Friday, August 22, 2014

Islamic state 'out of bounds' to Western media

Written by Robert Fisk : For centuries, governments told their soldiers and their people to “Know Your Enemy”. The problem with the Isis “Caliphate” – and it is a big problem for President Obama after journalist James Foley’s murder – is that we don’t know who it is. We are told of its butchery, cruelty, its kidnapping of women, its burying alive, its viciousness towards Christians and Yazidis and its public beheadings, but that is all.

Foley’s ritual slaughter is enough to dissuade even the most foolhardy of journalists from seeking an interview with al-Baghdadi. Never before in the Middle East has so much land been out of bounds to the Western media. So ignorant are we of this Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – a dark land in which the reports we see of it are their own phone videos

There are two truths that the West is going to have to face about al-Baghdadi’s savage and dotty “Caliphate”: these executioners began their careers – or their predecessors did – in the video-murderers of the anti-American resistance in Iraq; and however disgusting their activities, there are hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims who live in the area of the Caliphate and who have NOT fled for their lives. This, of course, makes unhappy reading. If the “Caliphate” is so revolting, disgusting, gruesome in its purity-driven brutality, how come all these people – Iraqis and Syrians – did not flee along with their Christian brothers? Are a few thousand armed fighters really able to coerce so many people over such a vast tract of the Middle East?

Let’s go back to the months and years that followed the 2003 Anglo-American invasion. The rebels or insurgents felt able to demonstrate extraordinary cruelty against their captives. I was once offered a videotape in Fallujah of a man having his throat cut by hooded men. It took me some time to realise that the victim was almost certainly a Russian soldier and his murderers were Chechens. Someone had brought this video to Fallujah so that the future butchers of the resistance could learn from it. This is the epic violence which our invasion unleashed.

In his last weeks, Osama bin Laden was expressing his revulsion at the sectarian nature of “Islamist” attacks – he even received a translation from Yemen of an article I wrote in The Independent in which I described al-Qa’ida as “the most sectarian organisation in the world”.

Things have moved on. At least when I met bin Laden, I didn’t fear for my life.

Read the full article  at the Source

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Obama: Islamic state "stand for no religion"

US President Barack Obama has vowed that his country will not be swayed from airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) group after it beheaded an American journalist, an act he said was proof that the fighters stand for no religion.

Obama's response on Wednesday to the execution of James Foley marked his strongest condemnation yet of IS fighters, and he gave no sign of a pause in US targeting of its positions in Iraq.

The president's remarks to reporters covering his vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, came shortly after the White House announced that a video showing the beheading of Foley had been authenticated by the US intelligence community, the Reuters news agency reported.

Obama said he had called Foley's family to express his condolences.

"The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people," Obama said.

"We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what's necessary to see that justice is done."

Obama said the fighters had rampaged across cities and villages, abducted women and children and subjected them to torture and rape and killed Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands.

"No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day," he said. "Their ideology is bankrupt."

US Secretary of State John Kerry later called the Islamic State group an "Ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic, and valueless evil."

"ISIL is the face of that evil, a threat to people who want to live in peace, and an ugly insult to the peaceful religion they violate every day with their barbarity," he added.


Isis strategists must 'crave further western military involvement'

Written by

Terrorism by definition aims to spread terror to achieve its political ends. One of the reasons Isis has outmanoeuvred its rivals is because it has embraced social media so effectively. By publicising its atrocities online, it tells would-be opponents what will happen if it is resisted, and this partly explains why so many have fled rather than confront Isis forces. The ruthless use of social media has proved instrumental in the toppling of entire cities. This operation is being gladly assisted by those in the west who portray Isis as a unique, undiluted evil that needs to be bombed out of existence, granting the militant group the mystique it clearly craves and relies on.

Foley’s murder will inevitably intensify calls for further western military involvement. Those agitating for such a course of action have a number of questions to answer. The “war on terror” began 13 years ago. It has involved bombs raining down on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. And with what success? Jihadism is stronger than ever; Isis is not only more extreme than al-Qaida, but what it has achieved surely exceeds Osama bin Laden’s wildest ambitions. Who can deny that the west has served as a recruiting sergeant for Islamic extremism, that it effectively helped hand large swathes of Iraq and Libya over to such elements?

Nobody is pretending that Isis is going to be defeated by a few rousing renditions of Kumbaya. But Isis strategists must surely crave further western military involvement. As the Norwegian terrorism expert, Thomas Hegghammer, put it: “Isis seems to be doing everything it can (short of attacks in the west) to draw the US into the conflict.”

Read the full article here

US military 'tried to free Foley'

From the BBC

A US secret military mission had "recently" tried but failed "to free a number of American hostages held in Syria", the Pentagon has revealed. It did not say whether the US troops had also tried to rescue US journalist James Foley, a video of whose beheading by Islamic State appeared on Tuesday. 

However, senior US officials - speaking on condition of anonymity - said this was the case. IS said Foley's death was revenge for US air strikes on its fighters in Iraq.

