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Three Images the World Needed (David Swanson) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 -Employees of the U.S. government refer to people they murder as "bugsplat." They pretend that the men, women, and children they are killing with drones are just bugs, because they just look like little fuzzy creatures on a computer screen. Thank goodness for the artists who have put a giant portrait of a child in a field for the drone murderers to see and think about. Maybe the rest of us could think about it, and do more than think about it, too. In Davidson, North Carolina, among many other places in the world, wealthy people ignore the suffering of the poor right nearby them as well as thousands of miles away. A fraction of what the U.S. government spends killing people with drones could end starvation in the world, and many certainly seem not to care...

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Boston and Baghdad (by Ralph Nader) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 - ...Meanwhile six thousand miles away in Iraq, there are terror bombings of innocent civilians almost every day...And this bloodshed is happening almost every day over much of their torn apart country. Iraqis know this will continue to happen in the coming days and weeks with no foreseeable end. There is no annual commemoration to mark their losses. Their memories of loved ones are blurred by constant fear of what was and what comes, day after day due to violence, hunger, poverty, disease-bearing contaminated water, the collapse of critical public services from electricity to health care to safety. This has resulted in the flight of more desperate people out of Iraq.Flash back to March 2003, when the fabrications, secret cover-ups and propaganda of the Bush/Cheney regime led to the illegal, unconstitutional invasion of Iraq. ....

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142 Israeli administrative detention orders since the begining of 2014 (UFree) - 23-apr-2014

April 20,2014- Israeli courts have issued and renewed 142 administrative detention orders since the begining of 2014 for different period of times, Palestinian Prisoners Society revealed. 186 administrative detainees held in Israeli jails without charge or trial confirmed their intention to declare hunger strike on the 24th of April demanding an end to their administrative detention. 27 administrative detainees have been engaged in an individual hunger strike since 2012 in protest against their detention without charge or trial...


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Female IDF Drone Jockeys Kill Gazans Remotely (Richard Silverstein) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 - In 2008, the IDF created a new weapon (Hebrew) in its arsenal and trained a new group of fighters to use it. It was a remote-operated gun mounted on an IDF security tower along the Gaza border. The guns are operated by female IDF soldiers trained, like drone jockeys, to monitor the border area by video feed and shoot to kill pretty much anything that moves there.While I’m not an expert in military weaponry, this strikes me as a new development in the lethality of the IDF. Now, it doesn’t even need shooters on the ground to patrol the border and kill in face-to-face situations. It can all be done by remote control. It’s drone warfare transitioning to the ground....

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On the Struggle of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (by Moe Ali Nayel) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 - Spring has just landed in Lebanon. Its warmth and colors soothing the dried winter skin of the vast majority of Syrian refugees who resisted icy temperatures and freezing to death underneath thin canvas tents. Lebanon is now home to approximately one million Syrians, displaced from their war-ravaged cities and towns in Syria. Amid unfettered exploitations, Syrian families, forced to seek refuge in Lebanon, have fought a hostile season in a hostile environment that they mistook as neighborly. During the reign of Alexa, a polar storm that hit Lebanon at the start of December 2013, while walking between a maze of tents in Arsal, Amira grabbed my arm and said, "Sir, I need to have a word with you. You have to see my daughter. Please follow me to our tent." ...

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Israeli forces set up military base in Palestinian home (Ma'an News) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 -- Israeli forces in the Bethlehem district on Sunday set up a military base on the roof of a Palestinian house, a Ma'an reporter said.In the village of Tuqu southeast of Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers climbed to the rooftop of a house belonging to Nayef Hussein Moussa. The soldiers stationed machine guns on the roof and installed cameras to monitor the movement of Palestinians on a road that connects Jerusalem to illegal Israeli settlements in Hebron.
Tuqu's municipality condemned the Israeli move, calling on the Palestinian military liaison office to intervene...


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Iraq - Harith al-Dari: 'Sunnis feel marginalised' (Video) (AlJazeera) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 - The situation is not getting any better in Iraq. Violence is on the rise again, and so far, more than 1,300 people have been killed this year. Battles between Sunni fighters and government troops continue.Thousands of people are fleeing Anbar province and Fallujah as Sunni tribal fighters resist both al-Qaeda and government forces loyal to Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Sunni tribes are angry about what they say are abuses by a Shia-dominated government, but they do not want al-Qaeda to fill any vacuum. The prime minister, in turn, is requesting more help and weapons from the United States...

