by buying them back from private ownership.
Last year, China established an Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea, urging all military and commercial aircraft to inform the Chinese government before entering the region.
However, the United States and Japan violated the air zone several times after the declaration.
Japan and China have scrambled fighter jets over the islands during the past two years.
The Japanese government now wants to assemble a Marines-like unit within its Self-Defense Forces.
A spokesman from Japan’s Defense Ministry said the Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV-7) is among the country’s options.
“We have purchased four AAV-7s in fiscal 2013 and two AAV-7s in fiscal 2014 as samples for reference,” the unnamed spokesman said.
According to the spokesman, the Defense Ministry started reviewing options in April, but it has not decided on a model yet.
Forum for Peace in Bogota Next Sunday
Representatives of the party Union Patriótica have arranged a forum for peace in Colombia's capital to be held next Sunday, to promote the peace talks as a way out of the armed conflict --- and for social justice.
The meeting will be headed by Aida Avella, UP president, and the party invites Bogota citizens to take part in the forum to be held at the District University.
With these meetings we contribute to build a peaceful scenario - of reconciliation - which includes all the sectors hit by violence, says a UP press release.
As of right now - it adds - we must begin to build the peace that the country needs.
Internal confrontations, over the last 50 years, have left about six million victims, among them, 230 thousand dead.
Social activists and cultural groups have recently held an artistic event to paint the walls of Bogota with drawings & messages calling for peace.
Recently interrupted peace talks held by the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples Army (FARC-EP), were pursuing an end to the armed conflict.
The negotiating process was stopped by president Juan Manuel Santos, after the capture of general Ruben Dario Alzate by the guerrilla movement in the department of Chocoacute.
Once the high official and those with him (lawyer Gloria Urrego and corporal Jorge Rodriguez) are freed, negotiations should be reestablished in Havana, the venue of the peace talks since 2012.
Their release is to occur next Sunday, states FARC-EP.
The Union Patriotica party regained its legal right to exist in 2013.
Created in 1985, the UP was a victim of political genocide in the 1990s.
Former Israeli President against Declaring Israel a Jewish State
Former president Shimon Peres joins the rejection of other Israeli important figures to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu''s motion declaring in law, the exclusively Jewish nature of the Israeli State.
"The law is motivated by political interests, will damage the image of the State, and will erode the Israeli democratic principles," says Peres at a ceremony attended by Netanyahu.
The current Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, a member of the ultra right Zionist coalition Likud, as well as Netanyahu, expressed a similar opinion after Israel's General Attorney, Yehuda Weinstein, stated that the motion weakens the country's democratic nature.
For its part, the Palestinian Government condemns the measure for its racist nature, and lists among its consequences the loss of rights of Palestinian residents in Israeli territory, who are over one million 600,000, or 20% of the population.
The recognition by Palestinians of Israel as a Jewish State was one of the conditions imposed by Netanyahu to resume peace talks started in July 2013 and closed in April this year after the formation of a Government of unity in the still occupied territories.
US Fourth Infantry Division Will Deploy to Ukraine
Fort Carson''s 4th Infantry Division will be deployed in Ukraine at the begining of next January 2015, according to The Colorado Springs Gazette.
The Army hasn't said how long the division will be overseas, leaving the deployment indefinite and the day of departure unknown.
US European Command says the division will head to Europe in early 2015, to lead ground forces in "Operation Atlantic Resolve."
"Operation Atlantic Resolve is a continued demonstration of the US' commitment to the collective security of our NATO allies and support for our partners in Europe." European Command says in a news release.
"The operation will remain in place as long as required to reassure our allies."
Leaders from the division will run a series of training exercises to ensure that US forces are ready to fight alongside their partners in Europe and they are still developing plans for how they will support the open-ended troop commitment in Europe.
Fort Carson got the call as part of the Army's new "regionally-aligned forces" plan.
That assigns US based units to overseas areas of responsibility. In the division's case, troops in Colorado Springs will get specialized training in European languages and culture.
Russia's authorities consistently denounce the military reinforcement of NATO in Ukraine and other nearby countries, which present a threat to Russia's security.
FFIRI condemns Israel raid on
Palestine football association
The Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) has censured the latest Israeli raid on the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) in the occupied West Bank.
“The military campaign of the Zionist regime (of Israel) against the oppressed people of Gaza constantly preys on our mind, as the regime commits another act of folly in violation of sport's international laws and regulations,” the FFIRI says in a statement.
The statement terms Israel’s attack on the premises of the PFA as illogical and contrary to the rules set by FIFA, which specifically bar any form of state political involvement and/or military action in soccer.
The FFIRI calls on members of the international community, especially the governing bodies for football worldwide, to condemn the incident.
On Tuesday, FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) decried the assault on the Palestinian soccer body.
On Monday, Israeli soldiers broke into the PFA's headquarters in the Palestinian town of al-Ram, situated eight kilometers (4.9 miles) north of al-Quds (Jerusalem), ransacked it and assaulted its employees.
PFA President Jibril Rajoub says the raid was an attempt by the Tel Aviv regime to undermine Palestinian sports, and calls for international condemnation of the incident.
Israel's regime has imposed travel restrictions on Palestinian footballers in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip.
Despite all obstacles, Palestinians managed in May, to qualify for the 16th edition of the AFC Asian Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia from January the 9th to the 31st, in 2015.
US may be helping ISIL terrorists in Iraq: Officials
‘US pursues agenda of Syria destruction’ ‘US double game targets Syria gov’t’
Iraqi officials say that the US-led coalition against ISIL Takfiri terrorists may have intentionally dropped arms for the militant group, Press TV reports.
“The airstrikes cannot defeat ISIL and liberate the cities. We hear that in some places the warplanes drop weapons for ISIL... What we know is that the victories achieved on the ground are done by the Iraqi army and volunteers,” Iraqi State of Law Coalition MP Hanan Fatlawi told the Press TV correspondent in Baghdad.
On October 22, the US admitted that one of the weapon airdrops intended for Kurds fighting in the Syrian town of Kobani was almost certainly intercepted by ISIL terrorists.
“The presence of international advisers in such huge numbers is not necessary. We are in a war and this is not the time for training, it’s the time for fighting. I think this is an effort by the US to come back to Iraq,” Fatlawi added.
Washington has launched hundreds of airstrikes against the ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria, which analysts regard as part of the US attempts to gradually spread its influence in Iraq.
The Takfiri militants have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations and crucifixions, against all Syrian and Iraqi communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and Izadi Kurds.
The West and its regional allies, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are giving financial & military support to the militants.
EU AND US DON'T HAVE SOLUTION ON UKRAINE
The European Union & the United States have no idea what the final solution to the Ukraine crisis should be. Nor do they know the vector of movement towards this settlement, Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s Ambassador to the European Union, said in a live interview aired by the state- owned Rossiya 24 television news channel on Wednesday.
“They (the European Union & the United States) are driving, or have already driven themselves, into a corner. They were very much unwilling to recognize their responsibility for what happened in Ukraine. It’s only now that sober-minded and reasonable voices have started breaking through the propaganda noise,” Chizhov said.
UN rights chief: Disproportionate number of blacks killed by police
The United Nations human rights chief voices concern over “institutionalized discrimination” and the “disproportionate” number of young African Americans being killed by police in the United States.
“I am deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers, as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans in US prisons and the disproportionate number of African Americans on death row,” says Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement.
His comments come after a grand jury in Missouri fails to indict a white police officer for the fatal shooting of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson.
The 12-member jury, including nine whites and three African Americans, had been meeting in secret for months on whether probable cause existed to bring charges against Darren Wilson.
The decision has sparked a fresh firestorm of protests across the United States.
The UN rights chief warns that there is a deep lack of confidence in the fairness of the justice system in the United States, and urges the authorities to thoroughly examine how “race- related issues are affecting law enforcement and the administration of justice, both at the federal and state levels.”
To many protesters, Brown’s death is symbolic of broader racial injustice in America. In 2012, African American man Trayvon Martin was gunned down by a white Florida neighbor- hood watch --- later acquitted of murder.
50 civilians dead in US-led airstrikes against ISIS in Syria – UN
The US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria has killed 865 people since the start of the airstrikes in late September, at least 50 of them civilians, a new report from the UN chief reveals.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns that the strikes alone cannot defeat the militant Islamist group and cites estimates of civilian casualties caused by the bombing.
“The international coalition continued airstrikes against ISIL in Syria on a near-daily basis with reports of some 865 people killed, including 50 civilians, in Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor, Hasakeh, Idlib & Raqqa since strikes began,” the report says.
Meanwhile, “armed opposition and designated terrorist groups continue shelling government- controlled areas, including in civilian-populated areas... including in Damascus, Homs, Hama and Quneitra,” according to the report.
Ban warns that “a military campaign alone [against IS] could lead to further radicalization and spark a cycle of renewed violence,” adding that Islamic State is intensifying its recruitment efforts inside and outside of Syria.
The document focuses on the July 14 resolution, which approved delivery of aid to rebel-held areas in Syria without the government's approval through four border crossings. Ban confirms that the UN team has been able to access an average of 66 hard to reach areas a month since the resolution was passed, up from an average of 38 per month in the four months prior to the vote.
Following the report, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told the Security Council that an estimated 12.2 million people need assistance in Syria – a rise from 10.8 million in July. At the same time, Amos said that aid coming in from Turkey and Jordan is making a difference and called on the UNSC to extend the authorization that expires on January 9th.
Critics of the US-led bombing warfare against ISIS in Iraq and Syria assert that not only is this tactic ineffective – it also encourages more people to join radical groups.
“It's completely unsuccessful from the standpoint of destroying ISIS, but it’s an enormous success story for ISIS. It is actually helping the Sunni Islamists recruit new people – over a thousand every month from across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East,” retired US Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor explains to RT.
According to MacGregor, Washington should not step into the conflict and should leave it at the regional level.
Russian Navy checks Nuclear Capability and Adds New Units
The Russian Navy this year has tested its nuclear deterrent and strengthened its potential with new naval units, say its senior officers.
Admiral Vladimir Korolev, head of the Northern Fleet, says that the squadron in charge of the atomic deterrent reaffirms its ability to fulfill the assigned missions.
Korolev highlights the high combat capability demonstrated this year.
He commends the missions carried out effectively by Navy troops in repaired or upgraded submarines.
This year, the Pacific Fleet has already received the first 10 of 12 craft which increase its potential power, according to the spokesperson for the East Military District, Captain Roman Martov.
It's the first time that the squadron has received this number of new ships in a year, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, says the official.
The Pacific Fleet will also receive tugboats RB-406 and RB-407.
This number of special and auxiliary units enhances the combat effectiveness of the squadron, concludes the official.
Russia is modernizing its arsenal amid the growing hostility of the United States and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), that has already deployed forces and arms in countries bordering Russia, a situation that didn't exist in the worst moments of the Cold War.
U.S. defense secretary resigns
Obama on Monday announced the resignation of Chuck Hagel as the country's defense secretary, making the first change to his cabinet after the Democrats' heavy losses in midterm elections.
Iranian nuclear talks extended by 7 months
The sides will meet again in December to discuss the tough Iranian nuclear issue, and the expert- level meeting will start soon, aimed at a political deal within four months, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, told reporters on Monday.
Kerry said that expert-level talks will start soon. "In fact we will have meetings in December," he noted.
Speaking at a press conference, Kerry said they had achieved "real and substantial progress" on Iran's nuclear issue in the past negotiations and this lays the foundations for further talks in the next months.
"These last days in Vienna, we have made real and substantial progress, and we have seen new ideas surface," Kerry said.
After a week of difficult talks, the parties involved decided to extend Iran's nuclear talks by seven months, aiming to reach a political agreement within the next four months, Kerry said.
Kerry stressed that even though the talks are not finalized "the world is safer than it was just one year ago."
"We are closer to a deal," he said, adding that a comprehensive agreement is "possible" and "desirable."
Iran has 19,000 centrifuges installed, of which 10,190 are operating. Most are IR-1, an old model centrifuge, and Iran has also installed around 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges, which are assessed to be 3 to 5 times more efficient than IR-1 centrifuges.
Israel openly questions the nuclear talks, fearing that a "bad nuclear deal" could undermine its security.It leaves as "open" the possibility of military action against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Recent nuclear talks between Iran and world powers over the country's nuclear issue have been " steps forward," Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Monday.
"Although in the recent nuclear talks we could not finalize a comprehensive deal, I could say that forward steps have been taken in the run-up for a final agreement," Rouhani said in an interview with IRIB TV following Iran's agreement with the world powers in Vienna on Monday to extend the nuclear talks for another seven months.
The White House warned on Monday that additional sanctions on Iran would be "counterproductive"..... as the Islamic republic and major powers had agreed to extend their nuclear talks for seven more months.
"We continue to believe that adding on sanctions while negotiations are ongoing would be counterproductive," spokes- person Josh Earnest said, in response to some lawmakers clamoring for more sanctions on Tehran after negotiators failed to close a final deal by Monday's previous deadline after long intense talks in Vienna, Austria.
Obama’s U-Turn on Afghanistan: US Combat Role Secretly Extended
US President Barack Obama has secretly signed an order which allows US troops to be involved in combat operations in Afghanistan throughout 2015.
The order will authorize American forces to continue their missions against the Taliban and other militant groups, the New York Times reports.
The new order also allows for air support - from US jets, bombers and drones, for Afghan combat missions, according to the report,.
The Times quotes an administration official as saying that US forces will not carry out "offensive missions" on the Taliban in 2015.
“We will no longer target belligerents solely because they are members of the Taliban,” the official said. “To the extent that Taliban members directly threaten the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to Al Qaeda, however, we will take appropriate measures to keep Americans safe.”
Obama’s new decision has been made in recent weeks with his top national security advisors.
Previously, the president said that US-led NATO combat operations would finish at the end of this year.
The NATO follow up mission, to take over on January 1st with 9,800 US troops and about 3,000 soldiers from Germany, Italy and other member nations, was to focus on supporting Afghan forces as they take on the Taliban, in parallel with US counter-terrorism operations.
Russian FM Urges Recognition of Palestinian State The Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergei Lavrov today urges an end to the long armed conflict with Israel, and the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, and presses as a solution, recognition of the Palestinian State.
During his address to the meeting of the Council for Foreign Policy and Defense, Lavrov says the question of a Palestinian state should no longer be frozen.
"It is important to understand that problems can not continue in deep freeze all the time, while the Arab-Israeli conflict is still at a standstill, notes the head of Russian diplomacy.
The situation in the Palestinian territories, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen and the overall convulsive situation in the Middle East, was discussed the previous evening, by Lavrov and his counterpart from Saudi Arabia, Saud al Faisal, during official talks in Moscow.
The leaders of the Palestinian Authority demand that the UN Security Council force Israel to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as a factor in the escalation of confrontation and the rise in civilian deaths on both sides.
West Hopes for a Change of Regime in Russia Says FM
The West has the deliberate intention of destroying Russia's economy and changing the government regime and does not hide it today, stresses Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
The purpose of Western sanctions is to change the regime, and it does not even hide it, stresses Lavrov, in his address to the assembly of the Council for Foreign policy and defense.
He says Western leaders speak publicly that restrictive measures should be such so that they can destroy our economy and raise popular protests in the country.
In the election campaign of President Vladimir Putin for a third term, Russian pro-Western opposition parties called, in February 2012, for massive demonstrations to be held in a so-called anti-Putin Million March, in May, after his presidential inauguration.
Lavrov considers the West is trying to act in a 'thirst for widening the geopolitical space', as traders fears of losing their benefits are obvious.
The foreign minister repeats that the sanctions imposed by the US, EU and some allies are also detrimental to the promoting countries, besides destroying the main principles of international economic relations, he adds.
He also denies that such instruments of pressure, used in other global contexts, has achieved the political isolation of Russia, which is revealed as having multiple links with many countries, all over the world.
Salam on Lebanon's Independence Day:
"Country holds fast so far, We support any means to release kidnapped soldiers -- As long as they respect Lebanon's rights
PM Tammam Salam decries the Lebanon's current situation, contrasting today's leaders with the leading figures during independence, but accepts that the country's present state results from the accumulated malpractices of many years that have passed since.
"Nobody is exempt from the situation Lebanon is currently suffering from, but responsibility falls upon the leaders," Salam tells "Voice of Lebanon" radio, on Independence Day.
Salam adds that he has been trying to put things on the right track, but "it is tough and hard". "Despite that, the present situation in Lebanon is sound -- so far," the PM says, expressing his concern over immature political performances by some leaders, which might disrupt finding any political solutions to the current crisis and could drive the country to a deadlock. Commenting on claims that it takes more than agreements to build a country, Salam says: "In a diversified country like Lebanon, agreements among its citizens are basic to keep it healthy." Talking about what lies behind the failure of to reach a Lebanese-Lebanese consensus, Salam notes that foreign countries play an important role in the achievement of such settlements, adding that foreign forces are currently occupied in more dangerous issues of a higher priority than Lebanon.
Salam stresses the importance of internal agreement among all parties for "no party can triumph over the other," underscoring that agreement has obviously recognisable characteristics, primarily dialogue, open- ness and recognition of the other.
Talking about UN Security Council statements which call on the Lebanese to speed up the election of a new President, Salam says: "It seems that the international referees are keen to treat Lebanon's situation in a positive manner."
Responding to a question about the extent to which Speaker Nabih Berri's call for dialogue between the "Future" movement and Hizbullah has succeeded, Salam confirms that Speaker Berri "enjoys a special place that enables him to follow up on this issue… and employ his capabilities to find appropriate solutions."
Talking about the economic situation, he considers that the power void negatively affects the economic situation, not to mention the repercussions on Lebanon of Syria's population displacement.
Tackling the kidnapped security members and soldiers' issue, Salam stresses: "the cabinet's permanent keenness to adopt all means possible to set our sons free," supporting any means that might contribute to releasing them -- provided it respects the state's dignity and rights.
Talking about the possibility of reaching an agreement with Iran on its nuclear file and the impact of that on Lebanon, Salam confirms that any agreement of the kind will reflect positively on all countries and would result in more stability in the region.
US Escalates its Failed Strategy in Syria
Turkey and the United States have recently signed an agreement to train and equip 2,000 fighters of the "moderate" Syrian opposition, says Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.
Training these forces of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) will begin “late December” at Turkey's Kirsehir Training Centre, 150 klmtrs southeast of the Turkish capital, Ankara, adds the newspaper --- quoting unidentified sources.
The training will be carried out by the Turkish and US military, but the equipment and cost of the training will be entirely paid by the US, says Hürriyet. The final details of the plan were agreed at a meeting between the military leaders of the two countries.
Shortly after, The Washington Post indicated that the US government has been studying plans to increase the CIA’s role in arming and training of “moderate” (a term meaning they are willing to surrender their country to the Western powers) terrorists in Syria, a move aimed at escalating covert US support.
The Pentagon is preparing to establish its own training bases, US officials say, opines the Post: “The proposed CIA buildup would expand a covert mission that's grown substantially over the past year”.” The agency now arms and trains about 400 rebels each month” and a similar number is expected “to be trained by the Pentagon when its program reaches full strength late next year”.
However, this strategy is now facing its first obstacles, writes Yusuf Fernandez on al Manar.
Firstly, it has led ISIL and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front to sign an alliance, fighting both the Syrian Army and the US-backed forces. In a meeting held on November 2nd in the northern Syrian town of Atareb, both groups, the largest ones in the Syrian terrorist camp, agreed not to fight against each another and to cooperate against their common enemies.
Before the US started its airstrikes in Syria in September, ISIL and al Nusra Front were fierce enemies, fighting each other for leadership of the insurgency.
The US air war targeting both groups has persuaded them to cooperate against a mutual enemy.
Their alliance, Yusuf Fernandez on al Manar says, presents more difficulties for the US strategy against ISIL. He says the union of both groups will make them more effective against US-backed rebels, who are already considered to be weak and disorganized.
al Nusra Front has already almost wiped out the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and the Hazm Movement, two rebel groups armed and trained by the United States.
On November 1st, SRF surrendered after the fall of Deir Sinbal, its main stronghold in Syria, and agreed to hand over all their weapons and bases to the Nusra Front.
Another dozen rebel-controlled villages in the Idlib province were also captured. “As a movement, the SRF is effectively finished," says Aymen al-Tammimi, a Syrian analyst, to the Daily Telegraph. “Nusra has driven them out of their Idlib & Hama strongholds.”
Captured US weapons included anti-tank missiles and GRAD rockets, adding to the sizable stock of US weapons now in the hands of ISIL and The Nusra Front in Iraq and Syria.
Despite being small factions within the terrorist camp in Syria, the US gave SRF and the Hazm Movement, large amounts of advanced weapons.
The very next day, the Harakat Movement also surrendered their military bases and weapons to al Nusra Front, when the latter seized the villages it controlled in northern Idlib province.
ISIL sent 100 fighters to help al Nusra Front to take over the town of Khan al Sunbul in northern Syria but their intervention became unnecessary because the Hazm Movement surrendered without fighting and 65 of its militants defected to al Nusra Front.
al Nusra Front also took over the town of Minnig in Aleppo Province, on the outskirts of the city. Its fighters ordered all other US- backed rebels there to disband and turn their weapons over to them.
As a result, there are already only two effective fighting forces in Aleppo province now: The al Nusra Front and Syria's Army.
Another report by AP, confirms that the “moderate rebels” that Washington is boosting “are instead hemorrahaging on multiple fronts". Some of their leaders have been killed.
“This is the end of the Free Syrian Army," says Alaa al-Deen, an opposition activist in Idlib, of Western-backed militant groups.
He adds that - in recent weeks - dozens of leaders of the “moderate” terrorist groups have been eliminated.
For the US, Yusuf Fernandez on al Manar says, the defeat of these groups, which had been trying to present themselves as successful examples for the US in Syria, is a humiliating blow, at a time when the US administration is increasing the training of "its" rebels.
The Syrian population is also fed up with these terrorists, who are supported by the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
While Washington has been selling the idea that these people, who largely share the extremist ideology of their new enemies, are “freedom fighters”, Syrians see them as just terrorists, bandits, and brutal exploiters.
In Douma, the main rebel stronghold in Eastern Gouta, near Damascus, several clashes occurred on November 14th, after an attack by inhabitants of the city, against a grocery store controlled by a rebel group.
US and Saudi patronage of the “moderate rebel groups” has convinced Syrians that they are just mercenaries who seek to impose foreign control over Syria, and thus put an end to the prominent role that the country has played in the Middle East for decades.
Therefore, Syrians will fight these forces in order to maintain their independence.
US support for terrorist groups in Syria also violates international law, which prohibits states from giving aid to foreign insurgents who seek to overthrow legal governments in other countries.
In this sense, US actions against Syria are a threat to the whole international community and the international legal framework. They are also a proxy war against Syria´s allies, especially Iran, Russia and China.
The new US plans in Syria, instead of drawing the right lessons from failure --- the first of which is that any successful strategy against terrorism in Syria needs the cooperation of the Syrian Army and State, which are the most effective forces in the anti-ISIS fight --- the US Administration sticks once again to the failed strategy of supporting non-existent “moderate rebels”.
It means that there is not a new strategy, but an escalation that has been going on in recent months and which will become a more serious failure for US' foreign policy.
Russia Warns of Signs of Change in US Policy Towards Ukraine Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Alexander Lukashevich says today that the visit of US Vice President 'Joe' Biden to Kiev might mean a change of direction into open military support to that country.
Lukashevich considers as a serious sign, recent pronouncements in Washington about US administration plans to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, which would mean a clear, direct violation of the Geneva agreements, he says.
The diplomat says that Moscow paid attention to the trip to Washington of representatives of the 'volunteer" battalions, which took part in the 'cleansing' operations in Donbass, to ask for military assistance from the US government.
In his opinion, the public announcements of the White House and Biden's visit, might give signs of a cardinal change in US policy regarding the conflict in southeastern Ukraine.
He recalls that the Geneva declaration in April, focussing on the end of armed confrontation and the start of a broad national dialogue, was reached with US participation.
If a change in that policy occurs, any military support will be a destabilizing factor leading to a modification of the balance of power in the Ukrainian conflict, he says, adding that military support to Kiev will ignore the basic principles of the Organization for Security & cooperation in Europe, accepted by all of its members, regarding the transfer of weapons in conflict areas.
Biden recently told Ukrainian newspaper Den that he had many important announcements to be addressed to the Ukrainian government and people when he arrived in Kiev for his visit.
He was scheduled to arrive in Kiev last night with Assistant Secretary of State for Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland.
Zionist Settlers Storm Al-Aqsa Mosque, Clashes Reported in WB
Zionist settlers, backed by occupation police, stormed al-Aqsa Mosque yesterday in al-Quds (Jerusalem), sparking clashes with Palestinians who reject any desecration of the holy mosque.
Media reports say Palestinians intercepted the Zionist settlers, backed by occupation police. Fierce clashes were reported at the scene, injuring dozens of Palestinians.
Clashes were reported in other neighborhoods across the West Bank, as Israeli occupation police fired live bullets and tear gas at the Palestinian civilians.
The IDF also raided the houses of the two Palestinians who carried out operation in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday, in a bid to destroy the houses. But Palestinian residents prevented the occupation police from doing so.
Tensions in the West Bank are rising, especially in the occupied city of al-Quds, where extremist Zionists have been calling for Jews to pray in the holy al-Aqsa Mosque, a desecration that is totally rejected by Palestinians and Muslims.
Turkey doomed to fall under Erdogan: Ex-president
Former Turkish President Abdullah Gul slams the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warning that Ankara is doomed to collapse, if it continues its foreign policy on Iraq and Syria.
Gul criticizes the Turkish president’s policies on the chaotic situation in neighboring Syria, saying: “I am sure that one day (God forbid) the chickens of Erdogan’s past follies in Syria will come home to roost."
The former Turkish leader goes on to say that Ankara’s spy agencies have played a key role in the transportation of the Takfiri militants fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, ever since the crisis erupted in Syria in 2011.
Erdogan’s strategic blunders in neighboring Syria and Iraq are behind the emergence of the ISIL Takfiri terrorists, who're committing atrocities in those areas under their control in both countries, according to Gul.
He slams the US-led “idiots’ club” coalition currently carrying out airstrikes against ISIL hideouts in Iraq and Syria.
Gul adds that some Saudi-backed terrorist organizations operating against Syria, such as the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, have been working with Western spy agencies, including the CIA.
He adds that mutual cooperation existed
“between Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MÄ°T)” & the ISIL extremist terrorists.
The ISIL terrorists entered Iraq in June. The violence is seen as a spillover of militancy from Syria, where Takfiri groups fighting the Damascus government are enjoying support from the US and its allies, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.
OSCE monitors says Ukrainian troops shot in their direction twice in past two days...
One incident took place on Wednesday near the village of Marinovka, the other one was reported on Tuesday in the town of Debaltsevo
Ukrainian troops opened fire at monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) twice in the last two days, states the regular daily up- date of OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine made public Wednesday.
The OSCE monitors were unhurt.
"On November 19th, at “12:38hrs, an OSCE convoy composed of two vehicles was travelling east from Kurakhovo (30km west of Donetsk) towards the city of Donetsk. Near the area of Mariinka, about 80m ahead of the convoy, there was a flat-bed cargo truck carrying a large green wooden box, with 2 uniformed personnel on board wearing helmets.
"The SMM observed tactical marks of two white vertical lines on the tail-gate of the vehicle and on the passenger door. One of the soldiers stood up and fired two shots in the direction of the OSCE convoy. The bullets struck about 2m from the second OSCE vehicle. The SMM staff travelling in this vehicle heard sharp sounds originating from road or bullet fragments impacting on their car.”
On November 18th, the SMM was traveling towards Perevalsk, when it came under gunfire. They report that the SMM “was not allowed to pass” through a checkpoint controlled by Ukrainian forces at the entrance of a bridge in a northeastern suburb of the town of Debaltsevo. “Instead, the SMM was told to take a long roundabout route to bypass the bridge,” the report says.
Returning from Perevalsk, the mission came to the bridge & stopped at another checkpoint directly opposite the one on the other side of the bridge.
“As the SMM stopped in expectation of a further command, a warning shot was fired by CP staff in the direction of the OSCE car,” the document says.
Israel slams Spain's vote for Palestinian recognition
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has harshly criticized the Spanish parliament for passing a non-binding resolution calling for recognition of a Palestinian state, saying such measures "push away" the chances of reaching an agreement.
"The Spanish parliament's declaration only pushes away further the chance of reaching an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, because it encourages the Palestinians to take extreme positions," the ministry says in its statement.
The ministry also slams the timing of the vote, which took place Tuesday evening, the same day in which a murderous militant attack at a synagogue in Jerusalem, killed five Israelis.
Spain's parliament passed the symbolic motion, calling upon the government to recognize a Palestinian state, with 319 parliament members voting for it and just two voting against it.
"It's not binding," Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told media in Belgium, the day before the vote:
"It does not set a timeline for the recognition, it gives the government the margin to proceed with the recognition, when it feels it will be opportune," he added.
Both the UK and Irish parliaments made similar non- binding resolutions last month, after Sweden, was the first major Western European country to announce its acknowledgement of a Palestinian state, in October.
French politicians vote on a similar bill next week.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu criticizes the wave of symbolic recognition of a Palestinian state and blames the countries that want to "reward" Palestinians for their "constant incitement" via the Palestinian Authority, and urges the international community to denounce terror.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in April and the Palestinian Authority has been seeking diplomatic avenues to end the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel faces a diplomatic crisis, with its relations with the US at a low point, and growing criticism over its ongoing expansion of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The European Union is considering imposing sanctions on Israel over its settlement policy.
In addition, Israel has been under scrutiny for its offensive in the recent Gaza War, which killed over 2,000 Palestinians: mostly civilians.
Extraterritorial Threat of Vulture Funds Denounced in France The ruling by a US judge to force Argentina to pay a disproportionate sum to speculators is now a threat to EVERY States'' sovereignty, several French experts state.
Judge Thomas Griesa, from a New York court, has sentenced Buenos Aires to comply with the demands of so-called vulture funds, which bought Argentina's public debts at less than 15 percent of its real value -- but now plan to collect all of it.
According to Pierre Salama, professor emeritus of the University of Paris, it is a decision that goes beyond the scope of a dispute between a small group of voracious creditors and the Argentinean State, and is now a real threat to all countries.
If Argentina had accepted Griesa's ruling in the United States, its sovereignty would have disappeared, said the experts during a debate about the issue held at the House of Latin America in the French capital.
For his part, the economist Dominique Plihon said it is another case of juridical extraterritoriality committed by US justice.