US President Barack Obama condemned the killing as "an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world".He compared IS militants, who control large parts of Syria and Iraq to a "cancer" and said the group's ideology was "bankrupt".

The UN, UK and others have also expressed abhorrence at the video.

In a statement, the Pentagon said its operation "involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL" (the former name of IS).

"Unfortunately, the mission was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Baghdadi 'Mossad trained' ?

WASHINGTON: The former employee at US National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, has revealed that the British and American intelligence and the Mossad worked together to create the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Snowden said intelligence services of three countries created a terrorist organisation that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called "the hornet's nest".NSA documents refer to recent implementation of the hornet's nest to protect the Zionist entity by creating religious and Islamic slogans.

According to documents released by Snowden, "The only solution for the protection of the Jewish state "is to create an enemy near its borders".

Leaks revealed that ISIS leader and cleric Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech..


Fact or fiction ?  

Well if you beleive it is fiction you will find much supporting you're view here and if you believe it is not then you can find another article claiming the same here.

British Islamic State militant 'beheads reporter'

The Islamic State (IS) has released a video online purporting to show the beheading of US journalist James Foley, who went missing in Syria in 2012. The jihadist militant group said the killing was revenge for US air strikes against its fighters in Iraq

In the video, titled A Message to America, a man identified as James Foley is dressed in an orange jumpsuit, kneeling in desert-like terrain beside an armed man dressed in black.

He gives a message to his family and links his imminent death to the US government's bombing campaign of IS targets in Iraq.

Clearly under duress, he says: "I call on my friends, family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the US government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality."

Then the masked militant, who speaks with a British accent, delivers a warning to the US government: "You are no longer fighting an insurgency. We are an Islamic Army and a state that has been accepted by a large number of Muslims worldwide.

"So any attempt by you Obama to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people."

After he speaks, the militant appears to start cutting at his captive's neck before the video fades to black.His body is then seen on the ground.

Another captive, identified as American journalist Steven Sotloff, is shown at the end, with the warning that his fate depends on President Barack Obama's next move.

Mr Sotloff was abducted a year ago in northern Syria, close to the border with Turkey.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together

The Independent Fear of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis, who now refer to themselves the Islamic State) is the new uniting factor for states in the Middle East and beyond who normally hate each other. The sudden emergence of Isis's still expanding caliphate, with its terrifying blend of brutality, bigotry and military effectiveness, provides a common enemy for the US, Iran, EU states, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and, in Iraq, Shia, Kurds and anti-Isis Sunni.

It was the capture of Mosul by Isis on 10 June which ended the eight-year rule of Nouri al-Maliki, who withdrew his candidacy for a third term as prime minister last Thursday. A diversity of Iraqi politicians and parties, intermittently supported by foreign powers, have been trying to get rid of him for years, but they failed because of their disunity and his control of the Iraqi state. It was Isis gunmen in their captured Humvees patrolling the roads an hour's drive from Baghdad that created the determination to finally get rid of Mr Maliki.

However deep the differences between Washington and Tehran, they were equally horrified by the prospect of Isis advancing on Baghdad and Erbil. Saudi Arabia has openly or covertly opposed Iran and Shia Islam since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, but is seriously threatened by Isis, whose ideology is not much different from Saudi Wahhabism but challenges the legitimacy of the house of Saud. Last Friday in Mecca, the influential imam and preacher at the Grand Mosque, Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Sudais, called for a code of conduct to stop leaders, scholars and young people supporting violence and "terror". An implication of this is that Saudi Arabia will suppress pro-jihadi propaganda on the internet and satellite television which it has previously encouraged.

The Iranians are also facing a more menacing future as Isis fighters tighten their grip on Diyala province in Iraq, which is on the Iranian border. A year ago a senior member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps explained how necessary it was for Iranian security to fight in Damascus although it is 870 miles from Tehran; but last week Isis, which considers Shia to be heretics worthy of death, captured the town of Jalawla, 25 miles from Iran. No wonder Iran was willing to say goodbye to Mr Maliki, whom it had so long defended, to end the political crisis in Baghdad.

The realisation of the danger posed by Isis did not come immediately with the fall of Mosul and Tikrit. In Baghdad, and abroad, there was wishful thinking that Isis was the fanatical shock-troop of an insurgent Sunni community in Iraq; and that once Mr Maliki was gone and reforms acceptable to the Sunni were implemented, then traditional tribal and non-Isis military leaders would reassert themselves and get rid of the dangerous zealots.

It was always a dubious argument, with much evidence to the contrary. Isis, after its experience in 2006 and 2007 when the Americans did succeed in splitting the Sunni insurgency, is wary of another stab in the back. It has taken precautions such as demanding a pledge of allegiance to the caliphate and, according to one account from Mosul, has seized 300 former Baathists and army officers as hostages. The lesson from Iraq and Syria is that in places it has conquered, Isis only shares power as long as it has to. So far, the chances of a counter-insurgency against it in Sunni provinces look bleak.

