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Let the revulsion build (The Common Ills) - 25-nov-2014

October 12, 2014 - A news outlet has been bombed in Anbar, 8 civilians (all members of one family) were killed in Saladin Province . . . These are the official bombings done by the government or done for the government of Iraq by foreign governments like the United States. Meanwhile Shi'ite militias get to be part of the 'security forces.' They 'secure' Al-Khalis today by terrorizing the people and demanding protection money. In Baquba today, they add kidnapping to their list.Barack Obama's 'plan' has been a failure in achieving its stated goals but its been even greater failure by providing cover for those who threaten and kill Iraqis -- especially Sunnis.No, you don't need Nouri as prime minister to terrorize the Sunnis, not after he's brought Shi'ite militias into the security forces and the US and all the other governments so eager to bomb are willing to look the other way....

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Donors, or enablers? Cairo's 'Gaza Reconstruction Conference' (Julie Webb-Pullman) - 25-nov-2014

October 12, 2014 - CAIRO'S Gaza Reconstruction Conference, you ask incredulously? And well you might – after all, Egypt is currently preventing the entry of materials to complete Qatari-funded projects in Gaza addressing the destruction of previous Israeli offensives. Building of roads, housing estates and hospitals have all ground to a halt despite being underway well before the latest Israeli war crimes in Gaza - crimes which have only further increased the need. We are seriously expected to accept Egypt as an honest broker? That the current regime has a shred of compassion for the already homeless, sick and injured Gazans still reeling from the 2008-9 and 2012 offensives who it refuses to admit assistance for, let alone those battered by the latest assaults? For the thousands of maimed and injured STILL refused exit through Rafah for necessary medical treatment elsewhere?...

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Syria News - October 11, 2014, (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - By the end of Saturday, LCC were able to document 19 martyrs including 3 women and 2 children: 7 martyrs were reported in Idlib; 4 in Aleppo; 3 in Damascus and its Suburbs, 2 in Homs, 2 in Daraa and 1 Hama...

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Military Resistance 12J2: Boots in the Air[ (Thomas F. Barton) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - Jeffrey White, a former senior Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who closely follows developments in Iraq, said the use of helicopter gunships by the United States means that U.S. troops effectively are now directly involved in ground battles. "It’s definitely boots in the air. This is combat, assuming U.S. Army guys were flying the helicopters," said White, a defense fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a center-right policy institute. "Using helicopter gunships in combat operations means those forces are in combat."...

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Seven years later, Israel decides Gaza blockade is ineffective (By Haggai Matar) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - "Israel now admits that the almost-airtight blockade of Gaza has done more harm than good." I am always amazed at the ease with which these sentences are written by this or that analyst. Written so nonchalantly to the point that it feels like the writer might as well just shrug and say, "Well that didn’t work, let’s try something else." As if that same defense establishment and those same analysts weren’t the ones who actively promoted the policy of siege for the past seven years. As if they aren’t responsible for embittering the lives of 1.8 million people. As if they didn’t kill thousands in Gaza and dozens in Israel, sowing unbelievable destruction over the course of several wars and operations, all in the name of their holy policy. As if they didn’t allow the Israeli public to become accustomed to the claim that there is no blockade, and if there is then it is Egypt, not us, who is responsible, and if it is us then it is justifiable and we owe the Palestinians absolutely nothing and why the hell do they keep shooting at us anyway...

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Guantánamo PR Can't Obscure the Reality of Force-Feeding (Clive Stafford Smith) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - This week, as a landmark case against abusive force-feeding at Guantánamo Bay got under way, a US Freedom of Information demand by the indomitable journalist Jason Leopold quietly forced the prison's military authorities to reveal their "Proposed Public Affairs Guidance" - public talking points - for discussing the force-feeding of detainees who are on a long-term hunger strike. Before proceeding any further, it is worth noting that most of the hunger strikers have long been cleared for release (more than fifty percent of the remaining detainees, many of them clients of my organisation, Reprieve). Last week I saw Shaker Aamer, for example, the last remaining British resident, and he has been cleared for seven years, more than half of the time he has spent without charges or a trial...

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Palestinian family attacked by settlers while harvesting olives (International Solidarity Movement) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - Tuesday afternoon, the 7th of October, olive farmer Mahmoud Rga Mahoud Aid, his wife, and thei three children were attacked by a a group of settlers from the illegal settlement of Giv’at Ya’akov. The attack took place on the family´s land near the village of Burin, south west of Nablus. The the family had only three days permission from the District Coordination Office (DCO) to access their land and pick their olives, starting from the 6th of October. To harvest all the olives on the land would normally take about a month....