The United States imposes its norms on others, although the entire Argentinean debt affected by the demand from the speculators isn't on US territory, he noted.
He recalled that the case was criticized at several levels, such as the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Between 2005 - 2010, Argentina successfully concluded negotiations to restructure 93% of its debt, a landmark in international economic relations.
Carlos Quenan, a professor at the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle, says the predatory acts of the vulture funds demand a permanent global solution.
Jose Eduardo Weisfreid, of the executive committee of France-Amérique Latine, said that Argentina's public debt is an inheritance from the US-backed military dictatorship and neoliberal government of President Carlos Menem, which plunged the country into poverty.
Independent report saying bombings of IS positions kill civilians alarming — Russian FM
“The fact of civilian casualties resulting from UN-unauthorized bombings of Islamic State positions, quoted by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria under the UN Council for Human Rights, are alarming, the Russian Foreign Ministry says.
“On November 14, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Republic, established by the UN Human Rights Council, published a report entitled Rule of Terror: Living under ISIL (Islamic State's former name was Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). It was drawn up at Russia’s request and supported by 17 other states,” the Foreign Ministry says.
“One cannot but feel concern over the fact that the Commission mentions civilian deaths in the course of UN-unauthorized bombings of ISIL positions in Syria by the United States and its allies,” the Foreign Ministry says.
“We fully share the Commission’s call for the resumption of intra-Syrian talks with the aim of normalization of the political situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” Russia's Foreign Ministry says.
“Joint work against terrorism must become one of the key topics of a dialogue between the Syrian government and a credible delegation of the Syrian opposition."
Greeks march to commemorate 1973 uprising on International Student's Day
Thousands of Greeks have taken to the streets of the capital, Athens, to commemorate the 1973 student uprising against the country's US-backed military dictatorship.
Over 20,000 demonstrators took part in the peaceful march on Monday, marking the 41st anniversary of the National Technical University of Athens (Athens Polytechnic) uprising, which began on November 14th, 1973, and ended in bloodshed in the early morning of November 17.
The annual rally in which the students, joined by trade union members, marched from the Polytechnic University to the US embassy, was policed by some 7,000 officers.
Greek officials closed down most of the city’s universities and banned all sit-ins.
As part of security measures in the city, the authorities closed off major streets and underground stations.
Athens' Law School and Athens University of Economics were also cordoned off by security police.
On November 13th, police forces gathered outside the Athens Law School and Athens University of Economics after a decision by the universities’ authorities not to shut down the schools ahead of the November 17th anniversary.
Brief clashes broke out when the students tried to enter the school building, with police using tear gas to disperse them.
The November 17th anniversary marks the student uprising against Greece's military rule in 1973, to which police and the Greek military responded by opening fire on protesters and bystanders, killing hundreds of them.
EU discusses sanctions against eastern Ukraine
The Council of the European Union (EU) on Monday discussed more sanctions targeting eastern Ukraine.
No more sanctions were announced against Russia. The EU said in a statement that they will continue to closely follow the situation in Ukraine and "act accordingly".
Tension has escalated since the Kiev authorities decided to repeal a law granting special status to Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which raised fears that an ongoing prisoners-of-war swap may be disrupted.
The EU called on all parties to follow the Minsk agreements, underlining the need to intensify talks within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.
The Kiev government and the leaders in the south East signed a ceasefire deal on September 5th in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk, to de-escalate tensions and release of hundreds of prisoners-of-war.
The Minsk agreement was signed by representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics under the OSCE deal.
Israel Assures Expansion in Jerusalem "Will Continue" Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Israel WILL continue expanding in East Jerusalem, despite the fact that it violates international law & compromises the remote possibility of an agreement with Palestinians.
"We will never accept the definition of the constructions in Jerusalem as settlements. We will not admit any limits to construction in all areas of Jerusalem," says the minister in a joint press conference with the German Foreign Minister, Frank Walter Steinmeier.
In 1980, Israel annexed East Jerusalem (Al Quds to Muslims), and declared it as its "eternal, indivisible capital", in a resolution that has been considered as illegal by the international community, which also condemns the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
A few days ago, Tel Aviv allowed the building of 200 homes in Jerusalem, shortly after beginning the process of constructing 167 other houses.
In recent weeks, the city, which is sacred to the three major monotheistic religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, was the scene of clashes between local people and occupying troops, due to outrages against the Al Aqsa Mosque, one of the three most sacred places for Muslims.
AID FOR FELLOW COMRADES
Russia’s humanitarian convoy, which took aid to Donetsk city in eastern Ukraine, has returned to Russia’s southern Rostov region, Oleg Voronov, a deputy head of the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s National Crisis Management Centre, says.
Early on Sunday, over 50 lorries delivered 350 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Donetsk. It took several hours to unload them.
“Over 50 lorries crossed Russia's border and returned to the Rostov region empty,” Voronov says, adding that "no incidents" were reported during the mission.
Earlier, another 20 lorries returned to Rostov region -- leaving 100 tonnes of humanitarian help in Lugansk, also in eastern Ukraine.
Kiev's authorities have driven Ukraine into an energy crisis --- just as winter kicks in.
Shortly after a gas war over Kiev’s reluctance to pay Moscow for previously supplied fuel... Ukraine is in a real crisis over a coal scandal.
A high-profile deal for the importation of coal from S Africa through the London-registered company, Steel Mont Trading Ltd. has fallen through with a resounding crash.
After the first 250,000 tons reached Ukraine, Kiev stopped paying. Steel Mont Trading Ltd, which purchased the coal for Ukraine with a loan taken on especially for the purpose, had to enter then settle up with the lender bank. So the company refused to send any more coal from South Africa, to avoid further damage to its reputation.
Ukraine's Prosecutor-General’s Office is now taking criminal proceedings on the suspicion of embezzlement of state funds.
Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan and the head of the Ukrinterenergo company, Vladimir Zinkevich, have been questioned.
'Friendly' Poland is refusing to supply coal. Its Economics Minister, J Piechoczinski, has said publicly, that Ukraine would like to have Polish coal for nothing.
Kiev adviser Prodan:
“the coal supply situation looks really dangerous and the country will have great trouble getting through the autumn and winter period.”
He says Kiev has no option left other than to try to purchase coal from Russia or the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
At the Cabinet meeting the Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk asked if there was any possibility of importing coal from Australia or the United States. Prodan replied that finding an agent in these countries would take no less than six weeks -- and winter freezing is just around the corner.
The leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic say supplies to Ukraine are ruled out, as long as hostilities go on.
The Donetsk Republic’s Thermo-electric Industry Minister, Aleksey Granovsky, dismisses the possibility of supplying fuel to anyone the Donetsk Republic sees as an aggressor.
Besides, Kiev has for many months paid no wages to coalminers, and has also frozen the coalmines’ bank accounts.
After the recent decision to stop paying pensions & grants to Donbass residents, Yatsenyuk will have problems conducting fuel negotiations with Donetsk.
The Russian Energy Ministry says it sees no barrier to supplying coal to Ukraine "on a commercial basis".
Until recently Ukraine was Europe’s third largest coal producer. In 2013 Donbass cut 83,600 tons, but a military crackdown on the South-East, has now stopped the operation of 145 pits.
Instead of looking for a way out of the coal crisis, Yatsenyuk has ordered the Security Services to investigate “who's behind the re-division of the coal market.”
“The problems with supplying coal to freezing Ukraine is a precise replica of Kiev’s relations with Russian gas provider Gazprom. The Kiev authorities want to have fuel now, but prefer to pay sometime in the future, or not at all.
"Having received the first consignment of coal from South Africa they turned for more. In South Africa they were told: ‘Come on, guys, you haven't paid for the first one yet.’
Further supplies were cancelled,” an adviser to the chief of the Russian government’s Centre of Analysis, Vladimir Averchev, says.
“The authorities in Kiev hoped that the whole world would rush to rebuild Ukraine into a shop-window for the ‘free world’. But neither the EU nor the IMF have even the slightest intention of indulging in charity,” he says.
“In their policies towards Kiev, both the EU & the IMF proceed from their own analysis of the overall political situation there.
"3 weeks after elections to the Verkhovna Rada, no government coalition has been formed yet. A standoff between President Poroshenko and PM Yatsenyuk is getting worse. No economic reforms are in sight. The military conflict in the southeast of the country keeps smouldering. The treasury is empty. The authorities are unable to honor their liabilities.
"In a situation like this, Ukraine may well suffer not just an energy crisis, but an utter collapse,” Averchev says.
Ukraine Orders Closure of All State Services in East
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has issued a decree, ordering the withdrawal of all state services from the east.
A senior security official says on condition of anonymity, that this covers all services such as schools, kindergartens, hospitals, and emergency services.
“All structures that the state finances will be withdrawn from there,” says the unnamed official, adding, “Ukraine will no longer finance them.”
The crisis in Ukraine was high on the agenda at a summit of leaders of the world’s 20 major economies, known as the G20, in Brisbane...
Western leaders there, criticized Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, accusing Moscow of involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
Putin’s foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, told reporters at the G20 summit earlier on Saturday, that Moscow is not involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine and is not responsible for the escalation of the violence there.
Head of LNR: "socio-economic blockade of Donbas, an act of genocide"
Igor Plotnitsky, head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, describes as genocide the Ukrainian president’s decree imposing a socio-economic blockade on the districts in Donetsk and Lugansk.
“Today’s decree issued by (President Poroshenko) for a full economic blockade of the Donbas region is an act of genocide, designed to impoverish and destroy our people,” Plotnitsky stresses, adding that the Donbas population made its choice at their elections on November the 2nd.
“We're not going to sheer away from our path. We are going to live better than Ukraine, for which, the power of the oligarchs will turn out to be worse and more destructive than any blockade,” Plotnitsky adds
Iraq army, Shia fighters, retake NE dam from ISIL
Shia fighters and the Iraqi army have managed to seize back control of one of the country’s largest dams from the Takfiri terrorist ISIL group.
Army commandos & Shia Badr fighters led the operation to retake the Adhaim dam in northeastern Iraq.
"Thanks to the mujahedeen of the army and Badr, we have taken control of the site and have cleared it completely," Badr commander Kadhem Husseinawi, states.
The operation involved mortar fire and strikes by helicopters as well as jet fighters, and saw pro-government forces seize 10+ vehicles - including Humvees and armored personnel carriers - and destroy four others.
Iraqi army forces have also broken the siege on the country’s main oil refinery in restive Salahuddin Province, where security forces are also fighting ISIL terrorists.
The refinery, located near Baiji city in the north, had been besieged by ISIL militants for months. It gives 300,000 barrels of oil per day to Iraq, meeting a huge proportion of Iraq’s needs.
The ISIL terrorists hold large areas across eastern Syria, as well as in northern and western Iraq.
The militants have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, like public decapitations, against Iraqi communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians.
Lebanese, Palestinian Resistance Own Fateh-Class Missiles: Iranian Commander
An Iranian commander says the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance groups possess Fateh-class missiles developed by Iran a few years ago.
Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Aerospace Force Brigadier General Seyed Majid Moussavi, says that the late commander and head of the IRGC Missile Research Centre, Martyr Major General Tehrani Moqaddam, supported and helped Hezbollah and Palestinian resistance groups to develop missile capabilities.
Moqaddam was martyred in an explosion in 2011.
"Considering the range of their missiles, they are now able to attack all targets from the South to the North of the occupied territories," Moussavi told 'Qiam Sejjilha' magazine, Fars news reports.
"Based on what has been announced so far, their operational missile capability includes a full, vast, but of course hidden, number and type of Fateh class missiles, and this missile capability can be used and has been organized," Moussavi added.
Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, says Syria's missile-production plants were built by Iran.
"The missile production plants in Syria were built by Iran and missiles designed by Iran are being produced there," Hajizadeh said.
He added that even the resistance front in Palestine and Lebanon, had received missile-production training from Iran.
"Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance have grown very powerful in this field (missile production) now," he said.
British Female Terrorist Reported Shot Dead in Ukraine
A British female terrorist suspect who allegedly fought alongside ISIL terrorists in Syria and was wanted internationally, has been reportedly shot dead in Ukraine, a Russian news agency reports.
Samantha Lewthwaite, 30, known as the “white widow,” was allegedly gunned down 2 weeks ago, Regnum news says, although there has been no independent confirmation.
A source at the UK's foreign office told ITV News that “we are aware of reports that Samantha Lewthwaite has been killed in Ukraine”.
Lewthwaite recently fought with one of Kiev’s most infamous squads --- the Aidar battalion --- condemned by Amnesty International for its unmatched cruelty in eastern Ukraine.
It was said to be “involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.”
She was reportedly a sniper for the group. Her killer was also a sniper - allegedly one who travelled from Russia as a volunteer to fight near Lugansk. Regnum is reporting that the Ukrainians have put out a million-dollar bounty out on him.
The White Widow was deemed one of Britain’s and the world’s most wanted terrorists.
She left the country in 2009 before links to atrocities in Africa began to pop up.
Prior to that, she had been married first to the Jamaican-born British suicide bomber, Germaine Lindsay. Her second marriage was to a British-born Muslim extremist, who was reportedly killed in a shoot-out between two splinter groups within Al-Shabab, RT reports.
She was also a mother of four.
In Africa she fought with the Al-Shabab terrorist group in Somalia, who were implicated in Kenya’s Westgate shopping mall massacre of September 2013. It turned out she was actually the master- mind behind the operation.
Witnesses reported a white female among the assailants. 67 people died at the as a result of her Westgate plan.
She used a fake passport to escape Kenya to her supposedly native South Africa. That was the last anyone has heard of her until now, when she was apparently spotted in Ukraine.
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas warns Israel against the continuation of its siege on the war-battered Gaza Strip.
“We're saying to all sides: if the siege on Gaza and the obstacles to reconstruction remain, there will be a new explosion,” says Abu Obeida, a spokesperson for the Ezzedine al- Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.
“We hold the enemy fully responsible for an explosion if reconstruction does not begin,” Abu Obeida says, adding that “the fight is not over.”
Gaza has been blockaded since 2007, which has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unending poverty.
Israel heavily pounded the blockaded coastal sliver in a recent war that started on July 8th and ended on August 26th with a truce.
Over 2,140 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women, children, and the elderly, were killed in the 50 days of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. Around 11,000 others were injured.
China partners Mexico 14 Agreements signed The presidents of China and Mexico have held official talks and attended the signing of 14 multi- million agreements that represent a deep change in bilateral relations, says the Mexican president Ebrique Pena Nieto.
There was an official ceremony at the Great Hall of the People led by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who later held an official meeting.
The two sides signed 14 agreements of major importance, including the creation of a bi- national investment fund of 2,5 billion dollars, (rising to nine billion), allocated to companies of both nations investing in various sectors.
President Peña Nieto says that among the priority areas are energy, mining, infrastructure, high-tech manufacturing and tourism.
The authorization for operation in Mexico of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's largest, is among the agreements to boost cooperation between development banks, to finance and guarantee companies involved in big projects.
Russian Spokesman Denies Alleged Military Presence in Ukraine
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense of Russia, Gen. Igor Konashenkov, denies Western reports of an alleged incursion by Kremlin troops into Ukraine, terming them 'absolutely groundless'.
Moscow no longer takes notice of the words - lacking any evidence - of the commander of NATO forces in Europe, Philip Breedlove, says the spokesperson.
Reuters news agency quotes Breedlove as saying that the troops commanded by him witnessed the entry into Ukraine of a mass of combat vehicles, artillery equipment, anti-missile systems and troops.
The National Security & Defense Council also claims to have seen movements of Russian troops and military equipment, though it failed to specify where the deployments occurred.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported last weekend a deployment of two columns of military vehicles through territories controled by the People's Republic of Donetsk, but it failed to specify their origin.
However, the second in command of the militias, Eduard Basurin, tells Novosti news agency that those columns belonged to the PRD, and justified their movement with the increasing arrtillery attacks by Kiev using multiple missile lanuchers Grad, Uragan and other heavy armaments.
They fired those weapons not only at the positions of the rebel forces, but against residential neighborhoods, says Basurin, in a report on channel 1 that showed live images of the shootings.
Russia's foreign Ministry reiterates that Moscow is not involved in clashes in southeast Ukraine and wishes for a solution to the political and economic crisis there.
Reconciliation: Centre of Colombian Challenge for Peace
After his European tour searching for support for the so-called post-conflict stage, the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, states that his biggest challenge today is to strengthen national reconciliation.
What is important is the word Reconciliation for a society that needs to release the ballast of violence and move on, insists the president in dialogue with journalists.
"There are Colombians", he says, "who are afraid of peace - and I will not even mention those who want to perpetuate war because of their egos and political motivations.
As a result of talks in Cuba, the parties reached a consensus on integrated rural reform, political participation, and drugs.
Russia Responds to NATO Challenges by Rearming Crimea
Russia has responded to the permanent presence of troops from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in bordering countries by deploying air means and high-precision missiles with nuclear capacity, in Crimea, the local media reports.
An article by Viktor Litovkin, expert in military affairs, published on the RBTH website, warns that the presence of Tu-22M3 remote-control bombers in the airdrome of Gvardeiski, on the Peninsula of Crimea, in the Black Sea, is part of Moscow's natural reaction.
The expert explains that Tu-22M3s can carry cruise missiles, including those that carry nuclear warheads.
Another weapon that Russia has deployed on Crimean territory are the Iskander-M ground tactical operational systems, which launch R-500 high-precision cruise missiles with a range of up to 500 kilometers and can carry nuclear warheads.
Litovkin points out that the ships and units of the Black Sea Fleet stationed there would deploy squads of Su-24 assault planes and coastal defense means equipped with Bal and Bastion system, which carry Uran and Onix antiship cruise missiles.
The reinforcement also includes self-propelled units of Msta-S artillery, launching platforms for Tornado-G missiles, Jrisantema-S self- propelled antitank rockets, Pantsir-S1 anti- aircraft missiles, Krasuja electronic war systems and other means to defend Crimea.
Russia is concerned over NATO's expansion eastward, as its troops are already deployed permanently in bordering countries such as Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania, a situation that didn't exist --- even during the worst times of the Cold War.
US Drone in Northwest Pakistan Kills Six
Officials say six unidentified persons are dead after missiles hit a compound in N. Waziristan.
North Waziristan, since June 15th, has been over-run by Pakistan's army which launched a major operation there, to eliminate those accused of orchestrating acts of terrorism in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan.
The Pakistani army says it has cleared the rebels from more than 80% of the region.
US drone strikes are widely unpopular in Pakistan and are seen as a violation of national sovereignty.
This attack implies that there might be an increase in the use of drones in the region in the near future.
Iran says missile program non-negotiable in nuclear talks
Iran's missile program is non- negotiable in any talks between the Islamic republic and the powers, Brig. Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh is quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' Aerospace Force, said the West's insistence that Iran's ballistic missiles should become a subject of negotiations is a testimony to the country's good capabilities in that sphere.
"They (Westerners) would have denied Iran such a capability if they could," the commander said. "But our missile power is non- negotiable."
His comments came against the backdrop of a trilateral meeting in Muscat, Oman, of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, EU envoy, Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif.
The two-day meeting on Sunday and Monday, came just 2 weeks before a Nov. 24 deadline for reaching a comprehensive deal on the controversial nuclear program of the Islamic republic.
UN envoy to meet armed militants' delegation in Syria's Homs
Visiting United Nations envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura headed on Monday to Syria's central city of Homs to meet with a delegation of armed militants in a rebel-held area there, sources and media reports say.
The pro-government al-Watan daily says the envoy, who arrived in Syria on Saturday, will be holding meetings with a number of Homs-based UN officials and will also meet a delegation of the armed rebels who are entrenched in the rebel-held district of al- Waer, the last rebel stronghold inside Homs city.
De Mistura has recently proposed a plan for a "local freeze of battles" in the northern province of Aleppo so that the focus can be shifted from military means to political ones.
Syria's leadership, while not officially commenting on the plan, appears skeptical, and sources familiar with the situation say the Damascus administration wants to implement in Aleppo the "reconciliation" policy it recently adopted in Homs, which could explain the envoy's visit to that key Syrian city.
The Syrian government implemented what it calls "national reconciliation" in several rebel-held areas in Homs. The opposition activists charge that what actually happened wasn't reconciliation as the rebels had already agreed to "reconcile" after a months-long siege by government troops.
On the other hand, the government says the reconciliation in Homs city was successful and could be repeated in Aleppo, where Syria's army is fighting intense battles to secure the city.
Ali Haidar, the minister of national reconciliation, is quoted by the al-Watan paper as saying that the Syrian government wants the city of Aleppo free of arms & armed men, through a wide-scale local reconciliation and a halt to military operations.
The minister demands more clarification from de Mistura about his "freezing battles" idea, wondering if the situation can stay the same, or might actually move toward establishing a reconciliation that could lead to emptying Aleppo of armed men and weapons.
"We cannot have talks about areas where there are weapons, except the government troops' ones," he is quoted by al-Watan, as saying.
Meanwhile, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad wrote an op-ed in a Lebanese newspaper on Sunday, saying the Syrian army will liberate the city of Aleppo from "terrorists," yet another sign of the government's resolve to recapture the rebel-held areas in Aleppo.
Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi also said "the political solution in Syria will not eclipse the counter-terror efforts and we will not allow the terrorist organizations to be part of the political solution," a stance that has repeatedly been voiced by the Syrian leadership.
Israel wants to confiscate over 3,000 acres in West Bank ‘for military purposes’ – report
Israel plans to take 3,176 acres of Palestinian land around a West Bank village near central Jerusalem, say residents of the village who were handed orders signed by the head of IDF Central Command, Ma’an news reports.
Beit Iksa residents told Ma’an that the orders, signed by the Israeli military commander in the West Bank, Nitzan Alon, were distributed this weekend by the soldiers.
They gave residents of the village until 2017 to evacuate the land.
(Ma’an also published maps of the areas to be expropriated.)
Soldiers deployed at the military checkpoint at the entrance to the village have also told the residents that a liaison officer will arrive in the village on Monday, to clarify the order.
Soldiers said a decision was made in 2012, to seize land for “security needs in this village, adjacent to the green line,” Palestinian news agency WAFA reports.
They say the new order is intended to reinforce a previously taken decision.
The IDF spokesperson’s office refused to comment on the report to the Times of Israel.
The village is an area of great sensitivity as it is situated less than a kilometer from Route 1 – the main road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv – and is surrounded on all sides by the Israeli West Bank barrier.
Israeli forces closed off roads leading to the village in 2006.
Ma’an reports that 93% of the village is now under full Israeli military control, and the land is, de-facto, already confiscated.
Villagers can't go to Jerusalem without permits, and Palestinians from other areas cannot access the village.
The mayor of Beit Iksa, SaÊ»adeh al-Khatib, told WAFA that human rights organizations had to step in to help rescind the order, as it would prevent scores of farmers from accessing their own lands.
The occupied territories of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip have been seeking full statehood and independence from Israel for decades, with thousands of people having perished in one of the most prolonged and bitter confrontations in modern history.
The Palestinians have lobbied for full recognition as a sovereign state from the UN and the international community.
Palestine has already been granted non-member, observer-state status in the UN and it continues to push for recognition while Israel continues to proceed with plans to build thousands of new settler homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
More than 500,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and around east Jerusalem, built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Israel approved “an unprecedented” number of 13,851 new settler homes during nine-months of peace talks with Palestine, an Israeli NGO revealed in April.
The plans were all in West Bank areas, with 4,793 units approved for the construction in “isolated” settlements and 1,768 units closer to the Green Line, which separates Israeli territory and the occupied West Bank.
A secret memo from the FBI’s archives shows that Britain’s Winston Churchill once urged the US to drop an atomic bomb to "wipe out" the Kremlin.
He reportedly thought it was the only way to stop the spread of communism.
Churchill, Britain’s prime minister during World War II and again during the Cold War 1950s, made his views known to a visiting American politician in 1947, The Daily Mail has reported in a preview of a new book, “When Lions Roar: The Churchills & The Kennedys” by investigative journalist Thomas Maier. The book containing the secret FBI memo, is published next month.
Britain and the Soviet Union had been allies during WW2. However, according to the memo written by an FBI agent, Churchill asked a Right- wing Republican senator, Styles Bridges, to help persuade the then President Harry Truman, to launch a nuclear attack which would make the then USSR "easy to deal with".
The FBI memo claims Churchill insisted that the "only salvation for the civilization of the world would be if the President of the United States would declare Russia to be imperiling world peace and attack Russia."
The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb in 1949, much to the surprise to the United States, which was apparently unaware that the Soviet Union possessed nuclear weapons.
Britain’s wartime leader allegedly pledged that if an atomic bomb could be dropped on the Kremlin, "wiping it out," it would be "a very easy problem to handle Russia's balance, which would then be without direction."
Churchill, who served as UK PM twice, from 1940-45 and 1951-55, warned that if this was not done, Russia would attack America within "the next two or three years, when she gets the atomic bomb --- and civilization will be wiped out or set back many years."
USA Under Review by UN Committee Against Torture CIA secret detentions, the situation at Guantanamo prison, mistreatment of immigrants, and police brutality, are among the issues that the US will have to discuss with the UN Committee against Torture, according to reports here.
According to a press release by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the US will be subject on November 12-13th, to a review by the committee in charge of supervising the compliance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishments.
The authority in charge of monitoring the instrument adopted unanimously by the General Assembly in 1984, to which 156 of the 193 UN member countries, is beginning a new session at the Palace of Nations in Geneva on Monday.
The issues to be dealt with in the session include violations and illegalities committed by the US in recent years, in its campaign against terrorism, activated in response to attacks on Sep11, 2001.
According to the press release by the High Commissioners' Office, the extraterritorial measures and the CIA secret detentions stand out among the possible issues to be analyzed with the US delegation and representatives of non-governmental organizations, as part of the crusade.
Other worries related to Washington's behavior are indefinite imprisonments without charges or trials, at the prison built at Guantanamao naval base, a territory occupied against the will of the Cuban Government and people.
The US interrogation program, investigations and trial against those responsible for tortures and inhuman treatment to prisoners, abuse against immigrants, police brutality, in the application of the death penalty, long solitary confinements and sexual violence in the Army, complete the list of issues to be discussed.
Palestinians clash with Israeli forces in W Bank over restrictions
Palestinians have taken to the streets in the occupied West Bank, to protest against the Israeli regime’s new restrictive measures on Palestinians’ entry into the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Palestinian protesters held a demo at the Qalandia checkpoint, Beit Lahm and Hebron (al-Khalil) on Friday to express their anger at Israel’s decision to deny Palestinians under the age of 50 entry into the holy al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Palestinian protesters engaged in clashes with Israeli soldiers after the regime’s troops used tear gas to disperse demonstrators.
Meanwhile, Tel Aviv has deployed some 1,300 soldiers to east Jerusalem (al-Quds) to tackle possible Palestinian demonstrations against Israel’s violations in the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Over the past decades, Israel has tried to change the demographic makeup of al-Quds by building illegal settlements, destroying historical sites, and expelling the local Palestinian population.
The European Union’s new foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, has lashed out at Israel for its growing settlements on Palestinian land.
LIES ABOUT BIN LADEN's DEATH
RT, one of my favorite news sources, has fallen for a fake story put out by the Pentagon to support the fantasy story that a SEAL team killed Osama bin Laden, who died a second time in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a decade after his first death from illness and disease.
This fake story together with the fake movie and the fake book by an alleged SEAL team member is the way the fake story of bin Laden’s murder is perpetrated.
Bin Laden’s alleged demise at the hands of a SEAL team was a propaganda orchestration, the purpose of which was to give Obama a hero’s laurels and deep six Democratic talk of challenging his nomination for a second term.
Osama bin Laden died in December 2001 of renal failure and other health problems, having denied in his last recorded video any responsibility for 9/11, instead directing Americans to look inside their own government.
The FBI itself has stated that there is no evidence that Osama bin Laden is responsible for 9/11. Bin Laden’s obituary appeared in numerous foreign and Arabic press, and also on Fox News.
No one can survive renal failure for a decade, and no dialysis machine was found in the alleged Abbottabad compound of bin Laden, who allegedly was murdered by SEALs a decade after his obituary notices.
Additionally, no one among the crew of the ship from which the White House reported bin Laden was buried at sea saw any such burial, and the sailors sent messages home to that effect.
Somehow a burial was held onboard a ship on which there are constant watches and crew on alert at all hours, and no one witnessed it.
Additionally, the White House story of the alleged murder of bin Laden changed twice within the first 24 hours.
The claim that Obama and his government watched the action transmitted live from cameras on the SEALs’ helmets was quickly abandoned, despite the release of a photo of the Obama regime intently focused on a TV set and alleged to be watching the live action. No video of the deed was ever released.
To date there is no evidence whatsoever in behalf of the Obama regime’s claim. Not one tiny scrap. Just unsubstantiated self-serving claims.
Additionally, as I have made available on my website, witnesses interviewed by Pakistan TV reported that only one helicopter landed in Abbottabad and that when the occupants of the helicopter returned from the alleged bin Laden compound, the helicopter exploded on takeoff and there were no survivors.
In other words, there was no bin Laden corpse to deliver to the ship that did not witness a burial and no SEAL hero to return who allegedly murdered an unarmed bin Laden.
Moreover, the BBC interviewed residents in Abbottabad, including those next door to the alleged “bin Laden compound,” and all say that they knew the person who lived there and it was not bin Laden.
Any SEAL who was so totally stupid as to kill the unarmed “Terror Mastermind” would probably have been courtmartialed for incompetency. Look at the smiling face of the man Who Killed Bin Laden. He thinks that his claim that he murdered a man makes him a hero, a powerful comment on the moral degeneracy of Americans.
So what is this claim by Rob O’Neill about? He is presented as a “motivational speaker” in search of clients. What better ploy among gullible Americans than to claim “I am the one who shot bin Laden.”
Reminds me of the western movie: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. What better way to give Rob O’Neill’s claim validity than for the Pentagon to denounce his revelation for breaking obligation to remain silent. The Pentagon claims that O’Neill by claiming credit has painted a big target sign on our door asking ISIS to come get us
What unbelievable nonsense. ISIS and anyone who believed Obama’s claim to have done in bin Laden already knew, if they believed the lie, that the Obama regime claimed responsibility for murdering an unarmed bin Laden. The reason the SEAL team was prevented from talking is that no member of the team was on the alleged mission.
Just as the ship from which bin Laden was allegedly buried has no witnesses to the deed, the SEAL unit, whose members formed the team that allegedly dispatched an unarmed Terrorist Mastermind rather than to take him into custody for questioning, mysteriously died in a helicopter crash when they were loaded in violation of procedures in an unprotected 1960s vintage helicopter and sent into a combat zone in Afghanistan shortly after the alleged raid on “bin Laden’s compound.”