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Too Big to Jail?
Why Kidnapping, Torture, Assassination, and Perjury Are No Longer Crimes in Washington
(By Tom Engelhardt) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 - ...With Cartwright as a possible exception, the members of the national security state, unlike the rest of us, exist in what might be called "post-legal" America. They know that, no matter how heinous the crime, they will not be brought to justice for it. The list of potentially serious criminal acts for which no one has had to take responsibility in a court of law is long, and never tabulated in one place. Consider this, then, an initial run-down on seven of the most obvious crimes and misdemeanors of this era for which no one has been held accountable. *Kidnapping: After 9/11, the CIA got into kidnapping in a big way. At least 136 "terror suspects" and possibly many more (including completely innocent people) were kidnapped off the streets of global cities, as well as from the backlands of the planet, often with the help of local police or intelligence agencies. Fifty-four other countries were enlisted in the enterprise...

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Promoting a "Right to Heal" from Ft. Hood to Abu Ghraib (By Phyllis Bennis) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 - ...U.S. troops were redeployed out of Iraq two-and-a-half years ago. But the United States’ nearly decade-long occupation—which followed not only the 2003 invasion, but also the Pentagon’s 1991 war and 12 years of crippling U.S.-led sanctions—destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure, despoiled the country’s environment, and shredded its social fabric. The consequences of the U.S. war remain embedded in the shattered cities, polluted rivers, carcinogenic military burn pits, and in the bodies of hundreds of thousands or millions of Iraqis, as well as of tens of thousands of U.S. troops. Meanwhile, in an all-too-rare front-page feature documenting the Afghanistan War’s ongoing impact on Afghans, the Washington Post recently dissected the consequences for the "rising number of children … dying from U.S. explosives littering Afghan land." ...

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The Rhetoric of Violence (Chris Hedges) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 - At least nine people were killed and at least 35 others were wounded in shootings across Chicago on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Thursday police announced that a man had been arrested on charges of firing on a number of motorists recently, wounding three of them, on Kansas City-area highways. On April 13 three people, including a child, were murdered at two Jewish-affiliated facilities in Overland Park, Kan., leading to the arrest of a white supremacist. On April 12, armed militias in Nevada got the federal government to retreat, allowing rancher Cliven Bundy to continue to graze his cattle on public land. All this happened over a span of only nine days in the life of a country where more than 250 people are shot every day. In America, violence and the threat of lethal force are the ways we communicate. Violence—the preferred form of control by the state—is an expression of our hatred, self-loathing and lust for vengeance. And this bloodletting will increasingly mark a nation in terminal decline. Violence, as H. Rap Brown said, is "as American as cherry pie."...

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Tax-deductible US group pushes Israeli control of Temple Mount (Philip Weiss) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014- The news today is that there is more violence on the Temple Mount, with Palestinian rioting spreading out to the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. The source of this violence is clear: rightwing Jewish efforts to conduct religious rituals on the Temple Mount. Haaretz: Most incidents involve Jews attempting to access the area in order to pray or demonstrate a Jewish presence. The growing strength of the Jewish Temple Movement and other organizations that seek to change the status quo on the Temple Mount has exacerbated these tensions, as has the crisis in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. It turns out that these zealots are getting support in the United States...

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WATCH: Ilan Pappe on the 'ongoing Nakba' (Social TV) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 - On Land Day in Jaffa, a demonstration was held in the city’s clock square, but the highlight was a lecture by Professor Ilan Pappe on what he and others term the ongoing Nakba and a 'single democratic state' solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict....

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US Drones Bomb Yemen for Second Time in Two Days (Jon Queally) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 ---Missiles from a suspected U.S. drone (or drones) bombed Yemen for the second day in a row on Sunday, with reports indicating that between 25 to 30 people were killed in the attack.On Saturday, a similiar airstrike is thought to have killed fifteen people. Media outlets, including Reuters and Agence France-Presse, cited "tribal members" who said that those killed in Sunday's attack were al-Qaeda militants. As independent journalist and commentator Kevin Gosztola responded, however, claims like these should be met with deep skepticism...

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Israeli forces storm Aqsa compound, dozens injured and detained (Ma'an News) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 - -- Dozens of Palestinian worshipers were wounded and dozens were detained after clashes broke in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday morning with Israeli forces who had stormed the courtyards firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.The raid comes amid frequent clashes in recent days after right-wing Jewish groups urged Jews to flock to the compound -- which they believe is the site of a former Jewish temple -- and conduct Passover rituals inside. Director of Al-Aqsa Mosque Omar Kiswani told Ma'an that more than 400 police officers stormed the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Moroccan Gate and the Chain Gate escorting extremist Jews other Jewish visitors into the compound....