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Questioning Sweden’s ‘Bold’ Diplomatic Initiative (Richard Falk) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 -It was a welcome move, but only in some respects. The new center-left Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, in his inaugural speech to Parliament indicated on October 3rd the intention of the Swedish government to recognize Palestinian statehood. He explained that such a move mentioned in the platform of his party is in accord with promoting a two-state solution, and more significantly, that is to be "negotiated in accordance with international law." The call for adherence to international law in future diplomacy is actually more of a step forward than is the announced intention of future recognition, which has so far received all the media attention and incurred the wrath of Tel Aviv. To bring international law into future negotiations would amount to a radical modication of the 'peace process’ that came into being with the Oslo Declaration of Principles in 1993. The Israel/United States view was to allow any agreements between the parties to arise from a bargaining process, which is a shorthand for acknowledging the primacy of power, taking account of 'facts on the ground’ (that is, the unlawful settlements) and diplomatic leverage (allowing the United States to fake the role of 'honest broker’ while at the same time making sure that Israel’s interests are protected)....

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Forget Biden’s words, the problem is Obama’s thoughts (Eyad Abu Shakra) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - ...ndeed, the Syrian crisis and the subsequent emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in both Iraq and Syria have proved that cooperation with Tehran’s rulers is now an essential part of Obama’s vision regarding the region’s political and strategic map regardless of what Iran has been doing across the Mashriq.Today, with the exception of empty statements from US officials about Iran’s nuclear program or Bashar Al-Assad’s regime losing legitimacy, we can clearly see changes taking place on the ground. This includes Iranian officials’ boasting that four Arab capitals—Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sana’a—are now controlled by and subservient to Tehran. Following Obama’s historic remarks in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in early March in which he praised Iran’s "strategic" thinking and blamed Washington’s regional allies who were "taken by surprise" by the "Arab Spring," his Vice-President Joe Biden has now gone beyond pointing the finger of blame...

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Gaza reconstruction: The new Israeli strategy (Dimi Reider) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - ...There is a bittersweet pleasure in seeing the army give up on the siege, and the government u-turn on its rejection of a Palestinian unity government, both essentially adopting the positions of the Israeli civil society and political Left (even if eight years and yet another horrible war too late). Yet the postwar reality sketched out by Ben Yishai still makes for an overwhelmingly depressing read. True, the influx of construction material and other goods into the Strip will doubtless be a great relief to the artificially starved Gazan economy. But the tight, almost dystopian new controls envisioned in the plan underline Israel’s approach to the Strip as being first and foremost a gigantic prison - only it is being upgraded from a third-world prison camp to an American cutting-edge SuperMax facility. Much of the more tantalizing promises should be taken with a heap of salt: complete freedom of movement except where security concerns are raised is pretty much what Gazans enjoy today; it just so happens that all of them, together and apart, are seen as security concerns...

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From Syria to Gaza: The search for a better life (Linah Alsaafin) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - ...The Palestinian refugee population in Syria had numbered around 600,000. Now, almost half have escaped the fighting in search of security and stability, but face heavy restrictions by various Arab governments, such as Lebanon, which has announced it will not grant entry to Palestinian Syrians.According to Atef Alamawi, the Director of the Monitoring Committee for Refugees from Syria to Gaza, more than 350 Palestinian Syrian families have fled to Gaza. They are made up of Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Syria, including those who are originally from Gaza but have spent the last few decades in Syria....

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Authoritarianism in Palestine (Dr Phil Leech) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - This week Al-Shabaka, a Palestinian think tank, released a report on the troubling issue of the Palestinian security sector. The report, authored by Alaa Tartir and Sabrien Amrov, argues that the Palestinian security sector has grown significantly in terms of its power and prominence since the schism between Hamas and Fatah in 2007. It suggests that this is problematic both because the security sector's growth has come at the expense of other areas of government spending – such as education and agriculture – that would represent more important efforts to challenge Israel's occupation, and because the increase in the security agencies' power and autonomy, relative to the general population and civilian leadership, can also be seen as anti-democratic...

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Forget its Charter, Hamas has given de facto recognition to the State of Israel (Jessica Purkiss) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - The Palestinian unity government held its first meeting in the Gaza Strip on Thursday after "great efforts" were made to obtain the necessary permits from Israel for ministers from the West Bank to cross into the coastal territory. Ever since moves were made to bring about Palestinian reconciliation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted to thwart them. The kidnap and murder of the three Israeli teens earlier this year was recruited to undermine the unity government, and the recent offensive in the Gaza Strip was launched just over a month after it was sworn in; both aimed to crush Hamas, and with it Palestinian reconciliation...