For awhile there were news reports that the families of these dead SEALS do not believe one word of the government’s account. Moreover, the families reported receiving messages from the SEALs that suddenly they felt threatened and did not know why. The SEALs had been asking one another: “Were you on the bin Laden mission?” Apparently, none were. And to keep this a secret, the SEALs were sent to their deaths.
Anyone who believes anything the US government says is gullible beyond the meaning of the word.
Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book is 'How America Was Lost'.
UK Ends Libyan Army Course After Sex Attacks
More than 300 members of the Libyan armed forces training in the UK, have been sent home early, after five soldiers appeared in court, accused of sex offences.
Members of the country's armed forces have been based at Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire since July, as part of the UK's "pledge" to support the Libyan government imposed by force.
The group had been due to return to their homeland at the end of this month but their stay has been cut short, after a series of alleged sexual attacks.
There had been plans to train about 2,000 Libyan troops at Bassingbourn.
Republican Party has Both Houses of US Congress
Republican legislators kept control by a large majority over their democrat party opponents in the mid-term elections held on Tuesday.
Nearly two million Hong Kong Citizens Oppose the Protest Movement
The Hong Kong Alliance for Peace & Democracy has collected 1,83 million signatures against the protests being held there by followers of the Occupy Central movement, since September 28th, it is reported today.
Reports from the Chinese special administrative region located in the south, reveal that Alliance representatives delivered a petition to the Chief Secretary of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, signed by 1.83 million people in the territory.
Speaking to the press, Lam says the Hong Kong government will not allow these protests, which have disrupted life in the special administrative region, blocking roads, causing businesses to close and preventing access to public buildings.
The Hong Kong government is to review the situation and take measures to solve the problem in the right time, says the official -- as quoted by newspapers in Beijing.
Robert Chow, a spokesperson for the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, says the signatures, collected between October 25 and November 2, reflect the prevailing trend and strong popular support for the actions of the police to enforce the law and return the streets to all citizens.
Another spokesperson, Stanley Ng, says the majority indicate that they want public order and the restoration of the rule of law.
This popular nine-day campaign got 1.34 million signatures in the streets and the rest on the internet, say the organizers.
Protests are against a Chinese parliamentary agreement on how to nominate candidates to stand in 2017, for Hong Kong's chief executive.
The elections will be held under universal suffrage on the basis of a nomination committee preparing broad citizen representation, a procedure opposed by the Central Occupation movement.
Attempts to negotiate a settlement to the situation by the Hong Kong government have failed, due to the intransigence of members of this movement, mostly composed of groups of students.
Over 20 civilians killed in shelling by Ukrainian army in Luhansk — acting police chief
The Ukrainian army constantly violates the ceasefire regime, acting LPR people’s police commander, Oleg Bugrov, says.
The Ukrainian army has been shelling civilian areas in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) since Monday evening, acting LPR people’s police commander, Oleg Bugrov, says.
“It started Monday evening. The Ukrainian armed forces delivered an artillery strike in violation of all agreements established by the Minsk memorandum.
“They delivered strikes with Grad and Uragan (multiple launch rocket systems) on Kirovsk, Frunze, Stakhanov. Civilians died,” Bugrov says.
He adds that the LPR people’s police are ready for the Ukrainian army attacks.
“The Ukrainian army constantly violates the ceasefire regime,” he says.
According to the UN, over 4,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s war-torn south-east, as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories.
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in the Belarusian capital Minsk.
The ceasefire took effect that day, but has reportedly occasionally been violated.
Anger in Philippines makes US Navy Suspend Visit
The US Navy is suspending a visit to the Philippine port of Subic, aftyer public anger generated by the murder of a transsexual by a marine, a spokes- person for the foreign ministry reports.
The spokesperson for the Philippine Foreign Affairs Department, Carlos Jose, announces the cancellation this month of the visit of three other US ships.
Meanwhile, the president of the Metropolitan Authority in Subic, Robert Garcia, confirms that the entry of nine US ships has been suspended, but 2 of them will reach the port for emergency repairs, while the crews will stay on board.
The alleged murder of transsexual Jennifer Laude, by a first class US marine, Joseph S. Pemberton, revived anti-US feeling in this Asian archipelago.
Pemberton had just been on a joint military drill and was the last person Laude was with, in a cheap hotel, in Olongapo city.
An hour after his stay employees found the transsexual dead, say the police.
The marine is being held in jail in a military barracks in this capital waiting for the trial.
Local groups have demonstrated against the presence of the Army in the ancient city, and various streets protests have occurred for this reason.
The US has managed to reactivate a security agreement with the Philippines, whereby the Pentagon can enjoy naval facilities in the Asian nation again, but this recent episode could stop a return, although the Philippine government has said it will not renegotiate the deal.
Cent Africa Rep: Over 2.3 Million Children Affected by Violence
Over 2.3 million children in the Central African Republic (CAR) are victims of the crisis which began almost a year ago, in the capital.
The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says that even pregnant women have remained without access to hospitals, due to the blocking of roads.
Judith Leveillee, UNICEF deputy representative for CAR, has recently stated that they will not allow threats to halt the work they perform to protect children.
She said that attacks without precedent against humanitarian workers in CAR have been staged.
Organizations like Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans Frontiers) have also expressed the powerlessness they feel, as they cannot aid civilians.
Clashes between ethnic groups and attacks on civilians, which have claimed hundreds of lives since 2013, worsen the humanitarian issues in the Central African Republic.
Russia, EU disagree over east Ukraine elections
Russia has been at loggerheads with the European Union over presidential and parliamentary elections in eastern Ukraine.
Moscow says it “respects" the results of local elections in eastern Ukraine, but the EU says they're an “obstacle” to peace.
Russia says it recognizes the results of the election, adding that the vote will help to re-establish "normal life in the region."
“We respect the expression of the will of the residents of the southeast,” the Russian Foreign Ministry says in a statement, adding:
“Those elected have received a mandate to resolve the practical issues of re- establishing normal life in the region.”
The EU's newly appointed foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, rejects the vote as “illegal and illegitimate,” saying, “the European Union will not recognize it.”
“I consider today's presidential and parliamentary elections in Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, to be a new obstacle on the path towards peace in Ukraine,” Mogherini states.
The United States said on Friday that it would not recognize the elections.
"We deplore the intent of separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine to hold illegitimate so- called local elections on Sunday," White House National Security Council spokes- person, Bernadette Meehan, said then.
Ukraine has also dismissed the vote and opened a criminal investigation into it with the country’s pro-Western President Petro Poroshenko calling the elections “pseudo- elections that terrorists and bandits want to organize on occupied territory.”
Exit polls in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine show that Alexander Zakharchenko, the prime minister of the Donetsk People's Republic, and his party, are on course to win both presidential and parliamentary elections --- with over 81% of the vote.
The pro-Russia forces have also refused to recognize the results of Ukraine’s snap parliamentary elections held on October 26.
Tensions heightened after the Coup D'Etat promoted by the US last year which replaced the legitimate President Yanoukovich and installed a pro-Western puppet, Poroshenko.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions became the scene of deadly clashes between the anti-pro-Western coup protesters and the Ukrainian National Guard, after the Kiev coup government launched a military operation, in mid-April, in a bid to crush the protests.
Violence intensified in May, after the two regions of Donetsk and Luhansk held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence and then, to join the Russian Federation.
Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea joined the Russian Federation, following a referendum, in March.
UN General Assembly must intervene to stop Israeli HR violations: Academic
The international community must move to stop violations of human rights and basic international laws by the Israeli regime, says an academic.
“It is about time the international community intervened to stop Israel's violation of international law and punished Israel, whether through economic sanctions or diplomatic sanctions, for its violation of human rights and basic international laws,” Mkhaimar Abusada, a professor at Al-Azhar University, says.
He says that a recent report released by Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, on Israeli atrocities against Palestinians during its onslaught on Gaza is a very “important step” in exposing the regime’s brutalities.
Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights earlier said Israel must be held accountable for using “captured Palestinians as human shields” during its summer 2014 military aggression against the Gaza Strip.
The Geneva-based nonprofit organization documented “at least 6 cases” in the southern city of Khan Younis, where Israeli forces used Palestinian civilians as human shields.
It also said that Israeli forces “deliberately and knowingly” targeted a large number of civilians in Gaza.
Abusada concludes by saying that if the UN Security Council fails to pass a resolution against Israel over its atrocities, the international community can go to the UN General Assembly under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter and try to prosecute Israel for its continuous violations of humanitarian law.
A host of international bodies including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused the Israeli regime of committing war crimes during its recent war on Gaza.
Israel started military attacks on the Gaza Strip in early July. Almost 2,140 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women, children and elderly people, were killed in the Israeli onslaught. About 11,000 others were injured. The Israeli war ended on August 26th.
Tel Aviv says 72 Israelis were killed in the conflict, but the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says the number is much higher.
Israeli Occupiers Reopen Al Aqsa Before Possible Popular Outburst Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was opened today to Muslim worshipers, after the occupation authorities ordered its closure and provoked accusations of state terror, by Jordan.
The Hashemite king, Abdullah II, is the guardian of the holy places of the city and Jordan is one of only two Arab countries that holds a peace treaty with Israel, along with Egypt.
The suspension of the measure was enacted last night after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for a Day of Rage for Friday, the first holiday of the Muslim week, devoted by this religion's believers, to prayer and meditation.
An Israeli police spokesperson clarified that the ban on access to the temple of men under 50 and women, enacted weeks ago amid protests over desecration of the mosque by extremist Jews, is still in force.
Al Aqsa is one of the three holiest places of Islam, along with the mosques of the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina, and is located in Jerusalem (Al Quds, to Muslims).
Palestinians in the city, annexed and declared by Israel its eternal and indivisible capital in 1980 - a decision considered illegal by the international community - congregate in the temple vicinity and pray five times a day, as set by the Muslim liturgy.
Tension in the city has grown since July, and was worsened at the end of August when groups of extremist Jews desecrated the temple, and then reached its peak after Israeli police killed a Palestinian in his home accused of shooting a US Jew, advocating the demolition of Al Aqsa.
The escalation of tensions after the announcement of the recognition of Palestine by Sweden, prompted a call for consultations with the Israeli ambassador in the Nordic country, and criticism from the Western powers on the statement by Tel Aviv's government that they will build another 1000 homes in that city.
Syria Slams Turkey for Allowing Foreign Fighters, Terrorists into Kobani
Syria accuses Turkey of violating its borders by allowing Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Syrian terrorists to enter the mainly Kurdish city of Ain al-Arab (Kobani) on the Syrian-Turkish borders, according to Syria's national television service.
Turkey is conspiring against Syria and has premeditated intentions to interfere in Syrian affairs by allowing "foreign fighters & terrorist groups to enter Syrian territory," the Syrian Foreign Ministry says in a statement.
The ministry refers to the Peshmerga as the foreign fighters, and regards Syrian rebels as "terrorists."
Syria says the Turkish move "constitutes a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty and the charters of the United Nations, and international law."
The ministry says the Turkish policy is "outrageous," holding Ankara responsible for the Syrian crisis.
"Syria condemns and rejects this outrageous behaviour by the Turkish government and its accomplices --- for being responsible for the crisis and for the shedding of Syrian blood by supporting terrorist organizations like ISIL and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front," it says.
’Israel’ Seals Al-Aqsa Mosque, Abbas Describes Action as Declaration of War
Israeli occupation forces have completely sealed off the Al-Aqsa compound for the first time in decades since Wednesday evening, after the shooting of a Zionist Rabbi, Yehuda Glick, in Jerusalem.
Hundreds of Muslim worshipers performed dawn prayers in the streets outside the holy site, after Israeli forces closed all entrances.
Israel's closure of the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to all visitors following the shooting of a Zionist hardliner... is tantamount to a "declaration of war," President Abbas says.
"This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation," his spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeina, quotes him as saying.
"We hold the Israeli government responsible for this dangerous escalation in Jerusalem, that has reached its peak through the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque this morning," he adds.
Abu Rdeina adds, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, that Abbas confirmed that “Jerusalem and its holy Muslim and Christian places are a red line and we won’t accept any harm to them.”
Abu Rdeina says that Israel’s decision to seal Al-Aqsa mosque for the first time is “a brazen challenge and dangerous behaviour, and will lead to more tension and instability, creating a very dangerous atmosphere.”
The state of Palestine, he adds, will carry out all the procedures needed to call 'Israel' to account and stop these ongoing attacks.
Abbas’ spokesperson urges the international community to “take action immediately to stop this aggression, because with such attacks and dangerous escalation, “Israel is declaring war against the Palestinian people and their holy places and against both the Arab and Islamic nations.”
BRAZIL SLIPS OUT OF US CAPITALISTS' GRIP
Brazil is to stop the colour revolution method used by US capital to curtail rebellious states -- by forbidding businesses funding "protests".
Elections in Donetsk, Lugansk regions to be held in compliance with Minsk accords
(There is a fair chance to use the elections to put the situation in Ukraine on track for fruitful dialogue and compromise solutions, the Russian Foreign Ministry says.)
The holding of elections in Donetsk and Lugansk regions in southeast Ukraine on November 2nd, gives all a chance to switch the situation in the embattled regions towards constructive talks, and Russia will contribute to that, the Russian Foreign Ministry says in a statement.
It adds that the position the leaders of the self- defense forces of the two republics have taken on the November 2nd elections is justified and stands fully in line with the accords reached by the Contact Group for Ukraine in Minsk.
“All references to the law on a special administrative regime for the aforesaid territories, which President Poroshenko signed on October 16th, and which set the date of elections for December 7th, run counter to the Minsk accords,” the ministry says.
“Prior to the start of the Minsk process, Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics’ leaders publicly outlined their negotiating positions, which in particular stress that holding free elections on those territories on the principle of the people’s self-governance, will open the way for joint work to preserve the common economic, cultural and political space of Ukraine,” the statement says.
“Russia will contribute to confirmation of this policy by the leaders of the southeast who win the elections,” the ministry says. “We expect specific actions on bona fide fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, both from the Ukrainian authorities and their Western partners, as well as from the OSCE,” it says.
“Today there is a chance to use the November 2nd elections, not for a thoughtless, unjustified escalation of confrontation, but to transfer the situation to constructive channels of dialogue, based on mutual respect, and a search for compromise on the basis of a balance of the legitimate interests of all Ukrainian sides, just like the documents signed within the framework of the Minsk process require,” the ministry says.
BAN KI-MOON MOONS AT RUSSIA
The Secretary General of the UN says that the planned vote announced by the Donetsk and Lugansk regions is "against the Minsk agreement" (sic).
"SANCTIONS AIM AT REGIME CHANGE IN RUSSIA"
The goal of Western economic sanctions is a “colour revolution” in Russia, Russian Academy of Sciences presidium member, academician Yevgeny Primakov is convinced.
"The aim of anti-Russian economic sanctions is to weaken Russia, corner us, put into practice the idea of a “colour revolution” in our country.
"Economic sanctions without a relevant decision by the UN Security Council, are a measure that contradicts global processes – both economic ones aimed at developing interaction in the interests of all countries, and political ones which solve the problem of creating various systems of counteraction to the real threats to the security of the modern world," he says.
US ROCKET BLOWS UP
The Antares rocket with the American cargo spacecraft Cygnus has exploded on blastoff from the NASA launch facility on Wallops Island near the Virginia coast.
NASA's website was broadcasting the rocket launch live. The explosion occurred straight after liftoff at 18:23 pm, local time (01:23 am, Moscow time, October 29th).
There are no immediate reports of casualties or damage to the spaceport facilities.
NASA says a special commission of NASA and the Orbital Sciences representatives will be formed to investigate.
Cygnus was to stay in orbit until Nov 2nd, then fly itself to the station so astronauts could use a robotic crane to snare the capsule and attach it to a berthing port.
The ISS, a $100 billion research laboratory owned and operated by 15 nations, flies about 260 miles (418 km) above Earth.
In addition to food, supplies and equipment, the Cygnus spacecraft was loaded with over 1,600 pounds (725 kg) of science experiments, including one to chemically analyze meteors as they burn up in Earth's atmosphere.
Russia to send 3,000 tons of aid to eastern Ukraine within week
Russia will send 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine's southeastern region within a week, Deputy Emergency Situations Minister, Vladimir Stepanov, says.
100 lorries of the 4th Russian humanitarian aid convoy, carrying 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid, are expected to arrive in Russia's Rostov region on Wednesday, Stepanov says.
"Within a week the total weight of humanitarian aid will amount to 3,000 metric tons," Stepanov says, adding that it will be delivered by both aircraft and land vehicles.
On Tuesday, 3 aircraft will deliver part of the aid to Rostov-on-Don city, the administrative centre of Rostov region, where the supplies will be loaded onto lorries, says Stepanov.
The aid includes food, medicine and construction materials to help local residents prepare for the winter, the RIA Novosti news agency reports.
But Andriy Lysenko, a spokesperson for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, says Kiev has received "no official information or documents" about the fourth Russian humanitarian aid convoy.
A spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) regional delegation, says that the ICRC is not going to participate in this fourth humanitarian aid delivery.
President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Moscow will patiently work with everyone to solve the problem of delivering humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as other issues, in a non- confrontational manner.
From August to September, Russia has sent three batches of humanitarian cargo to the insurgent- occupied territories of eastern Ukraine --- without Kiev's consent.
Moscow condemns Ukraine for deliberately delaying the aid deliveries, while Kiev and some Western states object to Russia's aid deliveries, for fear that Russia "might take the opportunity to invade Ukraine."
War Parties to Dominate Parliament in Ukraine Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, declares victory for his party in parliamentary elections, while asserting that negotiations with more "radical" parties in an attempt to create the ruling coalition... have begun.
Before the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) announced the official results of the elections, something that will occur Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, Poroshenko urged "all Maidan parties" to join the coalition.
Poroshenko says any coalition will only exclude members of the Opposition Party -- made up of Yuri Boiko's followers and former members of the Party of Regions -- referring to those who support a solution through negotiations, to the conflict in the southeast (Donbass).
The CEC has validated the parliamentary elections with the participation of some 50% of the electoral roll voting, according to that source.
Polls outside electoral centres have identified seven parties as the ones to represent the Parliament... with over 5% of the votes cast.
Those are, Petro Poroshenko's Party (23%), the Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk's People Front (20%+), and Self Reliance led by Lvov's mayor, birthplace of extremist nationalism in Ukraine.
The polls also suggest that the Opposition Party (8%) and the neonazi parties Radical and Svoboda (6%+) and Yulia Timoshenko's Homeland party (5 or 6%) have gained representation.
Ukrainian political specialist Vladislav Gulevich, --- before the elections --- deplored the demagogy of candidates who wished to be parliamentarians... but talked of war, and says that winning in Ukraine now, can only be achieved through Russophobia.
Poland to move thousands of troops to border with Ukraine
Warsaw is to relocate troops from the west of the country towards its eastern border, due to “the biggest security crisis since the Cold War.”
It's a major realignment of the military structure, Poland’s defense minister tells AP news agency.
Russia ready to recognize Ukraine parliamentary elections - Lavrov
Russia is ready to recognize the parliamentary elections in Ukraine, but is very concerned with two "radical" parties getting into the Ukrainian parliament, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says to LifeNews channel.
Israel approves plan to build 1,000 settler homes in East Jerusalem
The Israeli government approves plans to build over 1,000 new settler homes in East Jerusalem.
It will expand two existing Israeli settlements on part of the territories seized in 1967.
Palestinian PM repeats firm stance on East Jerusalem
Israeli and Palestinian leaders continue to verbally spar as tensions escalate in East Jerusalem, which has witnessed increasing clashes between the neighborhood's Palestinian residents and Israeli security forces in the last few months.
On Monday, Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, said East Jerusalem is the "eternal capital" of the Palestinian state.
Hamdallah made the comments during a visit to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, in the company of Palestinian National Authority General Intelligence Service chief Majed Faraj and Preventive Security commander Ziad Hab al-Reeh, Israeli media reports.
Hamdallah, who coordinated the visit with the Israeli authorities, accused Israel of trying to "Judaize" the city, according to the reports.
He was quoted as saying that as far as the Palestinian National Authority is concerned, "Jerusalem is a red line, and so is the Aqsa Mosque."
"We came here to say that Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state and an important part of the national program," Hamdallah said.
"Occupation is illegal and illegitimate. All Israeli measures and the settlements, are illegal."
The comments come a week after the European Union demarcated "red lines" for Israel regarding its settlement policy in the West Bank, warning Israel not to make moves that would jeopardize the creation of a Palestinian state.
The compound where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are located is called the Temple Mount by Jews. The Jewish holy site of the Western Wall, believed to be part of the ancient Jewish temple, is situated at the foot of the mountain.
Israel captured the religious compound from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast War. The Muslim trust, the Waqf, runs the place and Israeli security forces monitor it trying to enforce a balanced status quo.
It's a constant source of strife between worshippers of both religions, and Jews are not allowed to pray at the Temple Mount.
Palestinian protesters often clash with police in response to Jewish visitors to the compound, and Palestinian and Arab leaders worldwide have repeatedly stated that Israel is trying to "Judaize" the al-Aqsa compound.
Israeli right-wing politicians have pushed for laws allowing Jews to pray at the compound.
Earlier Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of partnering with radical Islamic elements in an anti-Israel incitement campaign, centered on "false rumours" that Israel is seeking to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
Tensions have mounted in Jerusalem between Jews and Arabs since June.
After the kidnap and murder of 3 Israeli teens by Palestinian militants near Hebron in June, Jewish extremists murdered a 15-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem.
The past months have seen constant clashes between East Jerusalem residents and Israeli security forces. There have been also frequent reports of Jewish extremists attacking random Arab bystanders.
Tension has further escalated over recent Israeli announcements of the construction of new houses in East Jerusalem and settlers moving into mainly Palestinian neighborhoods in the area. More than 300, 000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem.
Brazil’s incumbent president narrowly wins election
Incumbent Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has secured over 51 percent of the presidential vote, narrowly winning the run-off election in the South American country.
On Sunday, official results in Latin America's largest economy and most populous country showed Rousseff led opposition leader Aecio Neves by 51.6 to 48.4 percent of the vote, Reuters reported.
“Thank you very much," Rousseff, who will remain in power for another four years, tweeted after the victory.
"We are voting for a more equal Brazil with more opportunities," Rousseff, of the Workers Party, said in the southern city Porto Alegre, where she cast her ballot.
While Brasilia was witnessing the celebrations of the incumbent leftist’s supporters in front of a hotel where she was due to deliver a speech, Sao Paulo, a stronghold of Neves' Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), was in a subdued mood.
The government would try to lead "a national reconciliation process given how tight the result was," Ideli Salvatti, one of Rousseff's top ministers, said, adding, "We have to calm our hearts down first and then get back to work tomorrow."
More than 140 million Brazilians turned out to vote on Sunday. The left-leaning Rousseff enjoys the support of the poor, due to her party’s social welfare programs.
Her government’s policies have helped pull 40 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty.
The centre-right Neves is popular among wealthy Brazilians who want him to put the economy back on track.
Neither candidate could secure an absolute majority in the first round on October 5th.
During the first round, Rousseff secured 41.5 percent and Neves received 33.5 percent of the votes.
Rousseff, 66, was elected Brazil’s first female president in 2010. Her Workers Party has been ruling since 2002.
Russia Increases Military Budget in 2015, Says Lawmaker
The Deputy Victor Zavarzin, member of the defense committee of Russia's State Duma, confirms today that the country''s military budget in 2015 will be 32.8% higher than this year.
Russia needs to modernize its Armed Forces and enhance combat capability and to meet this goal will raise defense spending to over 78,148 million dollars, he states, as quoted by the news agency Novosti.
The lawmaker says that defense will be 21.2% of the national budget, compared to 2014 (17.6%).
Zasvarzin comments that no one questions the need for the Armed Forces to be able to respond adequately to "new challenges": referring to the NATO expansion eastward and the deployment of its troops in neighboring countries.
The lawmaker stresses that the Army and Navy should have the most modern weapons and be able to achieve rapid deployment and wage modern warfare.
Recently, President Vladimir Putin stressed the remarkable recovery of Russia's defense industry within the last decade, and held that Russia will overcome the difficulties caused by Western sanctions.
The UK’s 13yr stay in Afghanistan ends as US, UK hand over military bases
The US & UK’s military involvement in Afghanistan comes to a symbolic end on Sunday. Operations in the country are officially ended, as they prepare to depart by handing over military bases to Afghans.
In 13 years, the Afghans' economy has been destroyed and replaced with opium production and their army faces major battles with the Taliban --- with little or no air support.
Coercion at Ukrainian Polls Denounced
Yuri Boyco, leader of the so-called Ukrainian Opposition Bloc, today demands the removal from office of the Governor of Dniepropetrovsk, oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, who ordered armed groups to occupy electoral colleges in that city.
Boyco says this is an unprecedented situation, and denounces the fact that people will be "forced to vote at gunpoint."
He has also presented a complaint to the media, because the number of voters is being 'reduced' where apparently his party has greater support.
A similar denunciation is made in a communique issued by Oleg Lyashko, of the extremist Radical Party, saying to President Piotr Poroshenko and the Ukrainian attorney general must dismiss the millionaire who was imposed as governor, after the coup on February the 22nd.
The neofascist Lyashko asserts in the document that Kolomoisky has agreed with bandits and assassins, to "betray the national interests".
The radicals demand a trial for the owner of the third greatest fortune in Ukraine, and for his Deputy, Gennady Korban, for a cynical attempt at electoral fraud in the southeastern city of Donbass, supported by mercenary armies, and financed by Kolomoisky.
Ukrainian television says Kolomoisky recognizes that protection of the electoral process should be guaranteed only by the State security forces, and that even Poroshenko has condemned the presence of 'voluntary battalions' at the polls.
Ukraine's Central Election Commission (UCEC) President, Alex Koshel recognizes that electoral attendance will be "poor" in many areas, which will cast doubt on the vote's legitimacy.
Iraqi forces retake two towns from IS
Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga freed two towns in northern and central Iraq on Saturday after fierce clashes with the Islamic State (IS) militants, security source say.
In the early hours of the day, Kurdish Peshmerga troops, backed by armored vehicles, artillery and U.S.-led coalition aircraft, advanced to the town of Zumar, some 70 km northwest of Nineveh's provincial capital Mosul, and fought fiercely with IS militants, an al-Qaida offshoot group, Halkurd Hikmat, head of the media office of the Peshmerga forces tells reporters.
"The Peshmerga forces managed to enter Zumar after they seized five villages around the town, and the troops are defusing dozens of roadside bombs and booby-trapped buildings in several neighborhoods inside the town," Hikmat says.
"The warplanes of the U.S.-led coalition carried out many air strikes on IS positions since Friday and have killed many of the IS militants and destroyed their vehicles," he adds.
In central Iraq, the security forces, backed by some 6,000 Shiite militiamen and Iraqi aircraft, managed to free the town of Jurf al-Sakhar, some 60 km south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, after six hours of fierce clashes with IS militants, a security source says.
The battle in the town was part of a two-day offensive that targeted IS militant positions in several areas around Jurf al- Sakhar, which stretches to the northwest desert land leading to the battle-field town of Ameriyat al-Fallujah, the source says.
The troops and allied militiamen are clearing the streets and booby-trapped buildings after they pushed IS militants outside the town, he adds.
"The battles are underway and the troops will soon clear the strategic road between Ameriyat al-Fallujah and the road that links Baghdad with the holy Shiite city of Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad," the source says.
The recent advance toward Ameriyat al-Fallujah is a significant success for the Iraqi forces, which will be able to push back the danger of any IS militants taking the besieged town.
Ameriyat al-Fallujah is the last major town ahead of Baghdad that is under government control, and also located some 60 km of desert land north of the holy city of Karbala, 108 km south of Baghdad.
If the militants seize Ameriyat al-Fallujah they will be closer to the Iraqi capital and will also be able to move closer to Karbala and then pound it with artillery and mortars.
In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militiamen and aircraft carried out a major offensive in the early hours of the day to clear three areas seized earlier by IS militants, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir al- Zaidi, commander of Dijla Operations Command, says, in a statement.
Separately, U.S.-led warplanes launched some 20 missiles late on Friday night on an IS HQ, just north of the provincial capital city of Mosul, (400 km north of Baghdad), leaving 150+ militants dead and wounded, the provincial police chief says, by telephone.
Mistral delivery to Russia to be approved by mid-November - Liberation daily
A decision on deliveryof the first Mistral-type helicopter carrier to Russia will be made in the first half of November, the military observer Thomas Hofnung writes in the Liberation Monde daily, citing an anonymous source from the French Defence Ministry.
“A moment of truth is coming,” the expert writes. “A source from the French Defence Ministry said a decision to deliver the first Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia, which it has paid for already, will be taken by mid-November.”
“Despite France’s hesitation over what the decision will be, a high-ranking French official showed optimism last week on a relatively positive outcome,” he says.
The 1.12 billion contract was signed by the Russian defense exporting company Rosoboronexport and French DCNS, in June 2011.
Under the contract, Russia is to receive the first of the two warships, the Vladivostok, in October this year. The second Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the Sevastopol, is expected to be handed over to Russia next year.
Mistral-type helicopter carriers have a displacement of 21 tons, a maximum body length of 210 meters, a speed of 18 knots & a range of up to 20,000 miles.
The helicopter carrier can accommodate 450 people and a crew of 180. It carries 16 helicopters, of which six can be simultaneously stored on the flight-deck, and can carry several dozen armored vehicles.
France will have to pay Russia a penalty, if it fails to fulfill the contract.
European Council Favors Application of Ceasefire in Ukraine
The European Council states that it favours the immediate application of the ceasefire in the southeast of Ukraine, and also considers as necessary, the holding of legislative elections scheduled for Sunday.
A communique by the European Council, which unites leaders of all 28 States of the EU, defends putting into practice what was stipulated in the protocol signed on September the 5th, and the memorandum on September the 19th, in Minsk.
The documents refer to a cessation of hostilities in Lugansk & Donetsk, where the regular army and the Ukrainian National Guard launched a cruel offensive in April, that resulted in over 3,500 dead people, mostly civilians.
The statement by the European Council, also refers to the need to comply with the creation of a separation area between the forces and the holding of parliamentary elections in the whole territory of the former Soviet republic.
Ukrainian troops have bombed residential areas in Donetsk city in recent days --- violating the truce agreed in September.