But this does not mean that Isis has not created a host of enemies for itself, and it is losing the advantage of its opponents' disunity. Within Iraq, relations between Erbil, the Kurdish capital, and Baghdad were "poisonous", the Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, told me in early July. But the victorious Isis attack on Kurdish-held territory in August has made the Kurds less over-confident and more willing to cooperate with the Iraqi central government against the jihadis. Among the Kurds themselves there was a closing of the ranks as experienced fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) raced to help the Iraqi Kurdish forces with whom they had previously had hostile or very frosty relations.

With both the Shia and the Kurds feeling vulnerable, the US has restored much of its former influence in Iraq with a few air strikes. In contrast with American ignorance and arrogance in 2003, Washington is now much more knowledgeable and warier of the Iraqi quagmire. As states such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran find ferocious and battle-hardened Isis fighters on their borders, they are more likely to cooperate with each other and the US. In the words of Hillaire Belloc's poem, they're keeping "a-hold of Nurse, For fear of finding something worse."

 This coming together of old rivals and enemies in opposition to Isis is happening in Iraq, but not yet in Syria where the US, Europeans, Turks, Saudis and Qataris continue with their old bankrupt policy. This is to get rid of or least weaken President Bashar al-Assad by backing a moderate military opposition that is supposedly going to fight both Mr Assad and Isis. Unfortunately, this group scarcely exists except as a propaganda slogan and a consumer of subsidies from the Gulf. Isis dominates the Syrian opposition and that domination grew greater last week as it captured the towns of Turkmen Bareh and Akhtarin, 30 miles from Aleppo.

The Sunni rebellion in Syria may soon be an Isis controlled project as it already is in Iraq. Given that Syria is 60 per cent Sunni Arab, compared to 20 per cent in Iraq, it is easier for Isis to increase its strength there. Any attempt to counter-attack Isis that focuses solely on Iraq is likely to fail because the caliphate straddles the two countries' border.

The present US policy of leaving Mr Assad (backed by Hezbollah, Iran and Russia) to battle Isis alone poses high risks, says Anthony Cordesman, the national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He writes that US policy only works so long as the Assad forces do not lose territory and key cities to Isis and the caliphate "does not make major economic, military, political and religious gains". He adds that the present stance of the US and its Arab allies assumes the existence of a moderate Sunni resistance not dominated by Isis. If Isis is able to maintain its "sanctuary" in eastern Syria, the caliphate will be able to reinforce its "capabilities in Iraq and steadily increase the threat to Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other neighbouring states".

In practice, none of the conditions for a successful US policy in Syria have been met. Since Isis expanded its caliphate to cover almost all of eastern Syria, its neighbours have every reason to be frightened. The nascent unity and cooperation of the opponents to Isis forged by the Iraq crisis may be too little and too late.

'The Jihadis Return: Isis and the New Sunni Uprising' by Patrick Cockburn, published by OR Books, is available at

Monday, August 18, 2014

Obama: Mosul dam recaptured from militants

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Iraqi troops have retaken Mosul dam from Islamic State (IS) militants, US President Barack Obama has said.

Mr Obama said the US helped in the operation. Air strikes targeted IS around the dam, Iraq's largest.The statement followed Iraqi claims that the dam had been "fully cleansed", but IS said it was still in control.

Separately, Pope Francis said military action to stop IS attacking religious minorities should be agreed by the UN. He said intervention should not be carried out by "one nation alone".


'Witch hunt' against Israel's war critics

Jerusalem (AFP) - In Israel, dissent against the war in Gaza is bitterly quashed. The few who speak out complain of being harassed, intimidated or even sacked. The once mighty left has disappeared.
It has been Israel's deadliest conflict in years. More than 1,960 Palestinians were killed and 64 Israeli soldiers died fighting what some see as an unwinnable war.

And yet the only significant protest in Israel so far saw thousands late Thursday demand an end to Hamas rocket attacks, dissatisfied with the status quo after ground troops pulled out and a ceasefire was extended.

Liberal newspaper Haaretz decried Friday what it called a "witch hunt" against leftists and civil rights organisations after the director of the national service administration, Sar-Shalom Jerbi, told rights group B'Tselem it was being blacklisted as an employer. "I feel obligated to exercise my power and stop the state assistance provided to an organisation that works against the state and against soldiers who are heroically giving their very lives to protect the safety and well-being of all citizens," Jerbi wrote in a letter.

He accused B'Tselem of disseminating lies and slander, endangering the state and publishing information that encourages Israel's enemies and leads to violent anti-Semitic acts against Jews around the world.The rights group denounced the move as an attack on Israeli democracy, and asked supporters to sign an online petition to support freedom of expression and democracy.

Yizhar Beer of the Keshev Centre for the Protection of Democracy in Israel says it has never been more difficult to voice dissent in a country which prides itself on being the only democracy in the Middle East.

- Overwhelming support for war -

Israeli public opinion has overwhelmingly supported the war. A poll carried out by The Israel Democracy Institute last month said 95 percent of Israeli Jews believed the offensive was just.
In a country with compulsory national conscription, almost everybody has a friend or relative in the army.Hamas rocket attacks have tormented millions of Israelis, inflicting fear and panic in border communities, regardless of the fact that hundreds are shot down and just three civilians have been killed since July.