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Podcast: Young Palestinian & Contributor to ‘Gaza Writes Back’ Describes Life Under Occupation (By: Kevin Gosztola) - 23-apr-2014

April 20, 2014 - For this week’s "Unauthorized Disclosure" podcast, Rania Khalek of the "Dispatches from the Underclass" blog interviews Yousef Aljamal, a contributor to a collection of stories from Palestinians in Gaza called "Gaza Writes Back." Khalek met up with Aljamal while he was on a book tour that stopped in Washington, DC. He talked to her about the writings in the collection, which are inspired by Operation Cast Lead. He describes life in Gaza and even talks about the growing worldwide boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel....

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Syria News - April 19, 2014 (Warning: Graphic Videos) (Local Coordinating Committees of Syria) - 23-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 - By the end of Saturday the Coordination Committees were able to document 73 martyrs in Syria including 3 women, 9 children and 4 martyrs under torture: 31 martyrs were reported in Aleppo; 22 in Damascus and its Suburbs; 9 in Idlib; 5 in Daraa; 5 in Homs and 1 martyr in Hama....

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International Lawyers Seek Justice for Iraqis (By Dahr Jamail, Truthout) - 22-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 - International lawyers and activists converged at a conference titled The Iraq Commission, in Brussels, Belgium, April 16 and 17, with the primary aim of bringing to justice government officials who are guilty of war crimes in Iraq. "Within a few days of this, a lawless atmosphere developed within my unit," Ross Caputi, a former marine who took part in the brutal November 2004 siege of Fallujah told the Iraq Commission. "There was a lot of looting going on. I saw people searching the pockets of the dead resistance fighters for money. Some people were mutilating corpses."....

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Guantánamo Bay detainees' release upon end of Afghanistan war 'unlikely' (Spencer Ackerman) - 22-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 - Typically, when a war ends, so does the combatants’ authority to detain the other side’s fighters. But as the conclusion of the US war in Afghanistan approaches, the inmate population of Guantánamo Bay is likely to be an exception – and, for the Obama administration, the latest complication to its attempt to close the infamous wartime detention complex.In December, when President Barack Obama and his Nato allies formally end their combat role in Afghanistan, US officials indicate there is unlikely to be a corresponding release of detainees at Guantánamo who were captured during the country's longest conflict. The question has been the subject of recent internal debate in the Obama administration, which is wrapped up in the broader question of future detention policy...

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Iraq Nation Destroyed, Oil Riches Confiscated. Surviving Iraqi Population Impoverished (By Asad Ismi) - 22-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 - ....Before the invasion, Iraq’s oil had been nationalized for 40 years, and with it Iraq had created a welfare state for its people, providing them with free education, medical care, subsidies, and a relatively high standard of living. All these crucial gains have now been wiped out. Saddam Hussein, the ruler of Iraq hanged by the U.S., was a brutal dictator, but he ensured that Iraq’s oil benefited its people. Maliki is a dictator, too, brought to power by the U.S, invasion, but he doesn’t provide any economic benefits to the Iraqi people and instead is involved in looting the country’s oil wealth along with multinational corporations.As Yanar Mohammed puts it, "Under Saddam, there was a state that was taking care of the education of the people, of the health of the people, and there was a socialist economy in which the people had some ability to enjoy a prosperous life — and at this point all of that is being lost. We are learning what free enterprise is. All we see is poverty, and the government has enacted laws which prevent the organizing of workers and of unions so as to claim their rights."...

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Easter in the destroyed Palestinian village of Maalul (By Alex Shams) - 22-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 - As thousands of Palestinian Christians descend on Jerusalem for Holy Week festivities, the villagers of Maalul are busy preparing their own Easter celebration for the one day a year Israeli authorities allow them to hold services in their village church.Their forefathers were expelled from their homes in the village in 1948 by Israeli forces, and today hundreds of their descendants live in nearby Nazareth, Yafa al-Naseriyye, and Haifa.They are forbidden from returning to the village, even though it sits mere kilometers away from their new homes.But in 2003, more than 50 years after they were forced to flee their homes, villagers returned to Maalul to celebrate Easter in the Catholic Church, one of the few structures that had not been demolished by authorities...