Rousseff''s Re-election Means Opting for a Better Brazil, Lula Says
The re-election of President Dilma Rousseff on Sunday, means avoiding the return of Brazil to the past, and continuing the process of social improvement, says the former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Lula da Silva stresses that Rousseff represents the Brazilian people, as the candidate of the Social Democracy (BSDP), while Aécio Neves, represents the interests of the bankers.
He warns of the contempt of the Brazilian elite towards the poor of this nation, who are the majority, and he says the elite do not want the government of the Workers Party (PT) or the current president to remain in power and daily improve the citizens' quality of life.
The oligarchy rejects all social achievements gained over the last 12 years --- the idea that the poor occupy new public spaces, travel by plane, or walk now, with their heads held high, Lulu says.
The former president condemns the BSDP candidate for disrespect towards the head of State, in recent television discussions, and wonders what Brazil will be like, ruled by such an irresponsible person.
Lula also notes that the bankers' candidate was upset because he called him "daddy's boy", yet called Rousseff "frivolous" last week.
To give good treatment and respect towards a woman and a head of State, is a matter of education and good social behaviour, adds 'Lula'.
Lula da Silva also blameS the UK magazine, The Economist, for publishing an article in which it bets on a Neves' victory at the polls, in order to 'ensure the growth of the Brazilian economy'.
"Recently a magazine called The Economist had the nerve to publish a story calling on people to vote for Aecio (Neves). Is this magazine stupid? If bankers want to vote for Aecio, go vote for him --- but Dilma is the people's candidate," he concludes.
SOUTH AMERICA LEADING SOCIALISM NOW
Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, says that the world order is not only unfair, but also immoral.
Everything is aimed at serving the interests of the most powerful, he says, in a lecture fostered by the UN Conference on Trade and Development.
Correa questions the current power relations, which have unleashed the emergence of a world where capital and merchandise mobility are more liberalized every time, yet the mobility of human beings... is criminalized.
He also says that neocolonial models persist, affecting the developing nations, with examples such as the Agreement on Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investments, which gives priority to the rights of the capital, and favors any transnational's ability to take a sovereign State to court.
According to the president, this organization should be changed, to build a world where the welfare of human beings comes first, rather than the interests of capital.
He says that the integration taking place in Latin America is essential, as a way for countries to be able to defend themselves from neocolonialism, and the unfair world order.
Correa also refers to the development model implemented in Ecuador, during the People's Revolution that began in 2007, based on what he describes as "modern socialism".
Israeli troops, Palestinians clash near West Bank city of Ramallah
Fresh clashes have erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters, who were furious about the recent death of a Palestinian teenager at the hands of Israeli troops.
The skirmishes broke out in Silwad village, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Saturday, a day after Orwah Hammad, 14, was shot in the head there.
The Israeli army says that the youth, who was a US citizen, was about to throw a petrol bomb at Israeli motorists.
“The forces fired immediately to neutralize the danger...and confirmed a hit,” says an army spokesperson.
Also on Friday, Israeli police in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) fired tear gas to disperse stone- throwing Palestinian protesters.
Clashes have been taking place every night after Israelis said a driver, identified as Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, rammed his car into a rail- way stop in al-Quds, killing a baby girl and injuring eight others on Wednesday. He later died of injuries sustained from the Israeli troops' gunfire.
The Tel Aviv regime claims that the incident was deliberate, but the family of the 21-year- old, say it was an accident.
Israeli media also reports clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in al-Quds’ Silwan neighborhood on Saturday, ahead of the upcoming funeral of al-Shaludi.
The timing of his funeral has been set by Tel Aviv, which has also said that a maximum of 80 people can attend the ceremony, Israeli Radio reports. The teenager’s funeral is also set to be held on Sunday.
Syrian troops recapture majority of key town in central area
The Syrian army on Thursday recaptured the vast majority of a strategic town in the central province of Hama, after battles with armed militant groups, Syria's national TV reports.
Syrian government forces wrested control over the vast majority of the key town of Mork in the northern countryside of Hama, as part of the military's ongoing offensive to dislodge rebels from Hama's northern countryside, says the TV report.
It adds that Syrian troops are "hunting down" the remnants of the armed rebels in the town.
A military officer says on condition of anonymity that the military operation in the Hama countryside is aimed at protecting Hama city & Muhardeh town --- where an important power station is located.
The operation will also prevent the "terrorists" from expanding their presence to the Syrian coast or the international road that connects the southern part of Syria with the coastal and northern regions.
Meanwhile, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV says that Syrian troops have fully recaptured Mork, while the oppositional Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a watchdog group, says the town has seen "violent clashes" in the past few hours.
The pro-government Sham FM radio cites sources from the town as saying that the militant groups in Mork sent distress calls to their comrades in nearby areas to back them against a crushing offensive by the Syrian army.
The al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and other like- minded groups captured the town in February after capturing checkpoints at its entrances.
The Syrian air force has responded by striking the town several times, then by unleashing a wide-scale offensive in the northern country- side of Hama, in recent months.
IRAQ AND IRAN UNITING TO BEAT IS
Iran's former President and the present Chair of Iran's Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, says that cooperation among Muslim states, particularly between Iran and Iraq, is a requirement under the current regional and global circumstances, Fars news agency reports.
Iraq's full security & national sovereignty are Iran's best wishes, Rafsanjani says, in a meeting with the new Iraqi PM, Abadi.
The Islamic republic is ready to cooperate at all levels with its neighboring state. Rafsanjani says.
Abadi says Iraq has always believed in Iran as a reliable neighbour. He urges the promotion of Iran- Iraq ties in economic, cultural and political fields, saying that bilateral relations are rooted in their common culture and history.
On Tuesday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that the Islamic republic now fully supports the new Iraqi government, the local media reports.
The current situation in Syria and in Iraq is the result of the "irresponsible policies" of some trans-regional powers and regional countries, Khamenei said, in a meeting with the Iraqi prime minister, Tasnim news agency reports.
Khamenei says Iraq's people and government are well capable of dealing with the security problems in the country and have no need to re-establish security with the help of foreign countries.
He describes Iraq as a "great, important and influential country in the region" and gives Iran's decisive support for the new government in Iraq.
The Iraqi leader, in turn, appreciates the support offered by the Islamic republic, in Iraq's fight against terrorism, and says he's pleased to be visiting Iran on his first official trip abroad, after forming Iraq's new government.
The final approval of Iraq's new government is seen as a major step forward in Iraq, where an average of over 1,000 people die in daily violence across the country, and in battles with the Islamic State militant group, an al-Qaida offshoot.
Four Blackwater mercenaries found guilty of killing Iraqi civilians
A federal jury in the USA, has found four former Blackwater security guards guilty of shooting over thirty unarmed Iraqis in Baghdad in 2007.
Nicholas Slatten was convicted of first-degree murder and the other three guards -- Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard -- were found guilty of at least three counts of voluntary manslaughter.
The jury said they acted wildly on September 16th, 2007, leaving 14 people dead (some sources say 17 people died) and 20 injured. The incident also triggered international criticism over the role of security contractors.
The four were convicted on about 30 charges.
Slatten faces a life sentence for murder, while the other three, convicted of manslaughter, could face 30 years in prison.
District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth allowed the jury to announce the verdicts, issued after a 10-week trial and 28 days of deliberation.
Prosecutors said Slatten viewed killing Iraqis as “payback for 9/11” and often “deliberately fired his weapon to draw out return fire and instigate gun battles”. The prosecutors also said that Slatten smashed the windscreens of passing cars, in Baghdad.
Blackwater Worldwide, known as Academi now, and based in McLean, Virginia, is the most notorious private security firm that operated in Iraq.
Iraqis believe that the US military allowed Blackwater mercenaries to commit many war crimes --- with impunity.
ISIL terrorist leader is CIA agent: Chechen president
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov says the ISIL terrorist group's leader, Ibrahim Samarrai, who is known by the alias Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, works for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and is supported by western secret services' cash.
"Baghdadi should take off his mask and declare loudly and clearly that he is a CIA agent, that he has been recruited,” Kadyrov says, adding:
“They (the ISIL militants) are Shaitans (devils) and their sole obsession is to grab as much money as they can lay their hands on. They are acting on orders from the West and are deliberately exterminating Muslims.”
The Chechen leader calls on Samarrai to confess to his atrocities, including the massacre of Muslims.
“He must openly confess that he is killing his brothers in faith, to apologize to his co- religionists and disband his gang."
Kadyrov states that the western secret services have helped the terrorists by 'all possible means'.
He also warns those Chechens who join ISIL Takfiris, that they wont be allowed to return to their homeland.
ISIL terrorists currently control swathes of territory across Syria and Iraq. They've been committing horrific crimes there, including mass executions and beheadings.
A US Intelligence report published in June, said 12,000 militants from 81 nationalities have joined ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
Crisis in Ukraine stems from Western attempts to move division lines eastwards — Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blames the West for the Ukraine crisis because of its attempts to move the Euro-Atlantic division lines eastwards.
“The Ukrainian crisis is a direct effect of attempts by our Western counterparts, to preserve and move to the east, division lines in the Euro-Atlantic space,” he says at a meeting with members of the Youth Civic Chamber, on Wednesday.
“We are against such attempts. We do not wish confrontation, but we shall be firm in defending our interests and doing what we deem right on the basis of international law. We believe that this is the optimal way of ensuring Russia’s interests," Lavrov says.
He warns against unilateral steps in handling the world's problems:
“The world today is getting polycentric and multipolar,” Lavrov says. “We are witnesses to soaring competition in various spheres.
“The awareness of this truth should serve as a warning against attempts by one group of countries to dictate solutions to others. This has not been eradicated yet.”
In a situation where there must be a common approach, we see unilateral steps undermining the success of our solutions,” Lavrov says.
“Over the past few years we have been able to see what this leads to. There was aggression against Yugoslavia, illegal intervention in Iraq, and the bombardments of Libya. Now we can see that, in Syria.”
Official suggests extending law on special status to more areas in eastern Ukraine
The head of eastern Ukraine's Luhansk region, has asked the Ukrainian parliament to extend the law on self-rule status, to other areas out of Kiev’s control.
Gennady Moskal has asked Ukraine's parliament to extend the law on the special status of Donbass to other districts in territories held by Ukraine's government forces, but which are, in fact, out of Ukraine’s control.
He says the authorities of 129 towns and villages in the region, have taken the side of the militia during the conflict.
Moskal has sent a list to Ukraine's parliamentary chairperson, naming all the districts, cities, towns and villages that need special self-government status, the region’s website says.
"All of these localities are in Ukraine-controlled territory, but it is impossible to hold meetings of the district, city or village councils. There are no mayors or village heads. All of them have fled to Russia, or are members of the militia," the governor says.
Since local governments cannot perform their direct functions, Moskal says it is necessary to re-elect, or reset them.
There are 2 territorial entities in the region. One is the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, headed by Igor Plotnitsky, and the other is the Luhansk region, headed by Gennady Moskal, who was approved by Petro Poroshenko’s decree on September 18th.
The law on special self-government status for districts in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions came into effect on October 18th and stays in force for three years.
The decree, approved by Ukraine's Duma, guarantees that Donbass' people will not be persecuted by Ukraine's authorities, for participating in the conflict.
Russian Relations with USA at Dead End, Says Lavrov Relations between Russia and the United States are complex and are currently at a dead end in several fields and this developed long before the Ukrainian crisis, says Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
The foreign minister criticizes the state of bilateral relations in an interview broadcast by the television station NTV, in which he deplores that proposals by their US 'partners' are mostly focused on the USA's unilateral interests.
Lavrov says the international agenda is full of contradictory approaches, in which both sides have to find solutions to commit to on a series of issues.
Among these issues, he mentions... negotiations to reduce the arsenals of strategic weapons, the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, the Iranian nuclear program, and also the issue of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The minister highlights the wrong approach by Washington, which wants to attribute to itself exceptionalism in international relations.
It believes that it has the right to punish any countries that don't act as Washington wants, and force them to cooperate on issues vital to the United States and its allies, he says.
This imperial approach in international affairs will be corrected, but the process will take a long time, the foreign minister warns.
Pope Francis Lashes Out over Terrorist Group Islamic State
Pope Francis today raises his voice against the group Islamic State, as an extremist movement capable of bringing a new dimension to terrorism.
"We are witnessing a phenomenon of terrorism with dimensions that were unimaginable before. It seems to have lost awareness of the value of human life, that people have no value and can be killed by other interests, says the Holy Father.
Francis regrets "the indifference of many" over the presence of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, and demands "appropriate action" by the international community.
Speaking at a session to address the situation in the Middle East and the role that the Catholic Church can play in promoting peace, the Pope expresses his "desire for peace and stability in that region".
He states that there should be "the will to facilitate the resolution of conflicts through dialogue, reconciliation, and political commitment".
The Pope has been warning of the danger of ISIL, for months.
Iraqi lawmakers approve full cabinet
Faced with growing threats from the extremist militant group, the Islamic State (IS), the Iraqi parliament has now approved the full cabinet chosen by Iraq's PM, Haider al-Abadi, including the crucial defense and interior portfolios.
The appointment of Mohammed Salim al-Ghabban as interior minister, is a compromise after month- long haggling until his powerful Shiite party Badr understood that its leader, Hadi al-Ameri, their candidate for the interior portfolio, was not acceptable to the Sunni parties.
As for the defense ministry, parliament approved Khalid al- Obiedi, an ex-officer in the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein's administration.
Observers here believe that Abadi's selections could inspire confidence for the Sunnis, who repeatedly complained under his predecessor Nuri al-Maliki, of injustice, marginalization, and discrimination.
They accused the Shiite-dominated security forces of indiscriminately arresting, torturing and killing their sons.
Observers believe that selecting Ghabban and Obiedi also sends a message of relief to the Shiite community assuring them that satisfying the Sunnis will not be at the expense of gains they got after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's administration, since the U.S.-led invasion.
Abadi has formed a 'partnership' government that could provide a coherent, more effective political response for Iraqis to better confront their huge challenges, including an IS threat to Iraq, the region, and the whole world.
Iraq faces increasing threats from IS militants, who control nearly a third of Iraq's territory.
The United States and many other world countries are providing air support, weapons and ammunition to the Iraqi forces and the Kurdish security forces, known as Peshmerga, to help halt the advance of the IS militants to seize more areas in northern and central areas of the country.
The Sunnis are very instrumental in the efforts of defeating IS. To win their minds and hearts, Abadi and his cabinet must address legitimate grievances and allow them to build their own forces as part of the security forces.
Iraq is witnessing some of the worst violence in years. Terrorism and violence have killed 5,576 civilians there, in the first half of 2014 alone, with 11,666 more wounded, according to a recent UN report.
Abbas says keen to keep dialogue with Hamas to end rift
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he's keen to keep talking with Hamas movement, to finalize reconciliation and end the internal rift.
Abbas spoke at the inauguration of his Fatah Party's revolutionary council held in Ramallah. "Our dialogue with Hamas will continue until achieving we achieve full reconciliation," he said.
"The last agreement we reached with Hamas is based on two major issues, forming a unity government and going for elections," he said, referring to the formation of the consensus government sworn in, in June.
Abbas added that east Jerusalem is a top priority for the Palestinian leadership, revealing that the holy city faces settlers' assaults to divide and empty it.
Speaking about going to the UN Security Council to end the Israeli occupation and establish a state, Abbas says "we want to gain a resolution that gives us the right to establish our state on 1967 borders."
Meanwhile, Fatah Party's central committee calls on the UK government to recognize an independent Palestinian state established on territories Israel seized in 1967.
Nabil Abu Rdineh, committee spokesperson, says in a press statement, that the Palestinians highly appreciate Sweden's stance and the UK House of Common decision to recognize a Palestinian state in the future.
Putin-Poroshenko Meeting Monopolizes Attention at ASEM Summit
The meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Piotr Poroshenko, will be the focus of attention at the 10th Asia- Europe Meeting (ASEM), being held in Milan.
During the talks, the two leaders will tackle the thorny subject of peace in southern Ukraine, where fighting continues.
Russia and Ukraine will seek to reach greater consensus about the implementation of the memorandum signed in Minsk, Belarus' capital, to halt battles, exchange prisoners and create a demarcation line 30 kilometers wide, among other measures.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and the Prime Ministers of the UK and Italy, will participate in the meeting.
The talks will also be attended by the president of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, and president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso.
According to local media, Poroshenko has suggested peaceful measures but in practice, military actions against self-defense groups in Donetsk and Lugansk continue to be reported.
With the participation of 53 countries, ASEM, running from October 16th to 17th, will also discuss energy security, climate change, commerce, economic problems, and unemployment.
Egypt Denies Bombing Libyan Islamist Militias
Spokespeople for the Egyptian government deny transnational media reports, claiming that the Egyptian Air Force has bombed the Islamic militia sites in Benghazi.
Russia Sets Up Cyber Units in Strategic Missile Forces
Russia''s Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) have started to create special units to neutralize and counter cyber attacks, the Defense Ministry says.
"The RVSN has been shifting its command lines to digital technologies. This is why the forces' high command is taking preventive measures to improve information security," RIA Novosti news agency quotes ministry spokesperson, Igor Yegorov, as saying.
The task of the digital units dubbed "Sopka," or Hill, is to counter hostile attacks on the Russian missile force's electronic hardware and information channels, Yegorov says, adding that the country plans to create a comprehensive system by 2017, to protect the armed forces' infrastructure from cyber attacks.
Earlier in October, President Vladimir Putin said Russia has been under increasing cyber attacks this year and protecting Russian information space against threats has been one of the priorities, to ensure national security.
Russian Security Council secretary, Nikolai Patrushev, says the country's segment of the Internet was attacked 57 million times in the first half of 2014, and some 90 million attacks have been registered since 2010.
Last summer, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, ordered the drafting of 500 computer-savvy students, into special "scientific squadrons," whose work will be counted as military service.
Venezuela's Historic Seat in UN Security Council Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Rafael Ramírez, terms as historic, his country''s membership of the UN Security Council, with widespread backing from the General Assembly.
In brief remarks after the election of the five non permanent members of the UNSC, Ramirez recalled the campaigns launched to try to discredit his country, which could not prevent the support of 181 of the 193 members of the Assembly.
"This resounding triumph is a result of a decision by late commander president Hugo Chavez Frias in Jan, 2007 to apply for Venezuela's membership.
It shows the world continues to respect his message of peace, solidarity and social justice," says Ramirez.
In Ramirez' opinion, the vote also shows that the UN belongs to all states.
He notes that his country will be the first nation to share responsibilities as President of the Non Aligned Movement and non permanent member of the UN Security Council.
"We take up this challenge, determined to fight against the people's submission, domination, exploitation and foreign occupation and the refusal of fundamental human rights," he says.
Venezuela, Malaysia, Angola and New Zealand have all won seats on the United Nations Security Council for two years from January 1, 2015.
A runoff vote is also underway to find out if either Spain or Turkey will fill the fifth place available.
The 193-member UN General Assembly voted for Venezuela by 181 votes, Malaysia picked up 187, while Angola scored 190 and New Zealand 145.
Donetsk Republic deputy PM praises Ukrainian president's special status law
The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic intends to “follow its way” despite the law on Donbass’ special status, chair of the Donetsk People’s Republic Supreme Council, Boris Litvinov, says on Friday.
“The quintessence of this document is, if I am not mistaken, that we’re entitled to hold elections to local bodies of power - to rural, settlement, district and town councils, on December 7th.
"On the former Donetsk region’s territory, the city council has not been functioning since April. It did not hear the population’s request to put forward an initiative on Ukraine’s federalisation.
Nobody will elect a regional council. Nobody will elect new bodies of power with a special status. We’re following our way,” Litvinov says.
The republic intends to hold elections of its head and the People’s Council, on November 2nd.
“We’re following this way. We’re electing our supreme legislative and executive power in the nationwide elections,” he says.
Earlier, first deputy premier of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Andrei Purgin, said that the signing of the law on special status for Donbass - the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, seeking independence from Kiev - is a positive step.
“I believe this is a positive step but it does not influence the political situation. It’s certainly a plus. It means that the party of peace and not the party of war is winning. The law has its plusses and meeting points,” Purgin said.
“We positively assess the fact that Ukraine is moving to meet us halfway but it doesn't change our position on the political aspects,” he said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a law on special status for Donbass on Thursday, October 16th.
The document is stipulated by agreements reached in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, in early September. The special status is granted for three years.
“During this time we will have an opportunity to turn into reality issues of deep decentralisation which should be also an issue for amending the Constitution,” Poroshenko said then.
Ukraine’s third defense minister in six months "sure sign military is demoralized"
The resignation of Ukraine’s Defense Minister Valery Heletey, appointed just three months ago, and the nomination and approval of his successor, National Guard commander Stepan Poltorak, is evidence of personnel chaos in the armed forces, amateurism by the authorities and demoralization in the military, the president of the Geopolitical Problems Academy, Doctor of Military Science, Konstantin Sivkov, says.
"Poltorak is a man from Interior Minister Arsen Avakov’s team. For a while he was commander of all Interior Ministry troops. As for Heletey, he's from President Poroshenko’s inner circle -- as a matter of fact, his personal bodyguard.
"He used to be in charge of Ukraine’s agency responsible for the security of senior officials. Poltorak’s nomination is sure evidence of the continuing under-the-carpet struggle for control of the army,” Sivkov believes.
“The way Poltorak commanded the National Guard in the so-called “anti-terrorist operation” zone, in the south-east of Ukraine, is well seen in the operation’s utter failure.
"On Monday, about 1,500 national guards - Poltorak’s subordinates just recently - staged a mutiny. They marched into the capital Kiev, chanting “Demob! Demob!” and met in front of the presidential office to demand demobilization and cash compensation for the excessive time they have spent in service," Sivkov says.
"Also, some National Guard members fear they may bear criminal responsibility for participation in the so-called “anti-terrorist operation."
"Apart from conscripts, the National Guard is manned by volunteers, many of whom have a criminal past.
"These are the sort of men that Poltorak was in command of, and this characterises him well enough. It is no accident that Heletey’s dismissal and Poltorak’s appointment, drew rather caustic remarks in the press - such as - 'Bodyguard Goes, Gendarme Takes Over,'" Sivkov says.
The now dismissed Heletey, (in his brief career) earned dubious publicity, by declaring plans for an early victory parade in Sevastopol and a huge military march through Kiev... just as hundreds of Ukrainian regular troops and members of volunteer battalions were being encircled near Ilovaisk in the east and killed," Sivkov recalls.
"In the run-up to the October 26th parliamentary elections, President Poroshenko, as commander- in-chief had to sacrifice Heletey. While addressing the legislators on Tuesday Poroshenko urged them to ‘leave criticism of the army outside the scope of the election campaign."
"The Kiev authorities’ decision to appoint a third defense minister in six months is evidence of the utter degradation of Ukraine’s political & military elite. In a normal political system, defence ministers are not changed every now and then.
"The personnel reshuffles have adverse effects on the condition of the armed forces. This shows that Ukraine’s political system is off balance," Sivkov believes.
"Both officers and the rank-and-file are reluctant to fight against their own people. They are now demoralized and no defence minister will be able to bolster their morale and discipline, as long as there is no lasting peace in south-eastern Ukraine," he concludes.
Hezbollah: To Direct All Capacities toward Protecting Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sanctities
Hezbollah states that the worsening Zionist aggression on Al-Aqsa mosque, means that Zionists now move without fear or shame, destroying its gates and injuring dozens of Palestinian worshippers who are trying to save it from the criminal acts of the Israeli occupiers.
The party says in a statement, that the Zionists feel comfortable because of the Arab silence, and the international complicity, and work to implement their plans, which aim at destroying Al-Aqsa mosque and replacing it with their alleged temple.
Condemning the escalating Israeli aggression, Hezbollah calls on all to direct their capacities to protect Al-Aqsa mosque and the Islamic and Christian Holy places there.
Syria Condemns Israeli Support for Armed Fundamentalists
At least 2 fundamentalists injured in a clash with the Syrian army have been transferred to an Israeli hospital, where hundreds of Islamic extremists have been treated over the past three years, reports Sana news.
The injured Islamists were admitted last night to Poria's hospital, Tiberias city, in the Golan Heights, a Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
In early October, two other fundamentalists were admitted to the Zif Hospital, in the northern Israeli city of Safed, and two others were treated at the medical centre in Western Galilee, near Nahariya.
According to press reports quoting Israeli sources, the former provided medical assistance to over 380 members of Islamic groups fighting in Syria, while the latter has treated nearly the same number of extremists.
Tel Aviv's support for terrorist organizations has also included attacks on Syrian Army positions, Sana news agency reports.
Putin worried over growing neo-Nazi tendencies in Baltic states and Ukraine
“Regrettably, the vaccine against the Nazi virus developed at the Nuremberg trials, is losing its efficiency in some European states,” Putin says.
Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, is worried over growing neo-Nazi tendencies in the Baltic states and in Ukraine.
“Regrettably, the vaccine against the Nazi virus developed at the Nuremberg trials, is losing its efficiency in some European states,” Putin says, in an interview with Serbia’s daily newspaper Politika, on Tuesday.
“A vivid example of this is open manifestations of neo-Nazism, which have become routine in Latvia and other Baltic countries.”
“In this sense, the situation in Ukraine causes special worries. The February anti-constitutional coup in that country, was driven by nationalists and other radical groups,” he says.
Moscow opposes direct confrontation with West: Lavrov
Moscow says it opposes a direct confrontation with the West despite its hostile moves against Russia, as a joint international effort is needed to counter threats to global stability, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says.
The remarks follow Lavrov's recent calls for a "reset" with the United States and a series of measures aimed at defusing tensions.
"Despite the hostile behavior of Western partners, we still opposes sliding into the primitive scenario of a direct confrontation between Russia and the West," Lavrov says in an interview with the Journal of Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
"Russia is ready to continue contributing to the solution of cross-border issues, but there must be mutual respect & equal rights," RIA Novosti news agency quotes Lavrov as saying.
The diplomat stresses that only a joint effort can be effective in fighting global threats posed by the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, the Islamic State (IS), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instability in Afghanistan, and so on.
Moscow will, as always, try to seek agreements with its partners to secure a balance of interests, as Russia's foreign policy principles are designed to pursue agreements in accord with Russia's national interests and the lawful interests of its partners, Lavrov says.
While blaming the West for causing the Ukraine crisis, the Russian foreign minister says this has seriously destabilized the international order, and it will have a long-term impact.
These developments in Ukraine "are not a manifestation of any fundamentally new tendencies, but rather the culmination of policies that Western partners have been implementing on Russia for many years," he says.
Britain officially recognizes Palestine
The UK Parliament has passed a non-binding resolution to recognize the Palestinian state.
MPs voted in favor of the motion with a majority of 274 to 12 after a six-hour debate on Monday.
The debate was initiated in the House of Commons by Labour MP Graham Morris, who said the UK is morally obligated to take action, because of its history as a colonial power in the region.
In the debate, the plight of Palestinians was reportedly highlighted by many MPs.
PM David Cameron was one of the many government members who refused to vote.
The debate watched around the world, after Sweden’s decision to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, which angered Israel earlier in October. Other European countries are also likely follow suit.
On November 29, 2012, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly, voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state.
Palestinians seek to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip and demand that Israel with- draw from the occupied Palestinian territories.
Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds (Jerusalem).
UKRAINE GUARDS WANT DEMOBILIZATION
Ukrainian National Guard troops are protesting outside the presidential administration office in Kiev as they demand demobilization. They are refusing to return to their barracks.
About 200 soldiers have surrounded the building claiming they've served six months longer than their contracts stipulated.
Soldiers are chanting, “Demobilization!” and, “All for one and one for all.”
They say they're not going to leave until the authorities answer their questions. The key one being, when they'll be able to go home.
Members of the presidential administration, however, have demanded that the soldiers immediately return to their military barracks.
“Soldiers, come on, return to [your] military units, we’ll figure this out there,” one of the officials told the protesters, reports TASS.
The Guards demand that they either receive better pay, or are allowed to return home.
One soldier said they were paid roughly $11 per month, adding that there has been no rise in wages since their contracts expired.
“I have served for over half a year. What are we: conscripts or professional soldiers? Then why are we still being paid $11.5 per month? Show us a document saying that we can be kept any longer,” the soldier told TASS.
“We have already served for almost two years and we don’t know how many more years we’ll have to serve: three, four?”, a soldier said to reporters at the scene.
Mothers of the protesting soldiers say their sons’ rights have been violated, with demands addressed to regimental headquarters, thus far, being ignored.
Soldiers in Kharkov have also taken to the streets to make their demands heard.
“We were recruited for 12 months in the spring of 2013 from different regions of Ukraine. Now 18 months have passed and there are no signs of demobilization,” one protester in Kharkov told reporters.
Last week President Poroshenko said that demobilization is currently not possible.
"There are currently no possibilities for demobilization under conditions of de-facto military actions,” the President said during his visit to Kharkov on Saturday.
Poroshenko said that it will be possible “to begin steps of demobilization” only when “there will be a constant ceasefire, when a line of defense is built, as soon as our teams, and this should be soon, will be deployed in full combat defensive order.”
The National Guard was re-established in March 2014. The first National Guard's regular battalion was formally sworn in for service on April 6th, following three weeks of training.
Izadi women tell of ordeal
Over 2 months after the ISIL atrocities in northern Iraq, Izadi Kurd women recount the ordeals they suffered at the hands of the Takfiri terrorists.
According to the women, who managed to escape and be reunited with their families, they were sold as slaves or forced to marry the Takfiris.
“I was sold in Syria. I stayed about five days with my two sisters. Then one of them was sold and taken to Mosul and I remained in Raqqa. Those who didn’t want to get married were married by force, whether they became Muslims or not. They insisted on marrying us. Even offering to live together and then get married,” said a 15-year-old girl.
Hundreds of women and girls were abducted by the ISIL militants following the capture of the Iraqi city of Sinjar, which is mainly populated by Izadi Kurds.
Referring to the ISIL Takfiris, or Daesh in Arabic, a 19-year-old Izadi girl, Amsha Ali, said, “I walked for four hours in Mosul. After that an Arab man asked me… what I was doing in the street at midnight. I told him I was Izadi and that I fled from Daesh because they wanted to marry me. He told me stay in his house and that nothing was going to happen to me. I went in stayed in his house for three days. After that he brought me to the Barda Rash checkpoint.”
The ISIL attacks displaced tens of thousands of people, including elderly people and children who died when left stranded in the mountains.
Another 19-year-old Izadi Kurd girl said, “When they took girls and women it was a very sad feeling for me. I saw a lot of murders, murders of Izadis. I saw my husband, brother-in-law and father-in-law forced on the ground and murdered.”
ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control parts of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Izadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.
Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.
ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.
The United States started conducting airstrikes on ISIL only after US interests were threatened by the militants.
Christian clerics urge Europe to recognize Palestinian state
Top Palestinian Christian clerics have called on European countries to recognize the state of Palestine.
“We are tired of negotiations while our people continue to be humiliated by an occupying force,” states the letter issued by the Palestinian leaders of Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Lutheran Churches.
"Europe has a moral, legal and political duty to hold Israel accountable and support Palestinian non-violent initiatives to end the Israeli occupation, including the recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border with east Jerusalem (al-Quds) as its capital," the letter adds.
The clerics’ plea comes shortly after Sweden stated it is to formally recognize Palestine as a sovereign state.
The UK parliament has announced its plan to hold a vote over the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state on October 13th.
On November 29, 2012, the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state.
Palestinians seek to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.
Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to even discuss the issue of al-Quds.
Similarly, the US is also rejecting Palestinians’ current initiative in seeking recognition.
"We believe international recognition of a Palestinian state is premature," US State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, says, adding, "We certainly support Palestinian statehood, but it can only come through a negotiated outcome, a resolution of final status issues and mutual recognitions by both parties."
US ACTS FOR WAR OVER UKRAINE
US plans to supply weapons to Ukraine are not what is needed for a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Alexander Lukashevich says.
Lukashevich recalls that the Minsk agreements on a ceasefire and exchange of prisoners in the embattled southeast of Ukraine, point to the necessity to cease firing and withdraw all heavy weapons.
“And such tendencies undermine agreements on the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis,” the diplomat warns.
Sayyed Nasrallah: US Mother of Terrorism, Morally Unqualified to Fight It
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah says in a televised speech via Al-Manar channel, that the US is not morally qualified to lead a counter- terrorism coalition, because it is the mother of terrorism.
Air Raids Against ISIL in Syria to Be Long, Says Pentagon
US air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria will be long and need a joint effort by all US federal agencies and all US-allied countries, a spokes- person for the Pentagon says now.
The bombings of Jihadists in Syrian territory are designed to limit their self-sufficnecy and training, but we must understand that this is an operation that takes time and patience, Rear Admiral John Kirby tells the CNN network.
"We need a solution that includes an international effort to defeat the extremists' ideology," he adds.
Kirby admits the possibility of the Islamic State taking Kobani, in northern Syria, bordering Turkey, which has been defended by Kurdish units for days, but adds - the town has "no strategic importance".
The United States started an air campaign against ISIL targets on September 23, without the approval of Damascus, involving over one hundred attacks in that Arab country so far, with cooperation from Jordan, Bahrein, Qatar & the United Arab Emirates.
UKRAINE NOT PEACE - BUT SMOULDERING WAR
The situation in south-eastern Ukraine isn't a fragile peace, but rather a smouldering war.
Tuesday, participants in an analysis meeting with permanent members of the Security Council under President Vladimir Putin, pointed to the extreme fragility of the ceasefire regime, in particular, near Donetsk airport. This major air hub remains under the control of Ukrainian forces conducting what Kiev calls an “anti-terrorist operation.”
Several experts believe that the authorities in Kiev are just simulating a truce, while in reality they are getting ready to launch another offensive against the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, possibly, next spring.
In defiance of the Minsk accords of September 19th on the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons with a calibre of 100 mm plus from the engagement line, Ukrainian forces have continued to shell and fire rockets in Donetsk for the past few days. There have been casualties.
“This isn't a truce. It's a harsh war, looking pretty much like the massacre in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the mid 1990s,” a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Maxim Shevchenko, says, after spending the past week in Donetsk.
“Over several days I saw three students killed by an artillery shell, on a street bench. Two people were killed at a bus stop. four lost their lives during the shelling of a local school. And twenty five were injured. That all happened within Donetsk city limits alone,” he adds...
“The Minsk Memorandum of September 19th does not work. President Poroshenko does not control the situation. In response to accusations of many continuing artillery attacks, the Ukrainian military says that some “third force” is to blame.
"In the meantime, all artillery positions near Donetsk airport are controlled by Ukrainian troops,” he points out.
“The authorities in Kiev are using the war in the east of the country, for their immoral purposes — it helps them maintain their rating with Ukraine’s patriots in the run-up to the October 26 parliamentary elections,” the analyst says.
“Poroshenko needs the truce in the east of Ukraine, not because he wants to address the problems of Donbass and the Luhansk Region in a civilized way, but for a pause to get ready for future battles,” Shevchenko says.
“The truce in the east of Ukraine continues to be violated because the Ukrainian army wishes to avenge its defeat in the so-called anti-terrorist operation. Novorossiya’s militias are not going to make concessions. One has a very acute feeling the energy of the conflict has not been exhausted yet.”
“President Poroshenko and his overseas handlers at the US Department of State have not achieved their original objectives and they will not agree to any peace settlement in the region,” President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Doctor of Military Sciences, Konstantin Sivkov, states.
President Poroshenko’s September 24 decree On Urgent Measures to Protect Ukraine and Strengthen its Defense Capabilities, clearly indicates that the authorities in Kiev are hatching revanchist plots.
The decree declares the national economy is to be shifted to conditions of a “special period.” In this military language, the term “special period” means the introduction of martial law war preparations.
As official sources in Kiev say, Ukraine is creating infrastructure for full-scale repairs and maintenance, as well as the manufacture of, military hardware.
“While preparations for another offensive are still underway, Poroshenko will keep the situation in the east of Ukraine suspended: neither peace nor war. The resumption of military operations will depend entirely on when the logistics of the Kiev-controlled armed forces become strong enough,” the military expert says.
UKRAINE CEASEFIRE MONITORS GROW
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), deployed since late March, will continue observing the situation in Donbass for at least another six months, spokesperson Michael Bociurkiw has said.
Bociurkiw told journalists that 2 out of 4 drones are to arrive in Ukraine today to help members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), to monitor the situation in the territories where active battles are ongoing.
The OSCE mission, in line with the Minsk agreement reached at the OSCE-mediated talks on September 5, is to control the ceasefire regime in eastern Ukraine.
Twenty-five new members of the OSCE mission arrived in Ukraine in late September to join 78 monitors working in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokes- person Yevgeny Perebeinos said.
Under the mandate, the mission initially consists of 100 monitors, but may expand by a total of up to 400 additional monitors... depending on developments in the country.
'Western Powers Plan to Dominate Region' --- Ruling Syrian Party
Syria's ruling Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party denounces the plans of Western powers and Israel to reshape the Middle East and steal its wealth, particularly oil.
In a communique on the 41st anniversary of the October War, known here as the Yom Kippur War, the party states that the conflict triggered by various countries against Syria, is aimed at weakening its role in the region.
The document says that the party will continue actions against Takfirists (Sunni extremists) in all their forms.
It also expresses support for any honest international effort to fight terrorism, which is based on respect for Syrian sovereignty and accords with international law.
Brazil holds peaceful elections on Sunday
Brazil held its general elections on Sunday, to choose a new president, state governors, federal & state representatives & a third of the senators.
Dilma Rousseff, the first female Brazilian president elected four years ago was leading in opinion polls, but another female politician, former environment minister Marina Silva, is a strong challenger.
Rousseff to face Neves in Brazil election runoff – exit poll
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her closest challenger, Aecio Neves, are likely to compete in a runoff to decide who wins Brazil’s presidential election, according to the latest exit poll results and a preliminary vote count.
The poll of 64,200 voters, released by TV Globo and conducted by public research firm Ibope, showed Rousseff leading with 44% of votes, followed by Neves with 30% and Marina Silva with 22%. The preliminary count shows Rousseff with an even smaller lead, (40.36%), while Neves has 35.23%, Brazil’s electoral authority says, according to Reuters.
(The preliminary figures reflect the vote after 75% of ballots were counted.)
As none of the 3 front-runner candidates looks likely to get over 50% of the votes, a run-off is expected to be held on October 26th.
Silva, presidential candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party, joined the race in the middle, as the running mate of Eduardo Campos, who died in a plane crash in August.
From a distant third place, Silva rose quickly and surpassed Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party to be runner-up and is likely to proceed to the second round.
Silva has to make sure that Neves won't steal her spot at the last minute. Neves started the campaign in second place, but was surpassed by Silva in August.
According to the latest polls on Thursday evening, he is technically tied with Silva and has a chance to enter the run-off.
Brazilians will also choose state governors.
In Sao Paulo, the most populous state, the incumbent Geraldo Alckmin was in the lead, trying for a fourth term as governor.
He may win in the first round of elections, as polls show he has nearly 50% of support.
In the state of Rio de Janeiro, incumbent Luiz Fernando Pezao, has the lead. Runner-up is Anthony Garotinho, a former Rio governor. Third-ranked Senator Marcelo Crivella, is also fighting to face him in the 2nd round.
Campaigning on radio and tv ended Thursday evening, but candidates could campaign in the streets, with no big rallies, until Saturday.
As Brazil has electronic ballots all over the country, the results of the first round, were expected to be known on Sunday evening.
Right Sector threatens Kiev unless police drop charges against supporters
The movement calls on other paramilitary group volunteers supporting the government’s military campaign in the east of Ukraine, to support their demands and oust “the helpers of the terrorists in police uniforms, from Ukrainian land.”
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov dismisses the Right Sector’s threat on his Facebook page, calling Yarosh’s armed forces “mythical” and the statement, a publicity stunt.
“Maybe it’s time to stop playing Robin Hood and stupidly putting in harm’s way the real patriots who believe you, Yarosh, for the sake of your patriotic snobbism?” the minister writes, adding that he sent the paperwork to have Yevdokimov dismissed, to the government, a couple of weeks ago.
The far-right group, which was at the core of February's armed coup that ousted President Viktor Yanukovich and installed the current government in power, has been at odds with the Interior Ministry for months.
The confrontation first erupted in March after the notorious Right Sector activist, Aleksandr Muzychko, was killed in a police raid to arrest him, from what police reported then, as a self-inflicted gun wound.
Muzychko publicly taunted Avakov before the raid, and fellow nationalists accuse the minister of master-minding his death.
The coup government reportedly considered outlawing the movement at the height of the confrontation. However the military campaign in eastern Ukraine marked a resurgence of the Right Sector’s ties with the government, as the group contributed to the creation of Ukraine’s volunteer battalions, to take part in the fighting.
Yarosh is now on a wanted list by Interpol at Russia’s request. Moscow suspects him of inciting extremism.
TRUCE HOLDING IN UKRAINE
Ukraine recognizes the Russia-ICRC relief cargo officially, as relief aid
Ukraine’s Minister of Social Policy, Lyudmila Denisova, has signed the appropriate decree.
Ukrainian saboteurs confess Plan against Russian Humanitarian Aid
Ukrainian National Guard (NG) troops captured by the rebel city of Lugansk, have confirmed that their mission was to attack Russia's humanitarian aid intended for Dombass region.
The three saboteur members of a task force of the NG hid a load of arms and ammunition in a vehicle, reports the headquarters of the unified militias of the People's Republic of Lugansk and Donetsk.
A rebel spokesperson explained that the arsenal was hidden in camouflaged food packaging bags.
The plan was to 'plant' mines on the local road and attack Russia's convoy carrying 400 tonnes of cereals, 100 of sugar, 62 of foods for children, 54 of medications, 12,000 sleeping bags and 69 electric generators.
In interviews, the commander of the mission said the main objective of the mission was to prevent the aid reaching residents in the rebel areas of southeastern Ukraine, which is declared a humanitarian disaster area, due to constant shelling by those forces still controlled by Kiev.
One detainee said that the Ukrainian army has sent seven teams of saboteurs into the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and that these groups are trained to ambush along roads leading to areas controlled by the rebel militia.
He explained that "security officers" were instructed to perform actions to force the convoy to return to the border, but without killing the Russian rescuers accompanying the shipment, so far.
Spokespersons for the militia HQ cited by Itar-Tass note that investigations continue, on the remaining orders of the saboteurs.
The Russian Foreign Ministry denounces the attempts to obstruct delivery of humanitarian aid sent by Moscow, to civilians in Southeast Ukraine.
A note posted on the ministry website expresses "deep concern" over attempts to put new barriers to the transportation of the humanitarian aid.
‘White rain’: Donetsk residents record alleged phosphorus shelling on video
Citizens in Donetsk have recorded multiple videos of white glowing particles raining on residential quarters. The locals allege that Ukraine's military has shelled their city with internationally prohibited phosphorus incendiaries.
On Thursday night, people in the Lenin district of the city of Donetsk, saw a flow of white fire pouring down from the dark sky alongside the now-familiar sound of bombing, RIA Novosti reported.
They suspect these may have been incendiary shells filled with white phosphorous, similar to those reportedly used by the military, during a blockade of another eastern city, Slavyansk in June.
So far there have been no official reports from the scene about the results of the night shell- ing of Donetsk, which could confirm whether white phosphorous munitions, were really being used against densely-populated areas.
Interfax news agency reported that unusual munitions resembling “fireworks or white rain” after exploding, have been seen on one front of the battlefield, up to 5 kilometers wide.
Charles Shoebridge, a former UK army officer, told RT that the video “does appear to show some of the characteristics one would expect to see with the use of white phosphorus or a similar incendiary ammunition.”
“In particular, a large number of brightly burning particles falling rapidly to the ground, without the assistance of, for example, parachutes to slow their descent, suggests this wasn't a more commonly used illumination ammunition, such as flares," Shoebridge said, stressing though, that “one would associate large volumes of smoke with white phosphorus use,” which aren't visible, possibly since the video was recorded at night.
The Ukrainian Army claims they are in the final stages of freeing Donetsk city from the local militia. Pro-Kiev forces are using heavy artillery, such as rocket launchers, against a city with a population close to 1 million (approximately 950,000 citizens).
More scenes of devastation are emerging from across the city, with many buildings burned out, or riddled with shell-holes. A large number of private homes in Donetsk have been burned down as firefighters can not put out all the fires started by bombs.
At least 74 people, including children, have been killed in the city in the last three days.
Donetsk has come under constant fire by Ukraine's Army since May, suffering at least 128 attacks. According to Donetsk People’s Republic statistics, at least 839 people have died in attacks, over the last three months.
Another centre, Lugansk city, remains a hot spot, being under siege for 2 weeks. City hospitals are running out of supplies: garages are completely out of fuel.
The populace, facing a looming humanitarian crisis, has almost halved, RIA Novosti reports.
The food supply is unstable, which has led to price rises and public transport is dwindling, while garbage disposal has been suspended. Potable water treatment facilities have no chemical agents to disinfect drinking water.
The Ukrainian Army and National Guard have kept shelling communities and residential areas around the regional centre, Donetsk.
The small town of Ilovaisk, 35 klmtrs from Donetsk, has been shelled day and night for the last nine days.
After Ukrainian troops failed to capture the town, pro-Kiev forces besieged it and began shelling residential areas.
The self-defense forces announced recently that they had managed to break the enemy chain around the town, but still, the heavy shelling continues.
Rockets from Grad multiple missile launchers fired by the Ukrainian Army have destroyed a local railway wagon factory, a Maintenance and Repair Department, a children's camp and a boiler house.
They have also damaged a large number of private dwellings, RIA Novosti reports.
The Ukrainian National Guard is deliberately shelling petrol stations, to cut fuel supplies to the town, Russian news agencies report.
Several thousand citizens who could not evacuate from the town through a lack of transport due to constant shelling, are hiding in cellars, 24 hours a day.
Victims of the shelling are being buried in parks and dooryards because the ongoing battle prevents citizens from burying their relatives in cemeteries.
Both electricity and water supplies in Ilovaisk have been restricted, so even the firefighting teams do not respond to emergency calls.
The locals say they cannot establish the real number of dead and wounded because of the absence of any authorities in the town.
In Grabovo village a device, most probably a Tochka-U ballistic missile, has left a crater eight meters deep.
In Gorlovka, shells destroyed a recreation centre, a shopping centre and a market.
In one place, the small town of Zugres, the local authorities say 15 people, including three children, died.
Ukrainian troops are trying to cut the connections between militia forces in Donetsk and Lugansk, but so far their efforts have been in vain.
In the meantime, the Lugansk self-defense militia has launched a counteroffensive on the Ukrainian Army, blocking a soldiers' unit near Miusinsk & inflicting a defeat on Kiev’s troops near the town of Krasny Luch.
AFTER PRESIDENT PUTIN's CRIMEA SPEECH... (in which he said "everything possible" would be done to stop the Ukraine fighting)
Shelling on Donetsk stopped: bread, water, electricity, were provided.
The situation in Donetsk was calm on Friday, as Kiev's military stopped shelling.
Buses ran to Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, & a marketplace was open in Donetsk city's Leninsky district, local residents say.
Bread, water, electric power supplies and Internet access were provided in Donetsk.
Electricity was still cut in several residential houses in Leninsky district of the city, as an artillery shell hit a high-voltage power line. This could be restored in about two days.
Militias control approaches to towns bordering Donetsk & Kiev's army faces them on the other side of the city. In the evening, a bridge was destroyed, disrupting traffic in the town.
Eyewitnesses also said fields were burning around the Donetsk dam lake and explosions had been heard in another regional town.
Leader Hails Changes in Iraq, Says US More Hostile despite Negotiations
The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, hails the talks between Iran and the World powers.
“What Dr Zarif and Iran’s negotiators have achieved will be continued; their negotiating experience is a priceless achievement because everyone knows that negotiations with the US, will not lessen their animosity toward Iran,” asserts the Leader.
His eminence compares the diplomatic field to a war front and believes that the current era is a time of transition towards a new world order.
"In this era, strong and pragmatic diplomacy is of great importance which makes the foreign ministry’s duties even more difficult," the Supreme Leader underlines.
He points to other nations’ hatred for the US's blind support for the Zionist entity in Gaza, and repeats that no one in the world will exculpate the US from complicity in the genocide by the usurping, cruel, pagan Zionist regime, in Gaza.
“The US' standing is now weaker,” the Leader adds.
“Palestinian's polemic about the truce is correct. They say that the predatory regime of Israel now cannot commit any crime it wills and return to a pre-war time unscathed,” he says.
“There should be reparation for the Zionists’ crimes in Gaza and, in the Palestinians’ view, the reparation will be an end to Gaza's siege,” says the Leader, closing his remarks with: “no just person would ever deny such a rightful demand.”
Ayatollah Khamenei also hails the appointment of Iraq's new prime minister, saying the enemies' plot to push Iraq into further chaos, through the political disputes over the premiership, will be foiled, once the new cabinet starts work.
"God willing, the deadlock will end with the appointment of Iraq's new prime minister and the government will be formed to start its work and give a good lesson to those who did, and do, intend to stir chaos and sedition in Iraq," his eminence says, at a meeting in Tehran.
Iraq's President Fuad Masum on Tuesday asked Haider al-Abadi to form a new government.
Abadi was nominated as the prime minister, while some Shiite parties named incumbent Nouri Maliki, as their choice as premier.
According to Iraq's constitution, the majority faction in the parliament, should name the prime minister.
Iran recognizes Abadi as Iraq's new premier. Several high-ranking Iranian officials have congratulated him and the Iraqi nation on the appointment.
Nouri al-Maliki has now resigned.
Israeli Government Splits over Gaza Permanent Ceasefire
Concluding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza has increased the split among Zionist ministers, as the Right's representatives refuse to 'concede' when faced with the Palestinian resistance.
The Zionist admission of defeat, is rising, highlighting the Palestinian resistance's achievements, including their ability to close Ben-Gurion Airport.
Israeli analysts also consider that the Palestinian resistance controlled the rules of engagement - and prevented Israel's army from reaching its goals.
The Zionist State Comptroller is to investigate the political & military setbacks, during the Gaza war.
KIEV REGIME SHAMED INTO AID
Ukraine’s State Service for Emergency Situations reports that 71 lorries have left Kiev, Kharkiv and Dnepropetrovsk to deliver 773 tons of essentials to Starobelsk in the Luhansk region, where they will be handed over to the ICRC, in compliance with international rules.
The ICRC will distribute aid to those civilians who've been worst hit by Kiev’s shelling of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Russia also dispatched a relief convoy to eastern Ukraine last Tuesday. 262 lorries, with about 2,000 tonnes of food supplies, medical products and essentials are now heading for Russia’s border with Ukraine.
Iraqi Dawa party endorses Abadi as new premier
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa Party has announced its commitment to the country’s Prime Minister-designate, Haider al-Abadi.
The Dawa Party calls on all political parties to endorse Abadi as well.
The Dawa Party “calls on political blocs to work with the constitutionally designated prime minister, Mr. Abadi, and accelerate the government's formation in the defined time.”
Dawa initially refused Fouad Masoum, the new Iraqi President, when he asked Abadi, who was the deputy parliament speaker, to form a new government for Iraq.
The party announced its decision after asking Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s opinion on the matter.
The top Iraqi Shia cleric said the new premier should have broad national acceptance and be able to work with other ethnic & religious leaders in the country.
The request by Dawa comes days after Maliki said he would only leave office after a court ruling that he must do so.
3 days in Donetsk: 70+ civilians killed, over 100 wounded
Over 70 people have been killed in Donetsk Region, and 116 others wounded, in the last three days of fighting in eastern Ukraine, state the regional authorities.
Many civilians are also feared dead after Kiev's authorities resumed shelling of eastern districts in Lugansk, the city council reports. No figures for the number of casualties are known, yet.
“According to residents’ reports, eastern Lugansk came under intensive artillery attack Wednesday,” the city council says on its website. “Witnesses say - as a result of the shelling - many civilians have been killed and wounded.”
The city has been without water, electricity or fuel, for almost two weeks.
Over 60 people have been killed or wounded every day, UN human rights spokesperson, Cecile Pouilly states.
Dmitry Kazadaev, a Lugansk resident, says the Ukrainian forces are targeting mostly civilian locations – and not where the self-defense forces are stationed.
“There are a lot less casualties among the self- defense forces than among civilians,” he says.
“And these stupid bombings of residential areas ...you can take a look. There are a few houses destroyed here, two more over there, and one person died near that school. Why are they doing this?”
Lugansk residents say they have “to wait in line several times to get humanitarian aid stamps,” then “go stand in another line for this store, in order to actually get this aid.” The process is described as a “big hassle.”
Ukraine in bloody chaos — Putin
President Vladimir Putin says on Thursday that the current situation in Ukraine is “bloody chaos”, and pledges that Moscow will make every effort to stop the conflict.
“The country has fallen into bloody chaos and fratricidal conflict,” Putin said, at a meeting with Russian lawmakers in the Black Sea resort city of Yalta.
He said that the situation is deteriorating. “A major humanitarian catastrophe has broken out in the southeast,” Putin said.
President Putin said Russian sanctions are not just retaliatory measures, but a real means to support domestic producers and open up the domestic market to new partners.
“They are not just retaliatory steps. In the first place they are measures to support domestic producers and to open up our markets to the countries and producers who are eager to cooperate with Russia and are prepared for such cooperation,” he said, at a meeting with State Duma members on Thursday.
He recalled that the decisions on Russian sanctions had been taken in relation to the countries that had earlier imposed “utterly groundless and illegal sanctions” on Russia.
Putin said that, regardless of the foreign political and foreign economic situation, “the most important thing for us now, is our internal affairs, our tasks and goals that the people of Russia, the citizens of Russia, set for us.”
“Our future is in our own hands,” Putin said, with certainty.
He believes that it is of extreme importance to ensure the highest quality of state governance and “most importantly, a high quality of life for Russia's citizens’.
Russia does not seek isolation from the rest of the world, but the country intends to develop, by relying more on domestic resources and by boosting its industrial and agricultural sectors, President Putin said, on Thursday.
“We must... calmly, with dignity... effectively improve our country without isolating it from the outside world, without breaking ties with our partners, but also not allowing others to treat us in an insolent and tutorial manner,” he said at a meeting with members of the State Duma, in Yalta.
The president said he was confident that Russian society needs to consolidate itself and mobilize “not for wars, or conflicts, but for persistent work for Russia, and in the name of Russia.”
Much of the Russian people’s solidarity depends on the work of its lawmakers, according to Putin.
Vladimir Putin believes that Crimea may play a unifying role in healing historical scars and cementing Russian society:
“I believe Crimea today may be a unique yardstick. It's capable of playing a unique unifying role for Russia --- the role of an historical and spiritual source and a way to reconcile the Reds and the Whites,” Putin said.
Putin said the Crimean peninsula remembers both the triumphs & tragedy of the fratricidal civil war in the early 20th century, when Russians were killing Russians.
The head of state said Crimea may help heal the injury the Russian people suffered, as a result of the dramatic split of the 20th century and could amend the timeline of Russia’s history.
Putin urged legislators, representatives of political parties, religious organizations and culture workers to give thought as to how to cope with this task.
Russian President Vladimir Putin repeated his call to ensure the real equality of 3 languages - Russian, Ukrainian and Tatar - in Crimea.
“Work to exonerate the repressed people of Crimea must be carried out in full and the real equality of the three languages guaranteed,” he said.
Russian PM and chair of Russia’s ruling United Russia party, Dmitry Medvedev, the State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin & a number of federal ministers are also attending Putin’s meeting with State Duma lawmakers in Crimea’s Yalta.
Later on Thursday, the Russian president will meet with men of culture to discuss issues of Crimea’s integration into Russia’s cultural life.
President Putin's visit to the Republic of Crimea, has come after Crimea and Sevastapol signed reunification deals with Russia on March 18th, after a referendum two days earlier, in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.
Work to integrate the Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military and infrastructure systems is actively underway, now that Crimea has become part of Russia.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when it was given to Ukraine by Soviet Communist Party leader, Khrushchev.
Now a new university, water supply, bridge to connect Crimea with Russia, and many other infrastructure developments are in progress.
Head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) in Ukraine, Valery Bolotov, says he has resigned.
"I've decided to temporarily quit the post of head of the Luansk People's Republic," Bolotov tells reporters on Thursday.
"The impact of the wounds are preventing me from being fully efficient in this post."
He says he will ask LNR Defense Minister, Igor Plotnitsky, to replace him, promising to continue the struggle.
"I'm a resident of Luhansk; it's my home, and I'll continue to fight for our common ideals," he says, adding that he is confident that the LNR will be successful.
He acknowledges that there is a difficult situation in the self-proclaimed republic, saying Kiev has sent a large taskforce against LNR cities to destroy the LNR's infrastructure & are doing it on purpose.
"It's a fact that we're on the brink of a humanitarian disaster," he says, urging the LNR's leadership to exert them- selves to strenuous efforts, to work for the sake of the people's lives.
Mass killings of civilians by Ukrainian troops in Uglegorsk ignored by West
Kiev's forces announce the capture of Uglegorsk. The town lies in ruins now and casualties among the civilian population are described as 'plentiful'.
Yet there were no militia troops in the town -- just a militia checkpoint at its entrance.
Kiev's troops encircled Uglegorsk, without allowing humanitarian corridors to civilians.
"On August 12th, at 06:00, a massive artillery bombardment of the town began. The army used D-30 howitzers & MLRS Grad systems.
The missile fire was conducted from Debalcevo town, which was controlled by Kiev's forces.
According to residents in Debalcevo, the artillery shelling continued throughout the day," the press service of the People's Republic of Donetsk says.
The troops were shelling residential quarters: the militia checkpoint stayed intact.
"The infrastructure of this town has been destroyed. Numbers of civilian casualties are difficult to calculate, but it is possible to say it is one of the bloodiest operations by "Ukrainian policemen," the militia says.
Dozens, or even hundreds of civilians may have been killed.
According to the UN, as many as 2036 people have been killed during the punitive operation of Ukrainian troops against Ukrainian citizens.
UK BACK TO WAR IN IRAQ?
Monday night, the RAF made a second drop of aid supplies over Mount Sinjar, including 3,180 reusable containers filled with water.
The first drop took place on Saturday night, when the RAF delivered 1,200 reusable water containers, providing 6000 litres in total, and 240 solar lanterns, that can also be used to recharge mobile phones.
The MoD spokesperson confirms it is planning further aid drops over the coming days.
This decision comes as David Cameron is being urged to recall parliament from a summer recess to address the growing crisis in Iraq - and to even consider taking part in military action.
When asked whether the decision to send Tornado jets to Iraq, even if for surveillance purposes, could be a first step towards military intervention, Chris Nineham, Vice Chair of Stop the War Coalition, says:
"This is often how full-scale military interventions start," adding that the bombing of Libya started with no fly zones.
"The current dreadful crisis in Iraq has its roots in the Western occupation - Iraqi infrastructure was broken and sectarianism was encouraged."
"The very last thing needed is more Iraqis killed by the Western powers, it will only serve to inflame an already desperate situation."
France and the US are already interfering, by sending arms, planes and "advisers".
Russian aid convoy resumes journey to Ukraine
Uncertainty remains as to how much time it will take for Ukraine to vet the 2,000 tons of cargo and let it in, once the lorries arrive at the Russian-Ukrainian border.
Hours after the convoy departed for Ukraine, Tuesday, Russia said Kiev had guaranteed to secure delivery of Moscow's humanitarian aid -- on its territory.
"We are firmly relying on the reassurances given to us by the Ukrainian authorities: they guarantee the safe movement of the entire convoy through the territory controlled by Kiev's forces, " Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.
Lavrov says the pro-independence militias were also informed of the convoy, and are expected to ensure its safety.
"I am certain there will be no disruptions on their part, they're on the territory whose residents need humanitarian aid," Interfax news agency quotes him as saying.
Noting that Moscow, Kiev and relevant international organizations have worked intensively to coordinate the humanitarian operation, Lavrov says he expects that "some public statements that were heard from Kiev today, from some figures demanding some new conditions, will be disavowed."
Conflicting reports have emerged over such issues as, where the convoy will cross the border, and how the aid will be distributed.
In a telephone conversation with his German counterpart Frank- Walter Steinmeier, Lavrov called on Berlin to "employ every opportunity to facilitate implementation of this humane act, in line with the existing agreements... and not allow its disruption."
The humanitarian aid involves no Russian military personnel or hardware, and has about 2,000 tons of supplies, including food, medication, sleeping bags and electricity generators.
The UN estimates that nearly 118,000 people are now registered as internally displaced in Ukraine, with 87% from the country's east.
Over 168,000 have flown into Russia, and figures held by Moscow... are even higher.
The number of killed or wounded in E. Ukraine has doubled to 2,086 over the last two weeks, say the UN’s “very conservative estimates”.
Over 60 people have been dying every day, according to Reuters.