In Israel, as in most countries during time of war, the local media have been patriotic champions of the offensive, uniting behind their boys on the frontline, sending them presents, highlighting the suffering of Israeli citizens and downplaying suffering on the other side.The few who have spoken out of line have been threatened or denounced as traitors.

After Haaretz commentator Gideon Levy accused air force pilots of perpetrating "the cruelest (and) most despicable deeds" against Gaza's weakest and most helpless," his employer hired him bodyguards.Readers cancelled their subscriptions, people stopped in the street to insult him and government whip Yariv Levin denounced him as a liar, a "mouthpiece of the enemy" who should be put on trial for treason.

"I have never faced such aggressive reaction, never," Levy told AFP in his cramped office at Haaretz in Tel Aviv, away from the coffee shops where he fears being insulted."Nobody cares here about the suffering of Gaza. More than this, if you dare to express empathy you are a traitor," he said.

- Intimidation kept people away -

Some Israelis who criticised the offensive, even on private Facebook pages, complained of being ostracised.An Arab Israeli nurse was briefly suspended then reinstated. Other Arab Israelis also complained of being sacked.

"There's a whole level of intimidation that's kept a lot of people away," said Steven Beck of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel when asked why there had not been more protests.He likened the atmosphere to the period directly preceding the assassination of prime minister and Nobel peace laureate Yitzhak Rabin, shot dead by a Jewish extremist in 1995.

"Things that were shocking back then, really, really shocking have become common place... now the needle is moving to a whole new level to the extreme," Beck said."The question is, is it going to boil over into something or will it dissipate."

Explanations are complex.

For Beer, it is rooted in the growth of the religious right and ultra-Orthodox communities, the powerful Jewish settler movement and the ongoing occupation of the West Bank."The extremist section of Israeli society has kidnapped the state of Israel," he said.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Jewish Chronicle apology for allowing Gaza crisis appeal

BBC:  The Jewish Chronicle has apologised to readers who complained after it ran an advert for the Disasters Emergency Committee's Gaza crisis appeal.

The weekly newspaper said running the advert was "meant as a purely humanitarian gesture".When it launched the appeal, the DEC said the latest conflict had made half a million people in Gaza homeless and warned of a "humanitarian emergency".

After a DEC advert featured in this week's Jewish Chronicle (JC), a Facebook page was set up calling on readers to boycott the title until it issued a "full apology". It accused the newspaper of "ignoring the sensitivity of this conflict which is having a day to day impact and effect on the Jewish community here". "We have nothing against giving aid to people caught up in a conflict" it said, but accused the Hamas rulers of Gaza of using aid in a campaign of violence against Israel.

A message posted on the paper's own Facebook page pointed out that the advert was "not an expression of the JC's view".It added: "We have received complaints from readers angry at the decision. We apologise for the upset caused." It said it would give space in the next issue to readers wanting to object to the advert.

One reader replied: "Maybe you should donate the money you received from this diabolical advert to a pro Israel cause too. Utterly disgraceful."

Others supported the decision to run the DEC advert, however, saying it was the "right thing to do".
Writing on the JC website, editor Stephen Pollard said: "It is a critical part of our editorial independence that we do not allow advertisers to have any influence at all on the paper.

"The ad was approved by the chairman of the JC, who has no involvement in editorial decisions, as an ad for humanitarian aid which nowhere makes political or partisan points."

In a statement on the DEC's website on Thursday, addressing the "tone of the debate over Gaza", chief executive Saleh Saeed said: "The DEC's launch of a public appeal in response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has been wrongly interpreted in some quarters as a political statement.

"It is nothing of the sort. Giving aid is not taking sides."

Friday, August 15, 2014

The REAL World Map - You are being lied to

Are Israel arming the Syrian rebels?

Times Of Israel - A Free Syrian Army commander, arrested last month by the Islamist militia Al-Nusra Front, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support, in a video released this week. 

In a video uploaded to YouTube Monday by the Executive Sharia Council in the eastern Daraa Region, an Islamic court established by Al-Nusra in southern Syria, Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, admitted to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms. Safouri was abducted by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front in the Quneitra area, near the Israeli border, on July 22. 

“The [opposition] factions would receive support and send the injured in [to Israel] on condition that the Israeli fence area is secured. No person was allowed to come near the fence without prior coordination with Israel authorities,” Safouri said in the video.

Israel has never admitted to arming moderate Syrian rebels, who have been engaged in battle against the Assad regime and its allies since March 2011. In June, Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, head of Military Intelligence research, told the Herzliya Conference that 80 percent of Syria’s oppositionists are Islamists of various shades, indicating that Israel was reluctant to collaborate with them.

Thousands of al-Qaeda-linked rebels reached southern Syria over the past month, fleeing the Islamic State which had captured large swaths of land in northern and northeastern Syria. While Al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army have collaborated in the battlefield against the Assad regime, friction has intensified as the Islamists began to implement their stringent version of Islam in the area, establishing local Sharia courts.