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Afghanistan: Drug abuse goes out of control (By Kreshma Fakhri) - 22-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 -The country’s deaddiction centres are not able to keep up with the spiraling drug abuse. With nearly 1.6 million addicts including children and women the rampant use of an assortment of drugs has become a serious public health crisis. Millions of dollars are being spent on fighting drug addiction but a survey by the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau in 2012 had showed a 70 percent increase in addicts from 2009.The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) estimates the majority of addicts are male; 13 percent are women and 7 percent children. Afghanistan has some 105 deaddiction centres with a capacity to treat 25,000 addicts. A high 78 percent of addicts are hooked to heroin.


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Photographer critically wounded at Ofer Protest (By Claire Matsunami) - 22-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 - 21-year-old Mohammad Basman Yasin was critically wounded by Israeli forces while working as a volunteer photographer with B’Tselem, documenting the demonstration outside Israel’s Ofer prison near Ramallah on Friday 4 April. Protestors gathered outside of Israel’s Ofer military prison to demonstrate against the Israeli government’s failure to release the latest round of prisoners, a group whose release was was of the conditions for the now evaporating peace talks. As protesters attempted hold midday prayers outside the prison’s gates, soldiers reportedly began shooting tear gas at them and clashes erupted. Mohammad Yasin was over 100 meters away from the clashes, preparing to leave, when he was shot twice from the right side...

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Palestinian Christians 'bitter and left out' of Easter celebrations (by Dalia Hatuqa) - 22-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 — Seeking comfort in prayer, hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the Greek Catholic Church in Ramallah's Old City to solemnly commemorate Good Friday, during a long weekend that marks when Jesus is believed to have been crucified, buried and resurrected more than 2,000 years ago. During what's known as the "funeral" procession, Palestinian Christians re-enacted the burial of Jesus, along with a lengthy ritual of prayer, Gospel recitations and hymn singing. Later, the Catholic congregation joined Greek Orthodox worshippers from a nearby church. Together, and with a choir and marching band of a local scout troop, they completed a circuit around the Orthodox church holding a shrine symbolizing Jesus' casket... For many Christians, Easter is hailed as a time for renewal and revival, said Jamal Khader of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, but revival can be difficult when the number of Palestinian Christians is dwindling every year due to restrictive measures....


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Libyan kangaroo court trials begin against Gaddafi’s sons (By Jean Shaoul) - 22-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 -The Libyan state this week began a mass trial, the focus of which are two of deposed leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, his heir apparent Saif al-Islam, and Saadi, who was recently extradited from Niger, where he had sought refuge from the US-led war in 2011.Also facing trial are 36 top officials, including Gaddafi’s intelligence chief and right-hand man Abdullah al-Senussi, deported from Mauretania in 2012, former prime ministers al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi and Bouzid Dorda, and a former foreign minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi. They all face charges relating to their alleged role in suppressing the pro-Islamist movement in Benghazi that was utilised by NATO to topple Gaddafi...


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7000 families displaced in Iraq's Diyala (World Bulletin / News Desk) - 22-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 - A total of 7000 families have been displaced in the northern Iraqi province of Diyala due to "militant activities", a local province official said on Saturday."Diyala has seen activities by sectarian militias in recent months," municipal councilor Omar al-Hameeri told Anadolu Agency. Al-Hameeri, a former governor of Diyala, accused militias of carrying out "mass executions" and destroying homes in the province, while security agencies stand idle. Diyala has been the site of growing activities by pro-government militias, thought to be Shiite...


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A Rising Number of Children Are Dying from U.S. Explosives Littering Afghan Land (By Kevin Sieff) - 22-apr-2014

April 19, 2014 - As the U.S. military withdraws from Afghanistan, it is leaving behind a deadly legacy: about 800 square miles of land littered with undetonated grenades, rockets and mortar shells. The military has vacated scores of firing ranges pocked with the explosives. Dozens of children have been killed or wounded as they have stumbled upon the ordnance at the sites, which are often poorly marked. Casualties are likely to increase sharply; the U.S. military has removed the munitions from only 3 percent of the territory covered by its sprawling ranges, officials said. Clearing the rest of the contaminated land — which in total is twice as big as New York City — could take two to five years. U.S. military officials say they intend to clean up the ranges. But because of a lack of planning, officials say, funding has not yet been approved for the monumental effort, which is expected to cost $250 million....

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