Israel agrees to open border crossing for aid supplies to Gaza Strip
Israel has consented to opening a border crossing for aid supplies to the Gaza Strip, the Sky News Arabia television channel reports on Wednesday.
The Israeli side also "does not object" to an extension of a fishery zone for Palestinians in the Mediterranean Sea for up to six miles - with the possibility of its further extension by agreement with the Palestinian authority.
They have also agreed to reduce the border buffer zone to 300 metres, which Palestinian negotiators have pressed for.
Israel also promises to release another group of prisoners.
Any resumption of the operation of the airport and the seaport, on which the Palestinians also insist, may be settled only after a final agreement on a ceasefire is reached, says the Israeli delegation.
There is also headway on the financial issue on the arrival of resources to Gaza Strip to pay the salaries of public employees.
KIEV TEARS UKRAINE APART
The acceptance of the US and EU proposals on membership of the EU, has invited Hell to Ukraine. The Orthodox Christian Church is still being attacked, as civil war rages.
The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kiev, Metropolitan Vladimir Sabodan, passed away on July 5th amid the Ukrainian civil war.
Inspired by his example, on January 22nd, Metropolitan Antony urged believers in Kiev:
"Today, we celebrate the Ukrainian Day of National Unity with a sense of sadness and grief. The country's on the brink of an abyss. The Church demands a stop to the violence. People! Come to your senses!"
Protests against Kiev's coup regime continue.
Mother's still gather to protest that their sons are being taken away to fight against their own people. Their sons are either fleeing to Russia, or taking drugs to endure the pain. Some even commit suicide.
Last May a priest was killed. Fr. Paul Zhuchenko was shot in the Donetsk region. In early August, Archpriest Vladimir Kreslyansky was killed in the bombing of Lugansk.
On August 9th in Lugansk another Orthodox priest was killed during the bombing. Witnesses say "he died praying. As he prayed, the falling bombs blew up in the air before they reached the ground and no other people were wounded." His prayers, the witnesses say, saved his people.
Other priests are missing and have to be presumed dead.
Churches in Ukraine are being bombed and the civilian population isn't being spared. In July a church was bombed & videoed by Anna News.
Recently, the Annunciation Church in Gorlovka was bombed and set on fire. Kiev appears to want genocide in South East Ukraine.
The Russian Church, in its most recent statement says it "is renewing its call for the immunity of holy places, and that clergy not be sacrificed to hatred".
Sadly, western churches have no compassion. Certainly their governments don't implore Kiev to stop the bombings. The West's churches seem to be following their masters voice - and ignoring the Holy spirit.
A few days ago a plane from Canada arrived in Kharkov, with $4.5 million worth of equipment for Kiev's compulsorily drafted forces.
Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby has admitted that he has sent US instructors to Kiev. Some, supposedly to help investigate the Malaysian MH17 Crash. These instructors are now being shot at and killed.
Perhaps Kirby might well be asked 'why investigate, since your country blamed Russia a few hours after the attack? Were they sent to remove evidence?
Alexander Dugin writes in his "Letter to the American People on Ukraine":
"The American political elite has stolen, perverted and counterfeited the American identity. And they make us hate you, and they make you hate us.
"The global oligarchy which rules the world is using you and smashing us. Let us revolt. Let us resist. Together, Russians and Americans. We are the people. We are not their puppets."
But the US elite won't make peace. Making peace means losing money --- whether in Europe, or the Middle East. They say "Yes" to war, because of their greed.
Obama claims that any news of dead priests and humanitarian catastrophe is Russian propaganda.
He is escalating a civil war, sending money, aid and military "trainers" to the Kiev government.
Bush used to call it the New World Order. Obama calls it "Hope and Change".
"For they are the spirits of devils working signs."
Urge FARC-EP to Leave Hatred Behind, and Embrace Peace
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, People's Army (FARC-EP) calls on everyone to leave all feelings of hatred and vengeance behind, to pave the way to peace and end the long-running civil conflict there.
US Attacks in Iraq ILLEGAL for Obama
US President Obama faces "legal difficulties" if he continues attacking the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq with no congressional approval, experts on constitutional issues say.
Russia sends humanitarian aid convoy to Ukraine
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, that Russia, with Red Cross approval, was sending a humanitarian convoy to Ukraine.
The European Commission warned Russia not to attempt any unilateral actions in Ukraine “under any pretext, including humanitarian.”
Moscow has been urging Kiev to give permission for the shipment of humanitarian aid to residents of eastern Ukraine, but the government in Kiev, supported by the West, is now rejecting this.
The Red Cross says the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine is critical. Reports say thousands have no access to water, electricity or medical aid.
Donetsk city is still being shelled, as fighting between Kiev's troops and anti-coup forces, continues.
The UN says over 1,540 people have been killed and 300,000 forced to flee their homes due to 4 months of fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Kiev intends to stop the internationally-supervised Russian humanitarian aid convoy for East Ukraine for at least a week, a spokesperson for Kiev's military says.
Ukraine says the time is needed for the ICRC), which is contributing to the Moscow-initiated mission, to establish where the aid should go.
The convoy of lorries sent on Tuesday “did not pass ICRC certification,” Andrey Lysenko says.
Presidential aide Valery Chaliy said Kiev wanted the entire cargo to be unloaded at the border to be transferred to Red Cross vehicles.
“We will not allow any escort of the Russian Emergencies Ministry or Russian military,” he says. “Ukraine will take responsibility for this.”
Lysenko claims that the convoy is repainted military lorries, accompanied by an S-300 air defense system, Ukraine News reports.
The ICRC says it was told by Moscow that the convoy had been dispatched, but hasn't yet had detailed lists, or distribution plans.
“The situation is changing by the hour and right now, we are not in a position to provide further details on how this operation could take place,” ICRC spokesperson, Anastasiya Isyuk, says.
Earlier, Moscow said the aid mission had been agreed by all parties concerned.
Russia has sent some 2,000 tons of aid to Ukraine, including food, medicine, sleeping bags and power generators.
The aid is meant for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which have seriously suffered in over 3 months of warfare, as Kiev's army has used heavy artillery, bomber aircraft and tanks, to advance on cities controlled by the militias.
Kiev earlier accused Moscow of trying to conduct a "stealth invasion" of Ukraine under the guise of humanitarian aid, saying Russian troops would be posing as guards of the convoy, while actually being tasked with starting an offensive.
Kiev's narrative is supported by some western countries, who say any humanitarian mission not backed by Kiev, will be considered as an attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Russia dismisses the accusations as nonsense.
In another media briefing on Monday evening, Lysenko said that the humanitarian convoy to Ukraine was organized “under an agreement between Petro Poroshenko & the Red Cross,” and Russia “wants to present this mission as its own initiative” as a publicity stunt.
Luhansk will be the final destination point for humanitarian aid delivery to southeast Ukraine residents, Vice-Premier of the self proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Andrei Purgin, said later, on Tuesday.
And Kiev seems to have reversed its insistence on transferring the lorries' cargoes.
Russia’s convoy of lorries with humanitarian supplies includes food, baby food, medicine & drinking water.
“The convoy is moving to Luhansk through Kharkov and will most likely stop in the town of Schastye [a Luhansk suburb]. If everything proceeds normally, combat operations will be halted there. We don’t have any other details right now,” the DPR vice- premier said.
Humanitarian aid distribution in Lugansk may be complicated, due to the complete absence of communications within the city and the destroyed infrastructure, he added.
“It's not clear who this aid will be handed over to, as the city has been severely damaged. There's no electricity and no means of communicating there,” he said.
The humanitarian convoy is moving to the region without any notice received by Luhansk, the DPR vice-premier continued.
“This means that the convoy will bring the aid and will then try to hand it over to someone on the spot,” he said.
There are currently about 250,000 people staying in Luhansk, according to the city council’s data.
They're being forced to live with unceasing armed clashes between local self-defense fighters and the Ukrainian army, and are also without water and electricity or any means of communication.
The Moscow Regional administration says the humanitarian cargo includes 400 tons of oats, 100 tons of sugar, 62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medicine and medical items, 12,000 sleeping bags and 69 electric power generators.
US strikes against ISIL false show: Iran MP
The US' record of support for terrorists in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan belies its recent military strikes against Takfiri ISIL militants as only “posturing,” a senior Iranian lawmaker says.
“The Americans, who strengthened terrorist groups in Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan, are putting on a show of dealing with the ISIL instead of [taking] serious action,” Chair of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi says.
He adds the US is carrying out airstrikes against the ISIL terrorists, to show that "it has a role to play in the region."
Iran doesn't welcome such posturing by the US, the legislator says, adding, “Such intervention will surely bring no benefit to Iraq or the region.”
On Thursday, US President Obama authorized the use of targeted airstrikes, to prevent the advance of ISIL terrorists in Iraq and protect US' personnel & interests inside the country.
Just hours after President Obama’s authorization of "targeted airstrikes," US fighter jets & drones repeatedly bombed Takfiri ISIL militants in Iraq.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday, that the recent US' strikes against ISIL terrorists in Iraq, do not have a "specific end date."
Oddly, the US has been giving arms and training to militant groups to cause terrorism in Syria, to topple President Bashar al-Assad's government.
ISIL has taken several towns since it intensified its attacks in Iraq in mid-June. The Iraqi army is engaged in fierce fighting with the militants to push them out of the captured areas.
In Syria, the army continues to rack up victories against the many armed gangs there, including ISIL.
West cynical statement on 'no humanitarian need' in S. East Ukraine - Lavrov
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says he hopes that “Western partners won’t put a spoke in the wheel and will think about the people who are badly in need of water and electricity.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has talked to the head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, says the president’s press service.
“Attention was focused on the catastrophic consequences of the military operation conducted by the Kiev authorities in the south-eastern regions, and the necessity to urgently deliver humanitarian aid to the conflict zone,” the statement says.
Russia's Foreign minister accuses Washington, London and Berlin, of a “blatant expression of cynicism” in thinking eastern Ukraine doesn’t need humanitarian aid.
“If what the press services in London and Washington and I think Berlin too, say about the phone contacts of the US, UK & German leaders - if it is true what was said, and in particular, that all three leaders agreed that there is no need for humanitarian aid to southeastern Ukraine, as all necessary measures are already being taken, then it is a blatant expression of cynicism,” the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry says.
Hundreds of thousands have been left with- out water, electricity, and both mobile and land-line 'phones, for over a week.
Constant shelling has forced many to seek refuge in underground shelters and 117,000 people are forcibly displaced within Ukraine, reveals the latest UN data. Moscow's data shows that 730,000 other people have fled for safety, to Russia.
Ukrainian Armed Forces in "misery" pushed back
Another unit of Ukraine's Armed Forces ran out of ammunition during a fierce firefight with anti- Fascist fighters as they tried to surround the city of Donetsk on the weekend.
Reports from the front line tell a story of misery, bad preparation, bad leadership and confusion.
In an interview with the Ukrainian publication Gordon, an unnamed soldier, asking not to be named, out of fear for his comrades, states:
"You know, not long ago, I realized with horror, that Russian "Channel One" tells more truth about the Ukrainian army's situation in the ATO zone, than our media does".
He confirms reports in the Russian media, that Ukrainian army units had crucified a three-year- old boy in Slaviansk and says only 20% of locals in Donbas welcome the Ukrainian Armed Forces -- while 80% want them to go away.
Saturday, Ukraine's Armed Forces admitted to heavy losses when trying to encircle Donetsk.
Although Kiev is admitting to many killed, eye witnesses say that the true figures are always far higher than the official ones.
Meanwhile the humanitarian situation in the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk, is worsening.
Russia states it is ready to launch an aid operation in the area to help the civilians, but the west is now procrastinating.
Some NATO and US figures (plus poodle UK leaders, of course) have said that, if Russia tries to enter Ukraine with aid, they will consider it to be an invasion, and an act of war.
Israel, Palestinians agree to new 72-hour Gaza ceasefire – officials
Agreement on a new Egypt-proposed 72-hour Gaza ceasefire is reached on Sunday, Reuters reports, citing Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Turkey premier wins presidential vote: Unofficial results
Turkey's outgoing PM, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has won the country’s presidential election, unofficial results say.
The results, based on a Turkish media count, say the ruling Justice & Development Party’s (AKP) candidate won almost 52% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election.
"The people showed their will at the polls today," Erdogan said in a brief speech in the Istanbul on Sunday evening.
Erdogan's main rival Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is said to have won nearly 39% of the vote.
Former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ihsanoglu, 71, was joint candidate for the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
"I hope that the result is beneficial for democracy in Turkey," Ihsanoglu said in Istanbul. "I congratulate the prime minister and wish him success."
Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas has reportedly won third place, with slightly more than 9% of the vote.
The official results in the election, are expected on Monday.
Erdogan promised the tens of thousands of voters backing him in the election, a strong and new Turkey, and is flying to Ankara for a victory speech.
Turkish citizens voted at over 165,000 polling stations on Sunday to directly elect their head of state for a five-year term. 53 million people were eligible to vote.
Spreading the truth:-- Spanish volunteers join fight against Kiev in Eastern Ukraine
2 Spanish volunteers have joined the fight against Kiev’s offensive on eastern Ukraine, speaking out against the actions of the nation's military. They say their main objective is to spread the truth about the conflict.
Anhel Davilla-Rivas, 29, and Rafa Munez, 28, arrived in Donetsk two weeks ago to offer their assistance to the residents of eastern Ukraine.
“What we saw in the weeks we've been here, is only bombing of the people and an assault by all the forces on all fronts from Kiev. They are trying to separate the cities and sending mercenaries to kill journalists -- and to demoralize any person that can tell the truth about what’s happening here,” Davilla-Rivas tells RT’s Ruptly agency.
The pair haven't engaged in fighting just yet, stressing that their main goal is to reveal the truth about what is happening on the ground.
Davilla-Rivas notes Russia has no presence in the area - and could do more in terms of humanitarian aid.
“I never see a Russian soldier... volunteers like us, but Russia isn't really doing anything. And I think that Russia should do more for these people - not with guns, but helping people with medicine,” the Spanish volunteer says.
Davilla-Rivas also calls on others around the world to come to eastern Ukraine and help in any way that they can.
“More people have to come here. If they don’t want to take up guns, they don't have to, but... all people can help with something:-- cleaning in the kitchen; telling the truth to countries from here; and watching the situation with their own eyes. It's more important that a lot of people come here and help in what way they can, not necessarily as soldiers.”
Both arrived in eastern Ukraine from Madrid by train and joined the Vostok battalion of the self-defense forces.
Kiev's forces completely encircled Donetsk, on Saturday.
The Donetsk region militia said it is ready for a ceasefire to stop a humanitarian catastrophe.
Their statement came as the UN voiced serious concerns over the situation in eastern Ukraine. “Innocent civilians trapped in fighting continue to lose their lives,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday.
“What we are scared about is the way the military operations are conducted. What will happen if we have intense fighting inside the big urban centres of Lugansk and Donetsk? Fighting in these highly intensified urban areas, could lead to a massive exodus and to massive destruction,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Vincent Cochetel, stated on Tuesday.
Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has called for an international humanitarian mission to be launched.
But Kiev and some of its Western allies vehemently oppose any humanitarian mission involving Russia.
Kiev even accuses Moscow of scheming to infiltrate eastern Ukraine with the help of the International Red Cross mission to “provoke a full-scale conflict.”
According to Moscow, however, a “full-scale” war is already taking place in the region and it needs to stop.
Late on Saturday, the press service of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on his official website that the US has been invited to take part in an international humanitarian mission to Lugansk.
The mission, presented as Poroshenko’s initiative, under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross, was mentioned during his phone conversation with US Vice President Joe Biden. (Whose son now heads Ukraine's major energy company --- since the US-backed coup.)
The eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk declared a state of humanitarian catastrophe on Tuesday, as there are no medical supplies, electricity, or lighting. There's also a lack of mobile or internet communication. 250,000 civilians are unable to leave, a statement on the council's website says.
Over 1,100 people have been killed and 3,500 injured in eastern Ukraine since Kiev’s offensive began. Around 100,000 people remain internally displaced and up to 740,000 have crossed the Russian border since January to stay with friends or relatives, or to seek refugee status.
All of Israel within range of resistance missiles: Iran cmdr.
A senior Iranian commander says all Israel is within range of missiles from Palestine's resistance movement.
“Today, all the occupied territories are within range of the Palestinian resistance missiles,” said the Deputy Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Hossein Salami.
“When the resistance fires missiles at Haifa it means that the missile range of the Islamic resistance has reached 160 kilometers and it means that the entire area [controlled by] the Zionist regime... is within the range of the Palestinian resistance movement,” he noted.
The Iranian commander argued that now, all residents of the occupied territories feel the same level of insecurity, and Israel has become a securitized environment.
Israel has been incapable of controlling the barrage of Palestinian rockets and preventing the Islamic resistance forces from infiltrating into its military bases through a large number of tunnels, the commander pointed out.
Salami questioned Israel’s claim that Palestinian fighters had created 32 tunnels and the regime had destroyed them all.
“It is predicted that the resistance possesses equipment and capabilities which it will put into action if the war gets out of control,” the commander pointed out.
Salami said despite the technologies and equipment Israel possesses and the intelligence operations it carries out, the Palestinians have dug hundreds of kilometers of tunnels, while Tel Aviv has failed to target major Palestinian figures or discover and eliminate the resistance movement’s warehouses filled with rockets and missiles or even a large part of their tunnels.
“This shows that the Palestinian resistance movement has reached such intelligence maturity that has brought the intelligence service of the Zionist regime to its knees,” he noted.
He said the West Bank will surely go through the process Gaza went and it will undoubtedly take up arms and enter the battle against Israel, adding, “At present, they (West Bank) are fighting with stones, but Gaza, which now possesses missiles and drones, also used to fight with stones and the same will happen out there.”
The Iranian commander pointed to Israel’s 33-day war on Lebanon in July 2006 as one of the major failures of Israel as it ruined the image of the regime’s military forces as the world’s fifth most powerful army.
The achievements of Lebanon’s Hezbollah in the 2006 war inspired the Palestinians to resist Israel in the 22-day war on Gaza in 2008 and show better military capabilities in response to the regime’s 2012 aggression against the coastal sliver, Salami added.
He also slammed Tel Aviv’s sway over the US, adding, “Undoubtedly, it has been years that the Middle East policies and strategies of the US have been hostage to the policies of Israel.”
Referring to the atrocities of the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, Salami said the ISIL was established with US support to disintegrate the government of Iraq, and the US sought to reduce Iran’s regional sway, with the aid of a reactionary government.
Nagasaki marks 69th anniversary of US' atomic bombing
Japan has marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city of Nagasaki by the United States, in 1945.
A ceremony commemorating victims of the US nuclear attack, was held in Nagasaki’s Peace Park, on Saturday.
The event was attended by the aging survivors of the bombing, relatives of the victims & high-ranking Japanese officials.
In a speech at the ceremony, the Nagasaki Mayor pledged the city’s continued push for the elimination of nuclear weapons. He also criticized nuclear states for failing to disarm.
Taue urged Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to address growing public concerns over Tokyo’s security policy.
“The rushed debate over collective self- defence has given rise to the concern that this principle (Japan’s renunciation to war) is wavering.”
The US attack on Nagasaki, which killed over 70,000 people in the final stages of World War II, happened three days after Washington’s atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima, where over 140,000 died.
The US possesses the largest stockpile of active nuclear warheads in the world and is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons against another nation.
The United States currently holds a stockpile of 4,650 nuclear warheads, 2,130 of which are operational.
US contracts Latin American youth for subversion in Cuba
A new investigation by Associated Press (AP) exposes a new USAID program to manipulate Cuban youth
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) secretly sent young Latin Americans to Cuba in an attempt to incite opposition and destroy the Revolution, according to an investigation conducted by the US press agency Associated Press, the same agency which exposed the ZunZuneo project, based on the use of mobile phone technology, to destabilize Cuba.
The report signed by journalists Desmond Butler, Jack Gillum, Alberto Arce and Andrea Rodríguez, stated that, beginning in October 2009, a project directed by USAID sent young Venezuelans, Costa Ricans and Peruvians to Cuba with the goal of inciting a rebellion on the island.
AP says: “The travelers worked undercover, often posing as tourists, and traveled around the island scouting for people they could turn into political activists.”
The project employed covert methods commonly used by US intelligence services, such as secret lines of communication, fronts and lies; encryption of information; security measures; promoting exchanges with overseas agents; seeking intelligence information on Cuban society; psychological preparation of emissaries in the case of possible detection by Cuban State Security; use of codes in communications, among others.
Nonetheless the journalists assert that the project was full of “incompetence and risks.”
The covert, illegal operation contracted people, even after the arrest and sentencing of the US contractor Alan Gross, imprisoned for committing acts in violation of Cuban independence and territorial integrity.
Young Cubans who were in contact with the “travelers,” such as university student Héctor Baranda, who became friends with a group of visitors, were shocked to hear about the AP report, and those working for USAID.
“Their assignment was to recruit young Cubans to anti-government activism,” stated AP. The mission consisted of organizing “programs disguised as civic activities, including a work- shop on health prevention.”
“Murillo was to check in every 48 hours and was provided with a set of security codes.”
"I have a headache," for instance, meant the Costa Rican thought Cubans were watching.”
USAID hired the firm Creative Associates International which also participated in the creation of the ZunZuneo program.
According to documents obtained by AP and interviews conducted in 6 countries, “USAID's young operatives posed as tourists, visited college campuses and used a ruse that could undermine USAID's credibility in critical health work around the world: An HIV-prevention workshop,” seen as the “perfect excuse” for the program’s political objectives.
The investigation revealed that the “operation often teetered on disaster. There was no safety net for the inexperienced travelers, who were doing work that was explicitly illegal in Cuba.”
According to emails obtained by AP, after Gross was arrested, USAID informed its operatives, privately, that they should consider suspending their scheduled plans to travel to Cuba.
However, in April 2010, Fernando Murillo was sent to Havana. He was contracted by Creative Associates to “turn Cuba's apathetic young people into effective political actors.”
In Santa Clara, Murillo met a cultural group that called itself “Revolution,” a modest outfit of artists devoted to electronic music & video.
If the idea was to hold a series of seminars to recruit “volunteers,” Murillo needed a theme that would draw in potential recruits and still be allowed by the state.
He initiated a HIV workshop, which in November 2010 attracted 60 young people. The workshop was supposed to give participants sex education to prevent contracting the virus.
But the ulterior motive, documents obtained by AP show, was to use the workshop as a recruiting ground for young people by showing them how to organize themselves.
When he was contacted in San Jose, Costa Rica, Murillo said he could not speak about the details of his Cuba trips because he signed a nondisclosure agreement. He said he wasn't trying to do anything but teach, “I never said to a Cuban that he had to do something against the government,” he said.
However, in the six page report which Fernando Murillo sent to Creative Associates, he stressed that the workshop was “the perfect excuse for the treatment of the underlying theme.”
Elsewhere in the report Murillo revealed another objective, “to generate a network of volunteers for social transformation.”
Manuel Barbosa, founder of artistic group Revolution, said in an interview in Santa Clara, that the Costa Ricans never told him that they were working for USAID.
AP’s report also stated that “Staging a workshop as a front to subvert a foreign government risked casting suspicion on USAID's legitimate public health mission, including a more than 3 billion dollar annual HIV program that the agency says has helped some 50 million people in nearly 100 countries.”
While Murillo and the Costa Rican travelers focused on the HIV workshop and other programs, teams of Venezuelans and Peruvians were deployed to Cuba's college campuses.
Their mission, documents & interviews show, was to “recruit university students with the long-term goal of turning them against their government.”
In late 2009, Creative Associates contracted Venezuelan lawyer Zaimar Castillo, then 22, who ran an organization called Renova.
His organization visited student residences on campus at the University of Santa Clara and took weekend trips to meet the families of students. Another team of young Peruvians also targeted the university in Santa Clara.
They described the students and their facilities in great detail, noting complaints and fairness issues that might be exploited. Potential recruits were listed by name, and then profiled, their leadership qualities assessed in a spreadsheet.
Nonetheless, the Cuban students, in recent interviews with AP, said they were shocked to discover that the foreigners were acting on behalf of USAID.
On September 3, 2010, Irving Perez, a manager at Creative Associates' office in San Jose, called a meeting via Skype to announce a change in strategy. “Our program will no longer rely on trips to the island, at least not as the backbone of the operation,” Perez told the travelers.
Instead of traveling to Cuba, they would try to help certain Cuban “star contacts” get exit visas to train in a third country.
AP recognized the failure of the subversion project.
On August 4, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest declined to comment, when questioned about the project.
“I can not comment on the report (published in the US press) as there are several inaccurate points. I invite you to go directly to USAID.”
A statement by USAID spokesperson Matt Herrick says USAID denies the secrecy of their programs in Cuba, commenting:
“The United States Congress finances pro- democracy programs in Cuba to increase Cubans’ access to more information and the strengthening of civil society.”
Herrick added that all programs carried out in Cuba are available to the public via the webpage foreignassistance.gov. “This work isn't a secret, it isn't covert and it isn't illegal.”
However, as in the case of the ZunZuneo project, the characteristics of this subversive program place it in the category of unconventional war methods, which have been used increasingly over recent years.
This form of warfare seeks to achieve the goals of domination and regime change in countries the US considers opposed to its interests, without the direct involvement of traditional forces on the ground, resulting in relatively lower costs for the aggressor country, but not for the victim.
The participation of “unqualified” personnel in traditional intelligence operations is codified in a US Special Forces’ TC-1801 training circular.
According to the circular, unconventional warfare involves a “multi-agency” effort by the US. The entire project operatively reflects this doctrine, in which USAID plays an important role.
The federal agency obtains multimillion dollar funds from US tax payers for its "humanitarian" work around the world, but has been exposed to be a front for intelligence operations.
Excerpts from document obtained by AP
Contact must be anonymous by Gmail, SMS, or telephone, with a simple message saying the traveler is having a good time.
Communication by any means must be short and to the point.
If sensitive information needs to be reported (security issues, key programmatic events) the message must be encoded and should never mention names, places, numbers, etc. If need be, the free, easy- to-use service Hushmail Express will be used.
If language like the following needs to be used, please interpret according to the phrases:
“I have a headache” → We suspect we are being monitored and will temporarily abstain from carrying out the objectives of the trip, unless otherwise instructed.
“I got drunk and had to go to the hospital. I’m OK now and will take it easy for the rest of the trip” → We were detained and interrogated; we will not continue with the objectives of the trip and continue as tourists for the rest of the trip.
“I’m too ill to stay here, will return home early. See you soon” → We have been expelled and are leaving immediately. Will get in touch with you as soon as we are in a third country.
Israel communities near Gaza border half empty: Report
Nearly half the Israeli communities near the Gaza border, have reportedly fled their houses in recent weeks, expressing doubt over the prospect of any safe return to the area.
During the period, hundreds of Israeli families have left the Negev desert - a tourist attraction - to live in northern areas, the L.A. Times reports.
A poll this week reveals that 21% of residents in the area, are considering moving away.
Despite the Israeli army’s announcement to the residents of the area, after the latest cease-fire with Hamas that they can return to their homes, the communities are reportedly still half-empty.
A senior Hamas official says the group would not extend the truce because Israel has not responded to any of the Palestinian demands at the negotiations.
Israeli tanks have started to redeploy to their previous positions during the Gaza war.
Thousands of Palestinians left their homes east of Gaza City on Friday in fear of Israeli attacks after the truce ended.
The Israeli military aggression against Gaza, which began on July 8, has killed over 1,900 Palestinians, including over 400 children, and wounded over 9,500 others.
Palestinian resistance movements have retaliated by launching rockets into Israel.
US 'hiding truth' on Malaysian plane
Former US lawmaker Ron Paul says the US is “hiding” the truth about the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane in east Ukraine last month.
"The US government's grown strangely quiet on the accusation that it was Russia or her allies who brought down a Malaysian airliner with a buck anti-aircraft missile," Paul says, in an article published by Voices of Liberty.
US officials claim the plane was downed by a missile fired by anti-coup forces in Ukraine but Paul says that claim is baseless because the US has not provided any evidence for it.
"It’s hard to believe that the US, with all its spy satellites available for monitoring everything in Ukraine, that precise proof of who did what and when, is not available," he says.
“When evidence contradicts our government’s accusations, the evidence is never revealed to the public - for national security reasons, of course.
Independent sources claim that the crash site reveals evidence that the bullet holes may have come from a fighter jet. If true, it will implicate Western Ukraine,” he states.
Paul also condemns US officials for not wanting to reveal the truth. "Too bad we can’t count on our government to just tell us the truth & show us the evidence.
I’m convinced that it knows a lot more than it’s telling us."
Israeli soldiers fire live bullets to curb West Bank protest
Israeli soldiers have used live ammunition and plastic bullets to disperse thousands of angry anti-war Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank.
It came after Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinian protesters after Friday prayers in the West Bank town of al-Khalil (Hebron).
Palestinian sources say 50+ Palestinians were injured after Israeli forces used live bullets to break up the protest in al-Khalil.
The demonstrators were protesting against the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip now.
Initial reports say rallies also took place in the cities of Nablus, Jenin, and Tulkarm, where protesters voiced their support for the resistance in Gaza.
This is the latest in a recent string of pro-Gaza rallies in the occupied West Bank since Israel began pounding Gaza a month ago.
Over a dozen Palestinian protesters have so far been killed during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank.
The Israeli forces have also arrested a large number of demonstrators across the occupied West Bank in recent days.
Palestinians in the West Bank said they were out in the streets to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters killed in Gaza.
The latest developments come as Israel has resumed its attacks on the besieged region after a three-day ceasefire which ended at 5:00 am GMT on Friday.
At least two Palestinians, including a child, have been killed in northern Gaza and nearly a dozen people have been wounded in the latest Israeli attacks.
The Israeli regime’s 30 days of military attacks against the Gaza Strip, which began on July 8, have claimed the lives of 1,900 Palestinians, including over 400 children, and wounded over 9,500 others.
Russia arrests five Ukrainian officers
Russia’s main federal investigating authority has arrested five Ukrainian army officers for shelling civilian areas in eastern Ukraine.
The Investigative Committee of Russia made their announcement on Friday, saying the 5 were among hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and border guards who laid down their arms and crossed into Russia to request refugee status on Monday.
According to the committee, evidence was present showing that the 5 detained soldiers were part of a Ukrainian mechanized brigade that indiscriminately shelled Luhansk region between July 19 and August 3.
The committee says the shelling, which left 10 civilians wounded or killed and at least 20 buildings damaged, is confirmed by other Ukrainian soldiers questioned.
If the 5 detained soldiers are convicted, they could face up to 20 years in jail.