In the edited confession video, in which Safouri seems physically unharmed, he says that at first he met with an Israeli officer named Ashraf at the border and was given an Israeli cellular phone. He later met with another officer named Younis and with the two men’s commander, Abu Daoud. In total, Safouri said he entered Israel five times for meetings that took place in Tiberias.

Following the meetings, Israel began providing Safouri and his men with “basic medical support and clothes” as well as weapons, which included 30 Russian [rifles], 10 RPG launchers with 47 rockets, and 48,000 5.56 millimeter bullets.

While opposition websites denied that Safouri was a collaborator, claiming his entries into Israel were for medical purposes alone, regime media celebrated Safouri’s confession as proof of the Free Syrian Army’s treachery. On August 1, dozens of demonstrators took to the streets of the village of Hayt, Safouri’s hometown near Syria’s borders with Jordan and Israel, to protest his abduction, condemning Al-Nusra Front for the act.

No Israeli comment was available at time of publication.

© 2014 The Times of Israel, All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

BREAKING: Maliki to step down

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has decided to step aside, ending the political deadlock in Baghdad as the government struggles against insurgents. His successor, Haider al-Abadi, has been asked by Iraq's president to form a new government. Mr Maliki was under immense pressure to make way for Mr Abadi, a deputy speaker of parliament..

Mr Maliki's spokesman, Ali Mussawi, told AFP news agency that the outgoing Shia Muslim prime minister would drop his bid to remain in his post.

"Maliki will withdraw the complaint against the president and will back the prime minister designate," he said.

The move, also confirmed by Shia Muslim members of parliament to AP news agency, was announced by state TV.

SAS already deployed to Iraq

Britain has deployed SAS special forces in northern Iraq where thousands of civilians are trapped on a mountain by Sunni militant fighters, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Thursday.

Citing Britain's trade envoy to Iraq, Emma Nicholson, the paper said that officers from the Special Air Service (SAS), the army's special forces regiment, were working with U.S. troops to gather intelligence and had been in Iraq for about six weeks.

When asked about the newspaper report, a spokesman for Britain's Ministry of Defence said it did not comment on special forces operations.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

UN names Gaza war crimes probe panel

(Reuters) - The United Nations on Monday named experts to an international commission of inquiry into possible human rights violations and war crimes committed by both sides during Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Israel, however, dismissed the inquiry as a U.N. Human Rights Council "kangaroo court".William Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, will head the panel whose other members are Doudou Diene, a Senegalese veteran U.N. human rights expert.

A U.N. statement said Amal Alamuddin, a British-Lebanese lawyer engaged to be married to Hollywood actor George Clooney would take part though Alamuddin later denied she would participate in the inquiry.

"I am honored to have received the offer, but given existing commitments - including eight ongoing cases - unfortunately could not accept this role," she said in a statement.

It was not clear who would replace Alamuddin on the panel.

The U.N. statement said the independent team will investigate "all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law ... in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014."

A month of war, marked by Israeli air strikes on Gaza and rockets fired by Hamas militants into Israel, has killed 1,938 Palestinians and 67 Israelis while devastating wide tracts of densely populated Gaza.

The panel is to report by March 2015 to the U.N. Human Rights Council. Israel has long accused the 47-member state forum of bias against it.

Navi Pillay, the top U.N. human rights official, said on July 31 she believed Israel was deliberately defying international law in its military offensive in Gaza and that world powers should hold it accountable for possible war crimes.

Israel has attacked homes, schools, hospitals, Gaza's only power plant and U.N. premises in apparent violation of the Geneva Conventions, said Pillay, a former U.N. war crimes judge.

Hamas militants in Gaza have violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel, Pillay said.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed indirect talks mediated by Egypt on Monday on ending the war, Egypt's state news agency said, after a new 72-hour truce appeared to be holding.

In a statement, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor issued a statement dismissing the inquiry. He cited Israel's view that "the Human Rights Council had long ago turned into the 'terrorist rights council' and a kangaroo court, whose 'investigations' are pre-determined."

Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri in Gaza said "Hamas welcomes the decision to form an investigation committee into the war crimes committed by the occupation (Israel) against Gaza and it urges that it begin work as soon as possible."

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Egyptian massacre: "a crime against humanity"

The killings of at least 817 people by Egyptian security forces last year probably amount to a crime against humanity, Human Rights Watch says. A reort by the US-based group says 1,000 or more people probably died in one day around Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. 

The deaths came during demonstrations broken up by Egyptian security forces.Executive director Kenneth Roth said the deaths were "one of the world's largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history".

Mr Roth and a colleague were stopped from entering Egypt on Monday.They were due to launch the new report at a press conference in the Egyptian capital, but were deported after being held for 12 hours at Cairo International Airport.