Thursday, Ukrainian government forces shelled a hospital in Donetsk, killing at least one person and injuring two others.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army since the Kiev government launched military operations in mid-April in a bid to crush the anti US-installed-regime protests.
The ongoing violence has forced thousands of civilians to abandon their homes. Local authorities warn of a looming humanitarian crisis as water, food and fuel supplies have dried up in the eastern regions.
CIA waterboarding is torture: International Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross breaks its silence on the CIA water-boarding inflicted on suspects, and say it's torture and a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
It's the first time that the Red Cross, based in Geneva, Switzerland, has publicly declared a specific interrogation technique, as torture.
"The definition of torture is any technique causing severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, inflicted for a purpose, such as:- the obtaining of information or a confession, exerting pressure, intimidating or humiliating," Anna Nelson, the Red Cross spokesperson in Washington, says, Friday.
"Waterboarding fits into this category and therefore qualifies as torture" --- under US and international law --- she adds.
Nelson says the recent US' public defense of waterboarding, has prompted the Red Cross, which historically has not publicly spoken on specific detention practices, to break its traditional silence.
"Given that this debate's been going on for years and continues to come up, we do not want our silence to be misconstrued as tacitly condoning this technique as permissible," she says.
Many human rights activists & legal scholars, have long maintained that waterboarding and other cruel techniques inflicted on detainees during George W. Bush's administration, were torture, which is prohibited by US federal law.
"There's no way any competent, knowledgeable attorney can say that waterboarding is legal under the Geneva Conventions, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or the Convention Against Torture," says retired Major General Thomas Romig, a former US Army judge advocate general.
The new condemnation of the CIA’s cruel actions, comes with a renewed US debate over the spy agency’s practices after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which included waterboarding several detainees at so- called secret black sites overseas.
The CIA and US lawmakers have fought over publication of parts of a lengthy Senate Intelligence Committee report critical of the spy agency's conduct.
Last Friday, President Barack Obama said at a news conference that the coming CIA report would show some terrorism suspects suffered techniques that "any fair-minded person would believe were torture."
Over 10,000 killed in Kiev’s punitive op - Ukrainian MP
Over 10,000 people have been killed in Kiev’s punitive operation since April, says a Ukrainian parliamentary group.
The MPs urge the president to declassify the full information on citizens killed.
The Ukrainian parliamentary group “For peace and stability” says on Friday that the figure is given by volunteer groups working in the east of the country.
“We have estimated that just in the first two weeks of July nearly 2,500 Ukraine soldiers were killed in the ‘anti-terrorist operation’,” the group said, in a prepared statement, in the Verhovnaya Rada (Ukraine’s parliament).
“The number of wounded during the same period was over 5,000 people. Thousands of civilians fell victim to military actions. Most of them died from shrapnel wounds.
Thus, the preliminary number of the Ukrainians killed during the anti-terrorist operation, is more than 10,000 people according to our estimates,” says the co-chairperson of the parliamentary group, Sergey Gorokhov.
The MPs also addressed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the Kiev government, urging them to “declassify the official data on the number of civilians, Ukraine soldiers, and everyone who took part in the anti- terrorist operation, who've been killed.”
Gorokhov states that the president gets a report on people killed every day, but it is "classified".
Meanwhile, the families of those missing in the military operation zone, petition the government each day, in the “hope that their close ones will be found,” he adds.
“According to local residents of the eastern regions, the bodies of Ukrainians are loaded into vehicles and taken to an unknown destination, each day.
We demand the Ukrainian people be told the truth - bitter, heavy, but the truth,” he urges.
Earlier on Friday, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Security Council, Andrey Lysenko, stated that fifteen Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the last 24 hours.
“Over the last 24 hours, 7 armed forces personnel, and 8 border patrol agents were killed, while 79 were injured,” Lysenko said.
Kiev's military operation has been intensifying since May. According to the Security Council’s estimates, over 400 soldiers have died in the operation, while 1,600 have been injured.
The UN estimates, as of Tuesday, that there have been over 1,300 civilian deaths, over 4,000 have been injured, and over 100,000 people, have been forcibly displaced.
Moscow has called numerous times for a unilateral ceasefire and for negotiations between the two conflicted sides.
“Instead of giving these people a hand, inviting them to the negotiating table, and agreeing on how to live in the country, the military operation is going on,” Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said, way back in June.
He called for the start of a dialogue that should be based on the Geneva Statement of April 17, 2014, and the roadmap that was developed by the Swiss representatives of the OSCE at the beginning of May.
OLD MEN FORCED INTO KIEV's ARMY
Ukraine’s President Poroshenko, Friday, signed a parliament-approved bill which increases the age limit for reservists, the presidential press service reports, Friday.
The age limit for reservists liable for military service is increased from 50 to 60 years for privates, sergeants and sergeant-majors; from 55 to 60 years for junior and senior officers and 65 years for general officers.
Ukrainian deputies voted for the bill on July 22nd.
West blocks Moscow’s UN plea to reinstate ceasefire at MH17 crash site
The UN Security Council fails to adopt a resolution on reinstating the ceasefire at the Malaysian Airlines plane crash site in eastern Ukraine, after Russia’s draft was blocked by Western states.
“Unfortunately, some UNSC members have reacted in their usual way as they oppose any criticism of the Ukrainian leadership,” Churkin says, adding that Lithuania, the US and Australia proposed inappropriate amendments to the text.
“A few countries, such as Lithuania and the US, started to suggest amendments, saying that the draft lacks criticism of the people they call ‘separatists’,” Churkin adds.
Moscow’s resolution didn't concern the actions of either side in the conflict, the Russian envoy to the UN says. It was, rather, dedicated to the announcement published on the website of the Ukrainian commission investigating the crash.
According to that announcement, Kiev will not stick to the ceasefire, as international investigators have left the crash site.
As Churkin states, later on, the Ukrainian delegation to the UN informed the Security Council that this wasn't true, and that the ceasefire is still in force.
Thus Russia submitted a document urging the Ukrainian authorities to publicly clarify the situation, calling on both sides in the conflict “to restrain from any actions that could violate the integrity” of the crash site.
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution for an international investigation into the MH17 incident, and demanding safe access to the site for investigators. Russia's draft said the resolution shouldn't be violated.
However, shelling and fighting in the area has continued, stopping the experts' work several times over the past few weeks.
On Thursday, Kiev suspended the truce with self-defense forces at the crash site.
"The ceasefire in the plane crash zone, announced by the President of Ukraine at the request of international experts, which has been thoroughly observed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, will not be in place at the beginning of the second phase of the investigation," Ukraine's current government said.
The government claims the international mission was halted because of “terrorist provocateurs” who “posed threats to the lives” of the recovery mission members.
The suspension of the ceasefire in the MH17 crash area is a direct violation of the UN resolution, Vitaly Churkin states:
“The truce was approved by UN Security Council resolution 2166, thus it is a clear violation of the resolution, and will have very serious consequences for the international inspectors' ability to conduct the investigation, when they decide to return to the area.”
Before the ceasefire was canceled, the Netherlands, leading the international probe, announced it was halting the mission to recover victims and debris of the July 17 MH17 crash, because of fighting between Ukrainian forces and rebels in the area.
The international investigating team got to the site days after the tragic incident, and was delayed for security reasons.
Experts are expected to resume their efforts once the situation allows.
Currently, at least 3 areas containing the Boeing-777’s debris remain unexamined by the international mission, according to the Ukrainian government.
The majority of experts will leave Ukraine until a decision on resuming the operation is made, it said in a statement.
Russia to create rapid reaction force as relations with West get strained
Russia’s airborne troops are to double and be fundamentally rearmed over five years to be the basis of a rapid reaction force.
A high-ranking source at the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, says that the Defense Ministry’s leadership approves of the ideas of airborne force commander, Colonel-General Vladimir Shamanov, to approximately double the strength of the airborne troops’ manpower to 72,000 officers and men over five years.
Shamanov adds: airborne troops are going to expand their presence outside Russia.
The troops will be equipped with combat drones as early as 2015, which will allow reconnaissance units to operate deeply inside the enemy’s rear.
“The plans for doubling the airborne troops’ strength, are quite realistic and relevant, as the vision of threats to Russia amid the crisis in Ukraine has changed,” a member of the military-industrial commission under the Russian government, Mikhail Remizov, states...
“Apparently, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is determined to correct the mistakes made by Anatoly Serdyukov, whose reforms were aimed at slashing the airborne troops’ strength of 35,000 men by half,” he says.
“Just a few years ago, Russia’s military reform was based on the assumption that the era of classical wars between countries had gone, never to return.
“All of a sudden it turns out that threats against Russia keep mounting. This circumstance has required building up the strength of the airborne troops, as the most mobile component of all,” Mikhail Remizov says.
“British General Adrian Bradshaw, NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, has said the alliance’s rapid reaction force, charged with the mission to deter Russia, should incorporate ground and air forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, said that Russia would give a symmetric response to NATO’s build-up. For this reason, the plans for arming Russia’s airborne troops with combat drones, looks very timely and appropriate, given the new challenges.
So far, this class of aircraft has been the greatest weakness of Russia’s military hardware.
“A considerable airborne troops build-up, was discussed at the Defense Ministry in 2012-13, but nobody hurried to translate it into reality.
“This decision was prompted by the current political situation in Ukraine and the need to react to actions by our counter-parts, such as the NATO member-countries,” Colonel-General Viktor Yesin, former chief of the strategic missile forces’ staff, states.
“The airborne troops have a two-fold mission of dealing with local conflicts and serving as the backbone of peace-keeping forces. Of late, the number of both types of challenges has grown considerably, so the strength of mobile troops should be increased, on the condition, though, that the overall build-up won't exceed the current overall strength of Russia’s armed forces,” Yesin says.
“Converting Russia’s airborne troops into a full- fledged rapid reaction force their material and logistics base should be reinforced considerably.
“An ever wider use of drones by mobile, naval and ground units is an overall world trend. The fact that the Russian Defense Ministry has set the task of arming the airborne troops with drones is a very timely measure,” Yesin says in conclusion.
Israel pounds Gaza Strip after truce expiry Israel has resumed pounding the Gaza Strip, shortly after the expiry of a 72-hour-long truce between Tel Aviv and Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas.
There are still no reports of potential casualties from the renewed attack, which started after the lull expired at 0800 (0500 GMT) on Friday.
The Palestinian resistance is also reported to have started rocket attacks on Israel. Over 2 dozen rockets have been fired on Israeli cities including Ashkelon, Eshkol and Kivosim.
Israeli officials say that most rockets landed in open areas and there were some interceptions.
The developments came after indirect talks in Cairo failed to extend the ceasefire. A senior Hamas official has said the group would not extend the truce, as Israel had not responded to Palestinian demands at the negotiations.
Israeli tanks have started to redeploy to their previous positions during the Gaza war.
Thousands of Palestinians left their homes east of Gaza City on Friday in fear of Israeli attacks after the truce ended.
Kiev turns off hot water -- fears winter gas shortage
Kiev has turned off all hot water in the city to try to save gas for the winter months.
The Ukrainian government is unsure how long people will be affected, or whether the measure will be enough to ensure winter heating.
White House: US won’t attack ISIL in Iraq
White House press secretary Josh Earnest has rejected any idea of a US plan to bomb militants in Iraq, saying the US doesn't have a military solution to the ISIL advances.
"There are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq," Earnest tells reporters.
"These problems can only be solved with Iraqi political solutions.”
He says the US may choose military action if US interests are endangered.
US-backed ISIL militants have terrorized entire communities: Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Yazidis and others, as they steadily advanced into Iraq.
White House and Pentagon officials have previously said, the US won't take military action in Iraq until PM Nouri al-Maliki, a Shia allied to Iran, steps down.
Hamas ready to resume war if its demands are not met
The armed wing of Hamas, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, calls on Palestinian negotiators in Cairo not to push for any extension of the 72-hour truce unless their demands are met, in particular, the opening of Gaza’s port.
They say they are prepared to engage in a long war with Israel, if those demands are not met. The 72-hour truce is due to end at 0500 GMT on Friday.
Over the past 3 weeks, almost 1,900 people have been killed in Gaza, the vast majority of whom, were Palestinian civilians.
Russia bans agricultural products from EU, USA, Australia, Norway, and Canada
Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev has signed a new decree banning all imports of beef, pork, and poultry meats, fish, cheese, milk, vegetables and fruit from Australia, Canada, the EU, the US and Norway.
The ban lasts a year, starting on August 7th.
The PM also says Russia has stopped transit flights by Ukrainian airlines to destinations such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey, adding that Russia is considering a ban on transit flights across Russia for EU/US Airlines to the Asia-Pacific region.
Western sanctions are a “dead-end track”, but Russia has been forced to respond to the measures taken by western countries, Medvedev adds.
Alcohol imports from both the EU and the US, will not be restricted.
“We are actually speaking of an embargo on imports of entire product categories, from countries which have introduced sanctions against Russian organizations and individuals,” Medvedev says.
Dmitry Medvedev has instructed the Federal Customs Service (FCS), to see that banned imports cannot cross the Russian border.
The Russian PM also warns against possible attempts to use the situation to raise prices.
"I'd like to warn that attempts to gain from price speculation in this situation, will be roughly stopped," Medvedev says.
The Russian PM adds that Moscow still has a lot of trading partners abroad, which it hasn't placed on its sanctions retaliation list.
The agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor announces plans to increase imports from Chile, which could include vegetables, fruit, fish, shellfish, meat and milk.
“Imports of fish, which last year amounted to 53,000 tons, may grow two or three times. Shellfish imports might increase from 3,000 tons to 15,000-20,000 tons,” the watchdog says in a statement.
Medvedev sincerely hopes "our partners’ economic pragmatism will prevail over bad political decisions, and they will think before trying to frighten Russia by imposing trade restrictions on it and then, mutual trade and economic partnerships will be restored to the volumes which existed before. We would like that to happen.”
In 2013, Russia imported $6.7 billion worth of both meat & meat products. The largest suppliers came from the now-banned states, like Denmark (6.6% of total Russian meat products), Germany (6.4%), USA (5.3%), and Canada (3.8%).
Medvedev believes the years' embargo Russia is imposing, will boost domestic agriculture. He accepts that Russian farmers will have to come a long way, but says that it's a unique opportunity to develop products to replace imports.
“We're only lagging behind in the production of certain varieties of meat and milk. We've to catch up -- and our farmers are ready to do so, especially if we help them.”
As a result of the ban, Russia’s production of agricultural products could grow by $10.8 billion over the next 18 months, the Russian Minister for Agriculture , Nikolay Fyodorov, states.
The Governor of Krasnodar Region, Aleksandr Tkachev, has been quick to react to the news by saying farmers in the region will use the chance to replace imported goods with their own produce.
“I've spoken to the heads of agricultural enterprises, about the presidential law banning imports of Western agricultural goods,” Tkachev says.
“The mood is on the whole optimistic. Krasnodar's farmers have received a big stimulus to use all their potential.”
Krasnodar is a big agricultural player in Russia. It's the 3rd biggest producer of meat & eggs in the country and the 4th biggest milk producing region.
Astrakhan Region in Russia’s south, also says it is ready to increase agricultural production by 20–25 percent next year.
“There’s a real possibility that all the low quality goods, which have been imported, will not appear on Russia's market again.
The country’s agriculture is now being given a historic chance for a breakthrough, to raise production, the variety of goods, and improve processing technology,” the Governor of the Astrakhan Region Aleksandr Zhilkin, says.
Banning certain imports from the West will provide “historic opportunities” for Russia’s more distant territories in the Ural Mountains and in the Far East.
“Russia is the richest country in the world and has unique marine resources, that, unfortunately, go abroad. However, the demand for these products on the international market are very high,” Irina Yarovaya, a Duma member from Kamchatka, says.
The new ruling will help Russia develop its agriculture and make it easier for Russian farmers to market their products, head of the Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Igor Rudensky, says.
US ready for more sanctions against Russia – Obama
US President Barack Obama says Washington is ready to consider imposing more sanctions on Russia if Moscow does not change policies over Ukraine.
When asked if the sanctions are actually working, Obama said “We don’t know yet.”
He added that he believes “Sanctions are working as intended, in putting enormous pressure & strain on Russia's economy,” citing “estimates in terms of capital flight,” and “projections for Russian growth.”
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has a choice “to try to resolve the issues in eastern Ukraine through diplomacy and peaceful means... or alternatively, continue on the course he’s on, in which case he is going to be hurting his economy, and hurting his own people over the long term,” Obama said.
Donetsk People’s Republic PM announces his resignation
Aleksandr Boroday, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk (DPR) has announced he will resign.
He will be replaced by Aleksandr Zakharchenko, one of the militia commanders and also a leader of the ‘Oplot’ movement.
“I came here as a crisis manager, a start-upper, if you want. I’ve managed to achieve a lot in the past several months, the DPR's been established as a state,” Boroday told a media conference.
Unlike Boroday, who originally comes from Moscow, Zakharchenko was born in the Donetsk region.
Boroday was appointed PM of the DPR on May the 16th. He will continue working at the DPR government as an adviser to the prime minister.
I YEAR OF HARD SANCTIONS AS RUSSIA HITS BACK
European Union fruit & vegetable produce represents around 2.7 billion USD-worth of exports to Russia.
This is now stopped by Russia for one year in retaliation for the sanctions the EU put on Russia last week.
Meat sourced products, dairy and other foodstuffs are also banned, in a move which will hit the EU hard.
Several countries are stating that they intend to sue the EU, if sanctions hurt their businesses.
US farmers are also hit.
(More details on the Finance column on Rhondda Records' Home Page...)
Netherlands suspends search operation at MH17 crash site in Ukraine
Dutch PM Mark Rutte says it is dangerous for international experts to remain in the region where the security situation is deteriorating.
About 80 international specialists were at the crash site, including 8 members of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, and experts from the Netherlands and Australia.
On July 31st, in Minsk, officials from Ukraine, the OSCE and Russia, and representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic agreed to a ceasefire within the humanitarian corridor used by OSCE monitors to access the crash site.
Several days after the Boeing accident, local militiamen found the fragments of over 200 bodies at the crash site. All were taken to the Netherlands for identification.
Australian and Dutch experts wanted the passengers' remains and personal belongings sent to the Netherlands. But this may now take several weeks.
The expert mission consists of 332 members who are to be joined shortly by 68 Malaysian policemen. Up to 100 people will be working at the crash site daily, but will not conduct the investigation or collect evidence now.
Kiev ‘gave up on us’: Ukrainian commander tells why 400 troops escaped into Russia
The command in Kiev blatantly abandoned a group of the 400+ soldiers encircled by the self-defense forces, the senior Ukrainian officer who requested sanctuary in Russia with his men, reveals.
Lack of ammunition, food, fuel and clear orders from commanders on what to do in the condition of encirclement, made the Ukraine troops cross the border, Major Vitaly Dubinyak, a battalion commander, states.
“For two weeks, we were fighting back without ammunition and fuel. I didn’t have an opportunity to feed my men for almost two weeks. We even ran out of first strike rations. The personnel were more exhausted by despair than by the actual shelling,” Dubinyak says.
“Other than giving us a command ‘hold on,’ Kiev provided us with no other assistance. And - during the last week - they aborted all communication. They simply gave up on us,” he says.
438 soldiers, including 164 Ukrainian border guards, were let into Russia, on Sunday night.
The troops have been housed in a tent camp deployed near the checkpoint where they entered Russian territory.
“In order to save people, the commanders of units decided to cross the border with Russia. All the equipment and weaponry had to be left on the Ukrainian side. The main thing was to save the people,” the commander stresses.
‘This civil war must be stopped’ Dubinyak says, and adds that he is surprised by the “almost brotherly” treatment his men received from their Russian colleagues.
“Those, who give orders to us are lying when they say that we are in a war with Russia. None of the Russian’s even gave a wry look. They understand that we are hostages in this troubled situation,” he says.
“A medical check-up was organized for us here. The wounded received assistance. We were fed. We showered for the first time in a month. We're given clothes, with conditions required for recreation created for us,” the commander adds.
According to Dubinyak, his men went through “a meat grinder” and they won’t return to battle again.
He urges the decision makers in Kiev to “fight on their own and send their own children to die.”
The commander also admits that the fighting in south-eastern Ukraine has turned into a full- scale civil war.
“I don’t know how I’ll look into the eyes of the mothers of those of my boys, who died. But I know for sure that this civil war must be stopped. "I’ve seen enough of the locals' tears and enough of my mens'. suffering. I’m sick of it. The main thing is that we’re alive. We’ll deal with the rest after we get home,” Dubinyak says.
Russia, UN call for humanitarian corridors in Ukraine
At the emergency UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, Russia and the UN called for aid corridors to be established in eastern Ukraine.
But the Ukrainian envoy opposed this, said the situation is "manageable" and said that there is "no humanitarian crisis in Ukraine."
He accused Moscow of continuing the unrest by supporting the anti-coup regions.
John Ging, operations chief for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said nearly four million people in the region were directly affected by the violence, with casualties rising and 1,000 people leaving the region daily.
He said 1,367 civilians and combatants have been killed in the contested regions and over 4,000 wounded in the fighting since mid-April.
The UN said that of the 117,910 people registered as internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout Ukraine, 87 percent were from the east.
There are 168,677 Ukrainians registered as having crossed into Russia: 60,000 of those applying for refugee status and 115,952 applying for other ways of staying legally in Russia.
"However, this isn't the full picture, as many Ukrainians who fled their homes, have not registered with Ukrainian authorities, or officially applied for assistance," he said.
"We call on the Ukrainian government to address some of the key challenges to implementation of relief activities." "A unified system for IDPs is crucial to enable comprehensive analysis and an understanding of the existing needs."
Suggesting that humanitarian assistance be exempt from Ukrainian taxes, he calls for more efficient entry into Ukraine for aid workers, plus the easier transfer of medical supplies certified by the World Health Organization, into the region.
"We call on all sides to this conflict to enable free and safe movement for the population, while at the same time ensuring full access by humanitarian organizations to affected populations remaining behind," he said.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia said "indiscriminate shelling of housing blocs and critical civilian infrastructure" is taking place now, in eastern Ukraine.
Shells fired by Ukrainian armed forces "continue to fall into Russia," he said. "There were about 20 such cases on August the 3rd (Sunday)."
"There's a critical health and epidemiological situation in Lugansk. There's no electricity going to houses. There's no water either, because of shelling. There's no clean water. There's a lack of telephone communications and even waste is not being cleaned up ... Ukrainians have begun to leave the country en masse," Churkin said.
"Our country stands ready to undertake this great burden and does not need material assistance from outside," he continued. "We stand ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians on our own."
But, he said, the situation was different in the Ukrainian capital.
The Moscow envoy said: "We've made multiple appeals to them for humanitarian corridors to evacuate children and the vulnerable, including child orphans and also sending humanitarian assistance from Russia, but Kiev has refused all these offers scornfully."
"Russia calls on the international community to take emergency measures to improve the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine," he said.
"We'd like to send a convoy with Russian humanitarian aid - with the accompaniment of the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) - to where Internally Displaced Persons are concentrated, in the east.
"We stand ready to act with optimal transparency. Let the international committee monitor convoys, their transport routes (and) distribution of aid."
Ukraine's acting permanent representative to the UN, Oleksandr Pavlychenko, in an attempt to counter Churkin's claim of Ukraine shelling, said Russia "continues shelling settlements and armed forces" near their joint border.
"The number of Russian armed forces, heavy armored vehicles & troops positioned along the Russian - Ukrainian border, has been constantly increasing," Pavlychenko said.
"The shelling has resulted in casualties among civilians and soldiers & destroyed residential and administrative buildings."
He said "the government of Ukraine gives consideration to all recommendations by the UN; there is no humanitarian crisis in Ukraine: the situation is manageable."
Pavlychenko said his government was able to fulfill all social obligations, including retirement payments, social benefits and salaries, to the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions "except for some small towns" which remain under control of the separatists.
"If the Russian Federation really is interested in stabilization of the humanitarian situation in the Ukraine we propose just a few easy steps to be made by Russia: stop sending mercenaries, weapons and ammunition to the territory of Ukraine, establish effective control over its part of the border to stop the infiltration of illegal armed troops and weapons, stop provoking instability, and withdraw all military and paramilitary formations of the Russian armed forces from Ukrainian borders," he said.
The sooner those steps are taken by Russia, Pavlychenko said, "the sooner the situation in my country will stabilize and we will get back to normal life."
Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the UN, said the situation in Ukraine "is a matter of deep concern to China."
"We hope the international community will play a constructive role in easing the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine.
"We hope that the UN humanitarian agencies will strictly abide by principles of neutrality and objectivity."
He called for a ceasefire "as soon as possible" and said conducting comprehensive dialogue is "the only way out of the crisis in Ukraine."
"The international community should do more to promote peace and dialogue and create favorable conditions for the parties concerned, to maintain dialogue and engagement, and make constructive efforts for the political advancement of Ukraine's crisis," Liu said.
The parties should "meet each other halfway," he said.
The situation in eastern Ukraine was described as a catastrophic, full-blown war by Russia's UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, at the UN Security Council meeting.
Russia called for the urgent UNSC meeting
Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin had said he hoped the meeting would convene sooner, but the United Kingdom had not yet given its consent.
He also said there had been enough time to prepare for the meeting and added, “There were cases when meetings were convened in a shorter time.”
The Christian Science Monitor quotes the UN as saying that nearly one million people have been displaced by the escalating fighting in the two eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk & Luhansk.
According to Russia's regional authorities, over 5,000 Ukrainian refugees enter Russia’s Rostov region daily.
“It's getting close to a humanitarian crisis here,” says Alexander Titov, spokesperson for Rostov Governor Vasily Golubev.
“Depending on the fighting on any given day, between five and ten thousand people come across the border. We have 95 temporary refugee centres operating now, up from 15 in June. We try to send people on to other regions as fast as we can but the numbers are still swelling.”
GAZA 72 HOUR TRUCE
Hamas, Israel accept new 72-hour ceasefire
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and Israel have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, starting Tuesday morning.
Hamas spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri, said on Monday, that the group had told Cairo it agreed to the truce -- proposed by Egypt.
A senior Israeli official confirmed that the temporary ceasefire would take effect at 0500 GMT.
The official said an Israeli delegation will head to Egypt for talks to work out a long- term truce in the next three days.
Israeli media quote an official as saying that there'll be no need for Israeli forces to be in Gaza, if the ceasefire is upheld.
"We agree to begin implementing Egypt's initiative. If the ceasefire is upheld, there will be no need for any forces in the Gaza Strip," the unnamed Israeli official says.
The Palestinians, earlier, set a number of conditions for a ceasefire. The terms include: the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza; lifting Israel’s blockade; and the release of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israel.
Kiev deploying missile launchers, multiple rocket systems near Donetsk - Moscow
Kiev keeps deploying missile launchers, including SS-21 (Scarab) and multiple rocket systems Uragan and Smerch in Donetsk as it “wants to continue the war” in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry says in a statement.
Over 400 Ukrainian troops cross into Russia for refuge
More than 400 Ukrainian troops have been allowed to cross into Russia after requesting sanctuary. It’s the largest, but not the first, case of desertion into Russia by Ukrainian soldiers involved in Kiev’s military crack- down, in the east of the country.
Rostov Region’s border guard spokesperson, Vasily Malaev, says a total of 438 soldiers, including 164 Ukrainian border guards, were allowed into Russia, on Sunday night.
One of the Ukrainians was seriously injured on his arrival in Russia. He was taken to hospital for surgery, the officials added.
The other Ukrainian soldiers have been housed in a tent camp deployed near the checkpoint via which they entered Russian territory.
The Russian border guards are providing them with food and bedding.
Footage taken by Russian media at the scene shows the Ukrainian soldiers being handed ration packs and resting in temporary shelter.
Those who agreed to speak on camera said they were relieved to be in safety for the first time in weeks.
“We were given orders to leave our positions and go to Russia through a corridor. We were told it would be safe. Of course they, I would say, made us go fast from behind,” one of the soldiers, a BMP driver who wouldn't reveal his name or even show his face on camera, said.
“It was so bad back there. Hot, and so many deaths and bad things,” another one, Dmitry, said. “Folks can rest here. They gave us a chance to wash, gave us new clothes. We are thankful.”
“We have been in those fields for more than six months and are very tired,” he added.
Another one, Yaroslav, said he wants to go back to his family in Ukraine.
“I want to do something peaceful. My contract expired four months ago,” he explained.
The Ukrainian Security Council says it is keeping in touch with the soldiers “through diplomatic channels,” but it did not give an exact number of how many troops had crossed the border.
“A Foreign Ministry representative is now working with them, and negotiations over their return are ongoing,” Ukraine Security Council representative Andrey Lysenko said.
All their equipment and vehicles were taken intact by the Russian troops.
The flow of deserters from the ranks of Kiev's Army and National Guard seems to be growing during the escalating violence in Donets and Lugansk Regions, where Kiev is fighting armed anti-government militias.
In late July, 41 Ukrainian troops fled to Russia to escape fighting in eastern Ukraine. They're now being prosecuted in Ukraine for deserting in the heat of battle.
Several Ukrainian units are reported to be cut off from supply lines after attempted offensive operations, which brought them behind the militia-controlled territories... and close to the Russian border.
The Ukrainian troops, while far superior to the militia in terms of heavy weapons, suffer from poor logistics.
Many soldiers complain about lacking even basic supplies like food and water, on the frontline. The situation is aggravated by cases of apparent negligence from the command, with units being supplied with faulty equipment, coming under friendly fire, or simply left behind while retreating from militia counter-attacks.
A YouTube video allegedly shows a Ukrainian soldier explaining how he has to catch and cook snakes, as his unit receives no rations.
This causes serious morale problems in the army, with more critical voices saying the Ukraine de facto regime has no infantry troops, and has no other way to fight, but by leveling militia-held cities to the ground with artillery and air strikes.
There is rising resistance to the military campaign from Ukraine's population, with several cases of mass protests against the latest mobilization drive, as mothers and wives of the conscripts took to the streets to demand that their loved ones not be drafted into the army.
Over 700 Ukrainian government troops have surrendered to local militias in the Donetsk region, Novorossiya news agency says.
“There's a message from the militiamen that 702 members of the Ukrainian army have surrendered in Shakhtersk, which is being held by joint militia forces,” the agency quotes one of the militia commanders as saying.
This information could not be confirmed from other sources.
Militiamen also say they used heavy weapons against Kiev's troops twice on Monday.
Russia launches aerial war games
Russia has launched aerial "war games" in its central and western districts, a Russian air force spokesperson says.
Igor Klimov says the 5-day drill began Monday and includes aircraft such as Su-27 & MiG-31 fighter jets, the Su-34 bomber, as well as Mi-8, Mi-24 and Mi-28N helicopters.
The drill tests “aircraft weapons on land and air targets on new ranges, and will conduct real and electronic launches of anti-aircraft missiles in Ashuluk (Astrakhan region in southern Russia) specifically designed to improve coordination between aviation and anti-missile defenses,” says Klimov.
Klimov says the drills are planned to continue until August 8 and that the exercises are the first in a series to improve coordination in the Russian military.
The latest drill takes place in the middle of the Ukraine crisis, where government forces are attacking anti-fascist self defense militias in the eastern regions bordering Russia.
9 UN staff members killed in Gaza
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) says nine of its staff members have been killed in the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip.
The UNRWA says in a statement that violence is devastating Gaza for the third time in six years and that the staff and other people, are in the line of fire.
The UNRWA's director, Robert Turner, calls the loss of staff, a tragedy that can't be forgotten.
“Consistently from the beginning, we called on all parties to the conflict to respect the neutrality and viability of our installations, to use proper precautions, distinctions & proportionality, when dealing with military targets near the installations,” Turner says.
“The locations of all of these installations have been passed to Israel's military multiple times, they know where these shelters are. How this still continues to happen, I don’t understand,” he adds.
On Sunday, Israeli forces struck a UN-run school in the southern city of Rafah, killing at least 10 Palestinians and injuring dozens others.
The school was sheltering 3,000 Palestinian refugees who had fled Israel’s relentless attacks on the blockaded enclave.
Over 1,822 people, including 400 children, have been killed & over 9,400 injured since July 8th, when Israel began attacking the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military says three Israeli civilians and 64 soldiers have been killed in the conflict.
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas puts the fatalities at over 150.
Ukraine fires missiles into Russia and where OSCE Observers work
9 missiles fired by Kiev's Grad missile launchers landed in Russian territory, in Tarasovsky District in Rostov Region, says Russia's Security Service.
The spokesperson says that 9 craters from Grad- launched missiles were found in Mityakinskaya, a village in Rostov region --- no casualties reported.
But, since the conflict began, one Russian has been murdered by the shelling and nine injured.
Lugansk faces a humanitarian catastrophe, as Kiev's forces fire indiscriminately into the city.
Russia's border checkpoint at Gukovo crossing was shelled from Ukraine's side twice, Sunday.
OSCE observers and journalists were working at the checkpoint, as it was being shelled.
Moscow is showing remarkable restraint and patience, in the face of such attacks.
Palestinians launch fresh barrage of rockets into Israel
On Sunday, a fresh barrage of rockets fired from Gaza, hit Israel's Sdot Negev, Nahal Oz & Alumim, and a mortar shell exploded in Eshkol.
Rocket alarm sirens blared in several areas of Israel's Hof Ashkelon, and Eshkol and the Sha'ar HaNegev region were under Code Red missile alert.
Israel’s Tourism Minister Uzi Landau says that the military’s power is diminishing dramatically and that it has failed to break Hamas.
An Israeli soldier has been wounded by sniper fire in northern Gaza and transferred to Tel HaShomer.
The army says at least 64 soldiers have died since July 8th. Palestinian resistance groups dispute the number, saying the casualties are much higher.
Israel's aerial and ground attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip continued relentlessly for the 27th day, causing more death and destruction. Nearly 60 people were killed in Israel's attacks on Sunday.
Another UN school sheltering displaced Palestinians in the southern town of Rafah was hit, leaving eleven people dead and thirty injured.
Earlier, airstrikes claimed the lives of at least 33 Palestinians, including several children. Ten of the victims -- members of the same family -- were killed in Rafah.
Thousands of people have staged marches in different countries to protest against the ongoing Israeli military aggression against Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip.
US to Train, Arm Ukraine National Guard in 2015 --- EU to also sell armaments to Kiev ---
The US administration has notified Congress of its plans to train and arm the Ukrainian national guard next year, the Pentagon says, as the US continues to intensify its response to Russia's support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
"The Defense Department & State Department have notified Congress of our intent to use $19 million in global security contingency funds to train and equip 4 companies and one tactical headquarters of the Ukrainian national guard, as part of their efforts to build their internal defense capacity," Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby, tells reporters.
The training, requiring congressional approval, will take place at a location in Ukraine which hosts multilateral exercises, Kirby says. The trainers will be provided by US Army Europe and the California National Guard, he adds.
Earlier, US President Obama urged Vladimir Putin to stop supporting separatists in east Ukraine & seek a diplomatic end to the crisis.
While the US repeatedly slams Russia's troop buildup on the border with Ukraine and its support for the rebels, the Obama administration has limited military aid to non lethal aid, such as medical supplies and helmets.
The EU is now complicit in murder in the south east of Ukraine, says Russia's President Putin, by allowing arms sales to the current regime, which came to power through violence, is extremely anti-Russian, and is now using ballistic missiles on civilians in rebel areas.
EU ‘quietly’ lifts ban on supplying Kiev with weapons and technology – Russia
The European Union has “quietly” agreed to lift restrictions supplying Kiev with military technology & equipment which can be used for the “repression” in the country, Russia's Foreign Ministry says.
"During a recent meeting of the Council of Europe in Brussels, leaders of EU member states agreed 'on the quiet' to remove restrictions on exports to Kiev of equipment that could be used for internal repression," the ministry says in a statement on its website. "The Export of military technologies and equipment were also allowed."
Moscow slams the move as "contradicting the rules on military technology and ammunition exports which have been earlier applied by the EU" and also "pierced" with double standards.
The EU approved its rules for controlling the export of weapons and ammunition on December 8th, 2008.
Criterion No.3 calls on EU member states, to stop issuing export licenses for military equipment and technologies that can provoke or prolong conflict.
The EU's decision to restart issuing licenses for special military equipment exports comes despite the continuing “anti-terrorist operation” in east Ukraine, the ministry says.
“It is obvious why the EU is ignoring the indisputable facts of the shelling of Russian territory [in Russia's Rostov region] by the Ukrainian side: the perspective of feeling your own involvement in such actions creates certain discomfort in Brussels,” the Russian statement says.
The ministry calls upon its European counter- parts “to follow logic,” and not the "prodding" from Washington.
“A decision to limit the supply of ammunition and weaponry to Ukraine should have been introduced, after the launch of the so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ in the Donbas and Lugansk Regions.
It isn't too late to restore the ban,” the ministry says.
Restrictions were introduced by the EU Council in February 2013, when Viktor Yanukovich was president and there was severe confrontation between Maidan protesters and police.
“Then the EU decided it was ‘wrong’ to supply the ‘Yanukovich regime’ with weapons,” Moscow points out.
Kiev’s so-called “anti-terrorist operation” in the eastern regions of Ukraine has intensified lately. The most recent crackdown was in the village of Gorlovka, in the Donetsk Region. It resulted in 31 civilians being killed there.
According to UN figures, at least 1,129 people have been killed, and nearly 3,500 wounded in eastern Ukraine since the start of the army operation in April. Also, 100,000 people have been forcibly displaced.
The latest UN report says that the cause of the rising death toll is intensified artillery shelling of civilian residential areas and the so-called “collateral damage” in heavily-populated areas.
Israel kills 150 Palestinians over "missing" officer
Israel killed 150+ Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours, after Tel Aviv's false claim that Hamas had captured one Israeli soldier.
Israel bombarded the south Gaza town of Rafah on Saturday, after it was reported that an Israeli soldier had been captured by resistance fighters.
Hamas denies capturing an Israeli soldier, saying the missing trooper might have been killed in the Israeli bombardment on Friday after Tel Aviv broke the internationally agreed three-day ceasefire.
Hamas' Qassam Brigades state that they are unaware of the missing soldier's status, or events surrounding his disappearance.
At least 35 Palestinians are killed on Saturday in Israeli bombardments and shelling, in and around Rafah early Saturday, says Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra and adds: Rafah’s main hospital is evacuated because of attacks.
Elsewhere in Gaza, Palestinian officials report over 150 airstrikes, including one against the Islamic University in Gaza City.
Friday’s escalation came after Israel abruptly ended a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire with Hamas, just a few hours after it began.
According to Tel Aviv, the Israeli death toll now stands at 66, including 63 soldiers and 3 civilians.
Hamas puts the figure at about 150, which is the heaviest loss of life for the Israeli military in years.
The Palestinian death toll from Israel’s 26 days of onslaught on Gaza has now reached nearly 1,650, with 9,000 people injured. Most of the casualties have been civilians, including a large number of women and children.
OBAMA SCARED OF HIS SHADOW
The head of the CIA has apologized privately to lawmakers after an internal review reveals that CIA employees secretly monitored, as alleged, the computer use of certain Senate staffers.
Director John Brennan’s admission this week that members of his agency “acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding” among the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee comes months after Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), chair of that panel, complained to Congress that her staff was subjected to covert monitoring, as they worked on an official investigation into CIA detention and interrogation practices.
That report — a 6,300-page review of tactics employed by the CIA, considered by some to be forms of torture — is not made public.
Dean Boyd, a spokesperson for the CIA, told journalists at McClatchy that an investigation into Sen. Feinstein’s allegations led the CIA to determine that some degree of wrongdoing did occur, and an additional review is being undertaken to examine what action, if any, the agency will take.
Sen. Feinstein says she has "grave concerns that the CIA's search may well have violated the separation of powers principle of the US Constitution.”
“I am deeply dismayed that some members of the Senate have decided to make spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts,” Brennan, the CIA’s director, had said, before his admission. “I am very confident that the appropriate authorities reviewing this matter will determine where the wrongdoing, if any, occurred, in either the executive branch, or the legislative branch.”
According to McClatchy, Feinstein’s staff is still being scrutinized. The Senate Sergeant at Arms office, Jonathan Landay and Ali Watkins reports, is investigating whether or not the Intelligence Committee staff removed classified documents without authorization.
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice confirmed that, after a careful review, it failed to find sufficient evidence to carry on with a criminal investigation into the CIA’s spying.
President Obama refused to back any inquiry, way back in March, at any level.
Israelis, Palestinians clash at rallies in West Bank
Clashes have erupted in several areas in the occupied West Bank between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians rallying against Tel Aviv’s massacre of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The scuffles occurred in different areas of the occupied West Bank including al-Khalil city (Hebron), Bethlehem, and Beit Ummar, as Israeli soldiers used live bullets to attack those who demonstrated in solidarity with the Gazans.
“Israel's forces are not using regular dispersal weapons such as smoke grenades and shock grenades, but they are using live ammunition,” states Press TV correspondent Hanna Qassis.
About 22 Palestinians have been injured during the clashes.
Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails in retaliation.
The West Bank Palestinians say they're on the streets, to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters being killed in Gaza.
“Palestinians in Gaza are the same people, the same blood, and the same history, therefore they're clashing with Israeli forces to express their anger over the massacre taking place in the Gaza Strip,” Qassis adds.
Israel kills dozens of Palestinians during Gaza truce
The Tel Aviv regime has unilaterally ended a UN- brokered ceasefire in Gaza, with the Israeli army launching fresh deadly attacks on civilian sites across the besieged Gaza Strip.
Palestinian officials say over 60 Palestinians were killed and 200 more injured after tanks hit a major shopping centre and residential areas in southern Gaza on Friday.
Israeli media reports Tel Aviv has informed the United Nations that the ceasefire in the impoverished Palestinian region is over.
Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu accuses resistance groups of violating the truce.
However, Hamas and resistance groups reject the allegation, saying that Israeli attacks on Rafah provoked retaliatory fire from Palestinian fighters.
Sources say the 72-hour humanitarian lull was meant to allow Palestinians to bury their dead and treat the wounded.
The Israeli military alleges that one of its soldiers is now held by resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian fighters say they killed 15 more Israeli soldiers, south of Gaza.
Also on Friday, the Israeli military confirms that 5 of its soldiers died in a mortar strike near the impoverished territory.
Israel's military says it's so far lost nearly 61 soldiers in fights with Palestinian resistance fighters. Hamas says 146+ Israeli soldiers have been killed over the past 24 days.
This is the heaviest loss of life for Israel's military, in years.
East Ukraine clashes kill 14, including 10 troops Fierce clashes between Ukrainian troops & anti- coup forces have killed 14 people, including 10 government soldiers, in the east of the country.
Ukrainian military spokesperson, Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky, says Friday that clashes took place in Shakhtersk, 25 kilometers away from the crash site of Malaysian Air-lines Flight MH17.
The spokesperson adds that the 10 bodies are confirmed as Ukrainian soldiers and the remaining four have not yet been identified.
According to the Ukrainian army, its forces were ambushed in the town.
Kiev's military says it has re-launched a broader offensive against anti-coup forces after a day-long ceasefire; it claims it won't carry out operations in the immediate vicinity of the MH17 crash site.
A team of 70 international experts on Friday has finally arrived at the crash site to conduct search operations in a bid to recover the remains of some of the 298 victims of the July 17 crash. Over 200 bodies have so far been found.
The group of experts has been unable to access the area for several days in a row, due to fighting around the site.
Anti-coup forces have repeatedly accused Kiev of blocking access to the crash site by fighting in the area.
Ukraine launched military operations in Donetsk and Lugansk in April, to crush anti-coup forces there. Violence intensified in May after the two regions held local referendums, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence from Ukraine.
The United Nations says at least 1,129 people have been killed in the ongoing military attack on eastern Ukraine.
Russian minister calls for reversal of dangerous trends which preceded WWI
Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky compares the policy of sanctions against Russia to the hysteria which preceded the outbreak of World War One.
The minister, who attended the “Great War, Lessons of History” public forum on Thursday says sanctions are not a liberal instrument.
Medinsky, who is a graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), tells the forum that his University lecturers taught him that “sanctions are an economic instrument, which ruling elites use to inflict direct economic damage, including on one’s own business and citizens, in pursuit of their political goals.”
“It's a Stalinist approach, I would say,” he says.
He draws some dangerous parallels between what’s happening now, and the run up to WWI.
“Hysteria, the growth of nationalism, appeals to battered national pride, and a spying mania,” all filled newspapers in the pre-war years, and can also be seen today, Medinsky says, calling for a reversal of these dangerous trends.
“We, the Europeans, should be on one side of the barricades, in one fortress, to defend our common values, history and culture,” Russia's culture minister says.
"I killed 13 Palestinian kids today": Israeli sniper
An Israeli sniper has admitted to killing 13 children in the Gaza Strip in one day, as Tel Aviv continues its aerial and ground attacks in the besieged strip.
Posting on an Instagram account, David Ovadia released a photo of himself holding a sniper rifle.
The image with his post, however, was deleted entirely by hackers from an anonymous group. The group has launched hundreds of attacks on Israeli websites over the past two years.
The move was reportedly followed by the group’s cyber attacks on Israel's Mossad and Ministry of Military Affairs.
The development comes as Tel Aviv claims that its army has been targeting Palestinian fighters from resistance group Hamas and it describes the growing death toll, as "collateral damage".
Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since July 8. More than 300 children have so far been killed.
Israeli sources have confirmed the deaths of 56 soldiers. Hamas says the toll is much higher.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu pledges to complete the destruction of Gaza's tunnels with, or without, a ceasefire.
Tel Aviv has also mobilized 16,000 reservists for the ground military operations in Gaza, putting the total number at 86,000.
Tel Aviv has targeted hospitals, clinics, and civilian shelters, over the past 24 days.
Ukrainian parliament rejects PM's resignation
The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday failed to approve the resignation tendered by Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk last week, the parliamentary press service said.
Yatsenyuk's resignation was backed by only 16 of 339 deputies present at the 450-seat assembly.
The decision means that Yatsenyuk and the current cabinet will continue to fulfill their duties until parliamentary elections, which are widely expected to be held in October.
Yatsenyuk, a 40yr-old pro-European technocrat, took charge of Ukraine's cabinet in late February, following the anti-government street rallies which toppled ex-President Viktor Yanukovych and the former government.
Last week, Yatsenyuk tendered his resignation in protest against the "ineffectiveness" of Kiev's parliament after the collapse of the ruling group.
UN Rights Chief: Israeli Attacks in Gaza “Deliberate Defiance” of International Law
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay lashes out at the Zionist entity on Thursday, over its attacks in Gaza, saying that such attacks are considered as Israel's "deliberate defiance" of international law.
Pillay slams the country's attacks on homes, schools, hospitals and United Nations facilities, which shelter 250,000 civilians in Gaza.
"There appears to be a deliberate defiance of the obligations that international law imposes on Israel," the South African tells reporters.
Pillay says that repeated calls to respect the laws of war have gone unheeded during the latest crisis and in previous spikes in the Israeli offensive.
"The same pattern of attacks is occurring now on homes, schools, hospitals, UN premises. None of this appears to me to be accidental," she says.
She speaks 1 day after Israeli shells slammed into a UN school in Jabalia refugee camp, which was sheltering some 3,300 homeless Gazans, killing at least 16 people.
Pillay says that, under international law, civilian facilities should not be attacked, noting that due warning must be given before an attack, in order to allow civilians to be evacuated.
"It is completely unconscionable that the proportionality & precaution international law requires, is being ignored," says Pillay.
She also criticizes Israel's strikes on Gaza's only power plant, and on its water and sewerage systems.
The UN Human Rights Council has voted to open an inquiry into the Gaza offensive, despite fierce opposition from the Zionists and their global sponsor, the United States.
"We cannot allow impunity. We cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on," Pillay says, calling into question any investigation by Israel into its own abuses.
"I join the world in condemning the aggression that is taking place in Gaza, and particularly the killing of civilians. This is wrong and it will always be wrong," she concludes.
Egypt must reopen Rafah crossing soon: Iran diplomat
A senior Iranian diplomat says Egypt’s delay in issuing permits for the delivery of Iran’s humanitarian aid to Gaza is “unacceptable”, urging Cairo to immediately reopen the Rafah border crossing.
Cairo’s long delays in issuing permits to flights carrying Iran’s food and medical aid to people in the besieged Gaza Strip through Egypt is “unacceptable”, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab/Africa Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, says.
“We strictly call on the relevant officials in Cairo to speed up the issuance of permits,” the Iranian official says.
He adds that 57 Palestinian infants, children and women, who've been critically injured in the Israeli regime’s atrocities in the coastal enclave, are waiting for Egypt to allow them to fly to Iran for medical treatment.
Amir-Abdollahian notes that Iran’s first cargo of 100 tons of humanitarian aid, and the list of injured Palestinians ready for transfer to Iran, were placed at the disposal of Egypt's Foreign Ministry & Egypt’s interest section in Tehran, a few days ago, “but no flying license has yet been issued.”
Despite the international outcry, Cairo is keeping the Rafah border crossing closed. The 12-kilometer crossing links Egypt to the Gaza Strip, which has been under a crippling Israeli siege, since 2007.
On July 24th, Amir-Abdollahian said that the consignment of relief aid provided by the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) for Gazans had been flown into Cairo & was waiting to be cleared for transfer into Gaza, via the Rafah border crossing.
At least 1,262 people have been killed in Israel's aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip since July 8th. Over 7,000 - mostly civilians - have been injured.
The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, has been launching retaliatory attacks against Israel. Tel Aviv confirms 53 Israeli soldiers as having been killed in the Gaza war, but Hamas puts the number at over 100.
Criticizing Israel ends political careers in US: Rozzo
What Israel is doing in the besieged Gaza strip is a “massacre” and the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians & US officials “can’t say anything, because this can end a lot of political careers,” an American political analyst in New Jersey says.
“The US and its political structure supports Israel because Israel is the largest military client in the Middle East,” says Constantino Rozzo, a former candidate for the second Congressional district in New Jersey.
“Palestine seems to be the largest open-air prison camp in the world, and what’s going on with Israel now (& our politicians won’t reveal this or condemn what’s going on) but what’s going on is a massacre, what’s going on is a human rights abuse,” Rozzo says on Wednesday.
The Zionist regime’s mission is “ethnic cleansing and destroying the Palestinian people,” he notes.
US lawmakers from across the aisle on Capitol Hill have said they will “stand with Israel” in its deadly offensive on Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.
On Monday, Republican & Democrat lawmakers gathered at an event hosted by the National Leadership Assembly for Israel, to express their opposition to any kind of criticism of Israel’s atrocities.
“Nobody can say anything, because it’s pretty hard to say anything, because this can end a lot of political careers, because Israel has a lot of power, a lot money behind this,” he says.
Israel has been pounding Gaza, killing innocent residents of the impoverished Palestinian strip since July 8th.
The Palestinian death toll from over 3 weeks of air, sea and ground assaults on the block- aded coastal sliver, is now over 1,300, with more than 7,500 people wounded.
UK, US AND LITHUANIA BLOCK UN ON BOEING CRASH SITE SAFETY
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expresses his disappointment over the UN Security Council’s inability to confirm the key provisions of resolution 2166, on the Malaysian Boeing crash.
"Ending hostilities in territory where the Malaysian Boeing’s wreckage is still lying, should be a priority step to be taken to fulfill resolution 2166,” he says.
He recalls President Poroshenko ordering an end to military attacks within 40 kilometers around the Boeing crash site - and how his order was followed by Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council stating that Ukraine's army would stop the security operation, only after the militias were squeezed out of the crash area.
On Tuesday night, the US, UK & Lithuania, rejected Russia's proposed statement on the need to respect resolution 2166.
Lavrov denies that Russia and militia fighters are keeping international inspectors from the Boeing crash site.
“I've seen an interview with OSCE representatives, including the Dutch, who were trying to get to the crash area accompanied by militias protecting them.
“But they couldn't do it, because the Ukrainian army grossly violated the UN Security Council resolution,” states Lavrov.
Given the absurdity of the current situation, Lavrov dares to suggest that perhaps Russia should send peacekeepers there, to provide international access to the Boeing crash site.
“Against the background of these obvious facts -- plus calls on Russia to ensure the access of international experts to the crash site -- I don't have any other reaction than to urge the UN Security Council to pass a resolution inviting Russia to deploy its peacekeepers on the perimeter of the Boeing crash area for security reasons -- if everybody is so sure that only Russia can do anything about it, and it is impossible to do business with the Kiev authorities any longer,” he says.
LATIN AMERICA LEADS HUMANITY
As Chile, Peru, recall envoys from Israel, tyrant Israel earns nothing but hatred...
Israel’s international isolation is growing, as Chile & Peru join other Latin American countries & recall their envoys from Tel Aviv.
"Given the escalation of Israeli military operations in Gaza, the government of Chile, in coordination with others in our region, has decided to call in for consultation Santiago's ambassador for Chile in Tel Aviv, Jorge Montero," the Chilean Foreign Ministry statement says.
The statement adds that Israel's acts in Gaza “breach fundamental norms in international humanitarian law” --- referring to the civilian victims and strikes on hospitals and schools.
A similar statement is also published by the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, condemning the Israeli operation in Gaza.
Santiago and Lima’s move comes nearly two weeks after Brazil and Ecuador recalled their ambassadors, in protest against Israel’s atrocities in the tiny coastal sliver.
Venezuela & Bolivia, who cut ties with Tel Aviv over Israel’s 2009 war on Gaza, have also strongly condemned Israel's actions.
Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela, are among the 29 countries that voted in favor of a probe by the UN Human Rights Council into Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.
Kiev's bloody eastern Ukraine campaign
Ukraine's President Poroshenko has called a ceasefire within a 40km radius of where the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed.
Russia urges all parties in east Ukraine to lay down their arms while inspectors investigate what caused the tragedy.
Kiev is ready for a cease-fire “now,” US Secretary of State John Kerry claims, after seeing Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, in Washington.
Kerry says Poroshenko is also ready to start talks with militias in the southeast.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in a 'phone conversation with Kerry, had earlier urged Washington to influence Kiev to achieve a prompt ceasefire and start negotiations with the southeast.
Lavrov stressed the need to return to the accord agreed at Geneva on July 17, including an end to the use of force, and to promptly start an open, accountable process of constitutional reform which includes all the regions of Ukraine.
The two diplomats agreed to implement the UNSC resolution which demands an international, independent investigation into the causes of the MH17 disaster & a ceasefire in the region surrounding the crash site.
Today, Monday, a nusing home is hit, killing several residents, and Kiev immediately blames anti-fascist self defence forces, in Gorlovka.
31 civilans were killed there over the last 24 hours, as Kiev's forces pound the city with high powered shells and rockets - with no guidance systems.
ISRAEL AND USA COMMIT WAR CRIMES
The Israeli regime is intensifying its attacks on hospitals in the Gaza Strip, as a shortage of medicines hits the tiny besieged enclave.
Basman Alashi, director of Wafa Hospital, says hospitals there cannot cope with the rising number of wounded in Israeli attacks.
The humanitarian aid body ‘Doctors without Borders’ (MSF) strongly condemns Israel’s attack, particularly on Gaza’s Shifa hospital, where women and children were sheltering.
“Targeting hospitals and their surroundings is completely unacceptable, and a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law,” says Tommaso Fabbri, MSF’s head of the mission in the Occupied Territories, adding:
“Whatever the circumstances, health facilities & medical staff must be protected & respected. But in Gaza today, hospitals are not the safe havens they should be.”
Israeli warplanes & tanks have already bombed several hospitals across the besieged strip, over the past few days.
Senior Palestinian officials describe the multiple attacks as a "brazen violation of international norms."
The UN says over 80% of Palestinian fatalities have been civilians, including over 250 children.
The UN Human Rights Council recently passed a resolution, calling for an independent probe into Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.
The US Congress says that it is completely on Israel's side, and will support it "come what may." The Congress is about to now approve a rise in war weaponry funding to "help" Israel's Gaza slaughter.
Iran's leader says no human being can stay indifferent to the slaughter of the innocent women and children of Gaza.
Massacre of Gaza's Civilians Continues
At least 100 people have been killed by Israeli shelling since midnight, as Operation Protective Edge enters its 22nd day on Tuesday.
The Israeli Defense Forces bombing of Khan Yunis and Rafah in southern Gaza has almost completely erased five whole families, writes Haaretz.
Reporters present at the site of the intense shelling say that for now it is impossible to tell for sure how many people have been killed, as many are missing or buried under the rubble of ruined buildings.
The attacks on Gaza intensified shortly after Prime Minister Netanyahu announced Monday that Israel had to be prepared for a “prolonged” campaign and warned that Israeli troops will not leave Gaza until they destroy Hamas' tunnel network. Ahead of the strikes, the Israeli army advised Palestinians to flee their homes in areas around Gaza City.
Palestinians, including Hamas, reportedly offered a 24-hour truce in war-torn Gaza. The groups added that - at a UN request - they would prolong it for 72 hours.
Late on Monday, it was reported that it was the PLO that actually declared a unilateral 24-hour truce to push forward the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire and advance its implementation.
Hamas’ spokesperson in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, denounced reports that it had agreed to the PLO-announced truce.
“We will not agree to calm until Israel commits to quiet. If we get an international commitment regarding an Israeli agreement for calm, we will consider it,” the spokesperson says, as cited by Haaretz.
Israeli attack knocks out Gaza’s only power plant The only power plant providing electricity for the people in the besieged Gaza Strip is knocked out of commission by an Israeli attack.
“Gaza’s sole power plant stopped working due to Israeli shelling last night, which damaged the steam generator & later hit the fuel tanks which set them on fire,” Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, the deputy director of the energy authority in the tiny coastal enclave, says on Tuesday.
Huge fires raged near the plant on Tuesday morning, reports say. Fire service vehicles are reportedly still unable to reach the area.
The damage to the power plant worsens the huge damage to infrastructure inflicted during the 22 days of Israel’s deadly offensive in Gaza.
The Palestinian death toll from Israel’s military offensive against the blockaded Gaza Strip has now risen to at least 1,130.
A Palestinian health official announced the new figure on Tuesday morning. Over 6,000 have been injured in the Israeli onslaught.
Israel says 53 Israelis have been killed so far; however, Palestinian fighters say they have killed over a hundred Israeli soldiers.
The new figures come as nearly 30 Palestinians are killed and dozens more injured in the latest Israeli attacks overnight. The houses of several Hamas officials, including that of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, also came under fire.
“My house is not more valuable than the houses of other people: destroying stones will not break our determination,” Haniyeh said in a statement after the attack.
At dawn on Tuesday, plumes of smoke rose above the Al-Shorouq media building in central Gaza City, which houses the offices of the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television and radio. Hours earlier, at least 2 major blasts hit the media building.
On Monday at least 10 people, mostly children, lost their lives, as Israel struck Shati refugee camp on the edge of Gaza City. Israeli tanks also killed 5 people, including three children and a 70-year-old woman, and wounded 50 in Jebaliya town, according to the Red Crescent.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says Tel Aviv needs “to be ready for a prolonged campaign.”
Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri reacts by saying, “His threats don't scare Hamas or the Palestinian people, and the occupation will pay the price for the massacres against civilians and children.”
Israel has rejected a recent call by the United Nations for a ceasefire, which the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas had endorsed.
TEN ISRAELI SOLDIERS KILLED IN ONE DAY
As Netanyahu refused to accept UN security Council resolutions calling for a ceasefire, ten Israeli soldiers were killed on Monday, fighting Palestinian resistance fighters.
However, the heavy Israeli onslaught on the besieged Gaza strip, continues regardless.
Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, says in a statement that Palestinian resistance fighters killed the soldiers east of Shujaiyya.
The military wing of Hamas says its fighters infiltrated "behind enemy lines" and killed the soldiers.
The Israeli army also issues a statement after the incident, saying Hamas fighters infiltrated into Israel through a tunnel and opened fire on Israeli soldiers.
Elsewhere, in the city of Eshkol, at least four Israelis were killed and nearly a dozen others injured after Palestinian rockets hit the city.
The Israeli army has confirmed the casualties, which brings the total number of Israelis killed since the beginning of the war on Gaza to over 50, with 140 wounded.
Palestinian fighters, however, say they have killed over a hundred Israeli soldiers alone.
Palestinian rockets targeted several other Israeli cities including Be’er Sheva, Ofakim, Haifa and Ashkelon. Resistance brigades also fired over 200 rockets on the Nahal Oz region in the Negev desert.
MORSI PRAISES RESISTANCE
Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi admires the Palestinian "resistance" in the 21-day Israeli war on Gaza Strip.
"A full salute to those who resist and to the revolutionaries," Morsi says on his Facebook page.
"Our compass is set on supporting Palestine against the usurping occupier and we are with any resistance against any occupier."
He also praises his supporters for "the pursuit of their revolution."
Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, was toppled in 2013 in a military coup led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s