The group's year-long investigation focused on six demonstrations in July and August 2013 that were forcefully broken up by security forces, then under the command of now-President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

Read the full details Here

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Robin Williams dead

Not related to Terrorism but I have been touched by the sad news that Robin Williams has passed away tonight and decided to post it here anyway.  Robin was very political in his life and has been a left wing icon throughout his career.

His support of the Democratic Party goes into six-figure territory, with his political donations to the party and left-leaning special interest groups totaling over $150,000.

His liberalism extends into criticisms of Republicans and conservatives with the full weight of his comedic and critical genius going to former U.S. president George W. Bush. For example, when Obama was elected he said:
It’s the end of the reign of George the 2nd. The reign of error is over. America is officially out of rehab…He’s a gift to comedy, though, he’s a comedy pinata. I’m going to miss him.
Aren’t we all.

RIP Robin

Monday, August 11, 2014

Israel Doesn't Get a Free Pass, but Anti-Semitism Doesn't Either

From the Huffington Post

For some, criticizing Israel is equated with being an anti-Semite. Just the other day, someone on my social media called the world "anti-Semitic" and claimed that rather than paying attention to what Israel is doing, people should focus on Bashar Al-Assad in Syria and the Islamic State in Iraq. This rhetoric is not uncommon.

What's going on in Iraq and Syria is not only deplorable, but shouldn't be ignored either. Nonetheless, just because horrific things are taking place in other parts of the Middle East as well doesn't give Israel carte blanche to do as it pleases.

The reason much of the world is captivated by Gaza is because one of the most advanced armies in the world is engaged with guerilla forces and not an actual army, a discrepancy that is resulting in humanitarian devastation on the Palestinian side

The Right To Criticize

The irony of being labeled an "anti-Semite" for criticizing Israel is that it calls itself a democracy and one of the most fundamental ideals of having that title is freedom of expression. If anything, it is imperative to be critical of a state's action. By doing so, you point out its flaws with the hope it will improve its standing in the world and the conditions of its people.

Journalist Laurie Penny says it best,
"It is not anti-Semitic to suggest that Israel doesn't get a free pass to kill whoever it likes in order to feel 'safe'. It is not anti-Semitic to point out that if what Israel needs to feel 'safe' is to pen the Palestinian people in an open prison under military occupation, the state's definition of safety might warrant some unpacking. And it is not anti-Semitic to say that this so-called war is one in which only one side actually has an army."
Penny takes it a step further:

It is not hate speech to reiterate the wild disparity in casualties... To speak of proportionality is not to call, as at least one silverback columnist has claimed, for 'more dead Jews'.


While criticizing Israel certainly isn't anti-Semitic, it is important to note there is a fine line to cross when some begin equating Zionism -- a nationalistic movement -- with Judaism -- an Abrahamic religion -- in an effort to show support for Palestine and specifically Gaza during this politically charged time.

As we speak, there are solidarity with Gaza protests taking place in various parts of the world. However, there is an aspect of these protests that needs to be carefully assessed. If you're out protesting the Gaza war and chanting "Jews to the gas chambers" or "death to the Jews" and resorting to violence towards any Jewish person -- essentially unable to differentiate between Zionism and Judaism -- I hate to break it, but you're an anti-Semite and horrible human being.

By targeting members of the Jewish community -- regardless of their stance on Israel -- demonstrates one's ignorance of history and current events. You're not only resorting to anti-Semitism, whether you are verbally or physically hurting the Jewish people, but you're taking it a step further by dragging those who are against the war on Gaza with you. This is one of the most destructive things to the Palestinian struggle than anything else. By being hateful and ignorant, you're hurting the Palestinians and their supporters. It is these very actions the public points to obstruct support for the Palestinian people.

Criticize Israel all you want, but don't resort to anti-Semitism to express your frustration at Israel's wrongdoings.

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Kurds ask the world for military hardware

The political leader of Iraq's Kurds, Massoud Barzani, has appealed for international military aid to help defeat Islamist militants.The plea came as the US launched a fourth round of air strikes targeting Islamic State (IS) fighters near Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. IS, formerly known as Isis, has seized swathes of territory in northern Iraq.Kurdish forces said they had regained control of two towns in Nineveh province after heavy fighting.

Oh, what a complicated web we have weaved. How would Turkey respond to weaponry being given to the Kurds ? How would the Kurds survive without such weaponry ?

Its no surprise that Washington has yet to decide how to respond to the request, which has been in their inbox for months.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Israel and Palestinians agree new truce

Israel and Palestinian  have agreed to a new 72-hour ceasefire. Egypt brokered a similar truce last week, but fighting soon resumed.  It is hoped the latest ceasefire, due to begin at 21:00 GMT, will enable all parties to agree on a longer truce.

The following is from the BBC...

"Israel has accepted Egypt's proposal for a 72-hour ceasefire," a senior Israeli official told the BBC.
The official added that Israel would send negotiators to Cairo on Monday if the truce holds.

Izzat al-Reshiq, a Hamas negotiator in Cairo, told Reuters news agency: "In light of Israel's acceptance of the truce and their return without pre-conditions, we will inform the Egyptian brothers of our positive response."

In a statement, Egypt's foreign ministry urged both sides to resume indirect negotiations and "work towards a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire agreement".


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Bush legacy: Opening the gates of Hell

Yes, that wasn’t supposed to happen. During the bloody years after George W. Bush declared “mission accomplished” the Iraqi’s were ostensibly provided the arms and training to provide for their own defense. The American “occupation”, therefore, was really not all that. Instead, it was actually an exercise in “nation-building” that would bequeath to the people Washington had “liberated”  a self-governing democracy equipped with the means to insure internal order and external security. Washington politicians—including President Obama—gave endless speeches about that. You can look them up!

Except…except….Iraq was never a nation. At least the Ottomans knew that you don’t put Shiite’s, Sunni and Kurds in the same parliament or police force, and most certainly not the same army!

By contrast, it was the British and French foreign offices which in 1916 drew the Sykes-Picot boundaries and created the historical illusion that a nation called Iraq actually existed. And it was their successors in the west which installed a series of corrupt and brutal rulers, including kings, generals and Saddam Hussein himself, who maintained an always tentative and frequently blood-soaked semblance of governance within these artificial borders.

Then came the neo-cons who for no discernible reason of national security could not leave well enough alone. By god, they were going to have regime change, a stable supplier of 6 million barrels of oil per day, and a stalwart ally armed to the teeth on the very doorstep of the Axis-Of-Evil; that is, the Iranian Shiite theocracy which happened to be religious kin to the single largest block of the Iraqi population.

What these fools did was to open the gates of hell...

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ISIS murder 500 Yazidi, many buried alive

(Reuters) - Islamic State militants have killed at least 500 members of Iraq's Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, burying some of their victims alive and kidnapping hundreds of women, a Baghdad government minister said on Sunday.

Iraq's human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani told Reuters that he had evidence that the Sunni militants had thrown the Yazidi dead into mass graves, adding that some of those buried alive were women and children. About 300 women had been forced into slavery, he said.


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Palestine aim 'to take Israelis before the International Criminal Court for war crimes'

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki on Saturday said his government would soon try to haul Israelis before the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

"We will go to the ICJ, and put our signature on it. Very soon we will be a (sovereign) state. That is enough for the court to start an investigation," Malki said to the AFP

"And I asked the ICJ to start an official investigation, to see if what Israel has done in the past 33 days reaches the level of war crimes,"  He added.

Palestinians in November 2012 obtained non-member observer status at the United Nations, opening the door for an ICC investigation.

Breaking: US carries out four more military strikes against ISIS

The US military says it has carried out four new air strikes on militants to defend civilians in northern Iraq.  US Central Command said jet fighters and drones had destroyed armoured carriers and a truck that were firing on civilians. Thousands of civilians fled into mountains after the Islamic State (IS) overran the town of Sinjar a week ago.

This is the third round of US air strikes since they were authorised by President Barack Obama.


Saturday, August 09, 2014

Russians test US air defences 16 times in 10 days

The testing of a nations air defences is not in itself an unusual occurrence. These things happen all the time. Though the information from NORAD is newsworthy because it shows a sharp spike in such events since the threat of sanctions and the shooting down of  MH17 in Ukraine last month.  Due to the complexity of world politics, the terrorist act of shooting down a Malaysian passenger jet has ramifications way beyond the scope of Ukraine.

 Below is a snippet from the Source article:

“Over the past week, NORAD has visually identified Russian aircraft operating in and around the US air defense identification zones,” said Maj. Beth Smith, spokeswoman for US Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Smith sought to downplay the incursions that she called “a spike in activity,” telling the Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz that the flights were assessed as routine training missions and exercises.

But an unnamed defense official familiar with the incursion reports disagreed with Smith’s assessment. “These are not just training missions,” the official told Gertz, saying that Russian strategic nuclear forces appear to be “trying to test our air defense reactions, or our command and control systems.”

Tens of thousands attend Gaza protest in London

'Tens of thousands of people have taken part in a rally for Gaza in London.
An emergency appeal in the UK for people affected by the conflict in Gaza has raised £4.5m in less than 24 hours, the Disasters Emergency Committee said.'


Other protests took place in South Africa, France, Australia, India  Spain, Greece, Jordan and Yemen.

The demonstrations were part of a worldwide "day of rage" against Israeli military action in Gaza

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2014 World Press Freedom Index

'The 2014 World Press Freedom Index spotlights the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists. The ranking of some countries has also been affected by a tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner to the detriment of the right to inform and be informed. This trend constitutes a growing threat worldwide and is even endangering freedom of information in countries regarded as democracies.

 Finland tops the index for the fourth year running, closely followed by Netherlands and Norway, like last year. At the other end of the index, the last three positions are again held by Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, three countries where freedom of information is non-existent.

Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example, far from it. Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result.

This has been the case in the United States (46th), which fell 13 places, one of the most significant declines, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers.

The United Kingdom (33rd, -3) distinguished itself in the war on terror by the disgraceful pressure it put on The Guardian newspaper and by its detention of David Miranda, journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner and assistant, for nine hours. Both the US and UK authorities seem obsessed with hunting down whistleblowers instead of adopting legislation to rein in abusive surveillance practices that negate privacy, a democratic value cherished in both countries.

The above article snip was written and is owned by Reporters without borders

Where does your country stand when it comes to freedom of the press ?

 Check out the full list here

Twitter suspends Hamas account

      IDF  propaganda                                                         Hamas propaganda

Amid the ongoing propaganda war for the hearts and minds of the world, Twitter today has apparently decided to pick a side and take a political stance by suspending the Hamas (English language) account.

Hamas account

Although the IDF's account is still very much active.

IDF account

The Hamas account provided updates on casualties resulting from Israeli air strikes and reports on its own rocket activity, mirroring the IDF's account. So for Twitter it seems you can now only access just one side of the propaganda war, but not the other.

At least for now.....

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Gaza: “Deliberately attacking the power plant would be a war crime.”

The apparent Israeli shellfire that knocked out the Gaza Strip’s only electrical power plant on July 29, 2014, has worsened the humanitarian crisis for the territory’s 1.7 million people, Human Rights Watch said today. Damaging or destroying a power plant, even if it also served a military purpose, would be an unlawful disproportionate attack under the laws of war, causing far greater civilian harm than military gain.

 The shutdown of the Gaza Power Plant has had an impact on the population far beyond power outages, Human Rights Watch said. It has drastically curtailed the pumping of water to households and the treatment of sewage, both of which require electric power. It also caused hospitals, already straining to handle the surge of war casualties, to increase their reliance on precarious generators. And it has affected the food supply because the lack of power has shut off refrigerators and forced bakeries to reduce their bread production.

“If there were one attack that could be predicted to endanger the health and well-being of the greatest number of people in Gaza, hitting the territory’s sole electricity plant would be it,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Deliberately attacking the power plant would be a war crime.”


 According to the BBC "Israel said its forces hit the station by accident"

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Obama won't allow Islamic state

US President Barack Obama has said he will not allow Sunni Muslim jihadists to carve out a "caliphate", or Islamic state, straddling Syria and Iraq.

In an interview for the New York Times, Mr Obama said: "We're not going to let them [IS] create some caliphate through Syria and Iraq, but we can only do that if we know that we've got partners on the ground who are capable of filling the void."

"In recent days, terrorist forces neared the city (of Irbil)," he said. "Thursday night, I made it clear that if they attempted to advance further, our military would respond with targeted strikes. 

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Friday, August 08, 2014

Breaking: US launches aditional air strikes targeting ISIS in Iraq

The US has launched two additional air strikes against militants from the Islamic State (IS) group in northern Iraq, the Pentagon has said.

 US drones and unmanned fighter jets attacked targets near the city of Irbil - a similar location to the first strike earlier on Friday.

 In the second wave of strikes, US drones destroyed a mortar position and killed a group of militants, the Pentagon said.

 Then just over an hour later, F/A-18 jets used laser-guided bombs to hit a seven-vehicle convoy of IS vehicles, spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.


Deaths by numbers

According to figures from the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), up to 6 August, 1,890 Palestinians had lost their lives in the conflict. 66  Israeli's died and 1 other death

Lets look at some of those civilian numbers:

There has been 414 Palestinian children killed during the conflict, 115 of them were under the age of 5

219 women killed 37 of which were over the age of 60

671 civilian males have been killed , 50 of which were over the age of 60

The youngest to be killed was 10 days old, while the oldest was 100.

As for Israel , well they have suffered just 2 civilian deaths to date.

A proportionate response ? Well look at the numbers below and decide for yourself.

US resumes offensive action in Iraq

American warplanes began bombing Islamic militant targets outside the Kurdish city of Irbil on Friday, in the first offensive action by the US in Iraq since it withdrew ground troops in 2011.

Following authority granted by Barack Obama on Thursday, the Pentagon said two FA-18 jets dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on fighters with the Islamic State, also known as Isis or Isil.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the world needed to wake up to the threat posed by the IS group.

Its "campaign of terror against the innocent, including the Yazidi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque targeted acts of violence show all the warning signs of genocide," he said.

 The flight of so many Iraqi’s from the ISIS advance prompted a new statement of condemnation from the UN Security Council late Thursday.

  “The members of the Security Council call on the international community to support the government and people of Iraq and to do all it can to help alleviate the suffering of the population affected by the current conflict in Iraq,” said UK ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall Grant.

It seems the Bush/Blair legacy continues....

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Thought for the day...

The rise of the Islamic State

From the BBC

The rapid advance across Iraq by militant fighters from the Islamic State, widely known as Isis, has thrown the country into chaos and is threatening to redefine the Middle East.

The brutal, extremist group, which claims to have fighters from across the world, announced the creation of a "caliphate" - an Islamic state - across its claimed territory in Iraq and Syria a month ago. How did the Islamic State (IS) become such a powerful force?'


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The human cost