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Syria News - October 10, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 25-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - By the end of Friday , LCC has documented 86 martyrs including 15 children, 7 women and 2 martyrs under torture. 32 martyrs were reported in Daraa, 15 in Qunaitra, 14 in Aleppo, 13 in Damascus and its suburbs, 6 in Idlib, 3 in Homs, and 3 in Hama....

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White House denies plan to close Guantánamo Bay with executive action (Reuters) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - Obama administration spokesperson vehemently contradicts report that president seeks to override law and Congress. The White House on Thursday denied a report that President Barack Obama is putting together options for executive action to close the controversial US military prison at Guantánamo Bay in defiance of congressional wishes. The Wall Street Journal, citing administration officials, reported that the White House was "drafting options" to close the facility by overriding a ban put in place by Congress that prohibits prisoners from being brought to the United States...

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Warmongering Hebrew University tries to muzzle Palestinian students (Yara Sa'di) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - Back in 1969, the civil rights activist Angela Davis complained of how third-level education was being hijacked. Research grants were being awarded by the US government to "force the scholar to develop more efficient means, for example, of furthering the war in Vietnam."Speaking at the University of California, Los Angeles, Davis said: "The university has become political in a very overt sense. It has become political as far as politics are defined by the controlling political apparatus in this country."...

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Report suggests Assad’s forces committed mass rape near Aleppo (Al Arabiya News) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime took hostage 500 residents – mostly women and children – from a northern Aleppo village last week amid reports of mass rape, the opposition National Coalition has said. In a press statement, the coalition condemned the capture of women and children residing in the village of Sefat, calling it a "dirty and cowardly action," and demanded an "immediate release of all detainees."The capturing of women and children came amid news from the village of rape crimes being carried out by "Assad’s forces and the sectarian militia fighting by its side," the coalition said, quoting local activists.Reports of torture and mass rape are not uncommon in the Syrian civil war...

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Israeli Perception and Reality (By Jamal Kanj) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 -In my last column, I discussed Benjamin Netanyahu’s proclivity to deceive, cheat and lie. During my research, however, I came across an article by Israeli journalist Amira Hass, who had a different take on the issue.In her 2011 article in the Israeli daily Haartz, Hass argued that 'Netanyahu is less of a liar than past Israeli PMs.’ť She explained that unlike other Israeli prime ministers, Netanyahu 'doesn’t bother to cover the gap between words and bulldozers.’Political Zionism must have envisioned their apparent nemesis, Adolf Hitler’s quote 'If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.’ It all started with their slogan: 'A land without people, for a people without land.’..

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G.I. Resistance to the Vietnam War (by KEVIN KEATING) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - Until 1968 the desertion rate for U.S. troops in Vietnam was lower than in previous wars. But by 1969 the desertion rate had increased fourfold. This wasn’t limited to Southeast Asia; desertion rates among G.I.’s were on the increase world-wide. For soldiers in the combat zone, insubordination became an important part of avoiding horrible injury or death. As early as mid-1969, an entire company of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade sat down on the battlefield. Later that year, a rifle company from the famed 1st Air Cavalry Division flatly refused — on CBS TV — to advance down a dangerous trail. In the following 12 months the 1st Air Cav notched up 35 combat refusals...

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The International Coalition is Fighting the Most Dangerous Enemy of Iranian Expansion in the Region (Raghida Dergham) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - ...What the Americans do not understand are the details of the Iranian role in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, or Yemen. These are complex details for ordinary Americans, details in which they have no interest. As for decision-makers, this is another matter. Still, it would be naďve to assume that US policy is based on ignorance, naivety, or foolishness. This begs the most important question: Why has all the attention and all the priorities been focused on fighting ISIS, mobilizing a regional and international alliance for the purpose, with the disclaimer that this war is going to last for years? ...

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Yet Another Example of How Government Uses ‘Legal Process’ to Coerce Reporters to Reveal Sources (By: Kevin Gosztola) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - In 2011, a reporter for Fox News named Mike Levine was issued a grand jury subpoena as part of a Justice Department leak investigation. The subpoena demanded Levine reveal the names of "law enforcement" sources, who confirmed details for a story he wrote on Somali-Americans being indicted on terrorism charges in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Levine fought the subpoena and lost in July. Despite the fact that the government had defeated , the government withdrew the subpoena in April 2012. That Levine had been subpoenaed had been publicly known since May of this year, however, court records in the case remained secret until yesterday. And they provide a clear example of how the government is willing to use the legal process against journalists to essentially intimidate and pressure them into revealing their confidential sources...

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Elie Wiesel and Amos Yadlin congratulate East Jerusalem settlers (By Noam Sheizaf) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - One of the most dramatic settlement efforts in decades took place a couple of weeks ago, when 25 apartments in the Palestinian neighborhood Silwan, in East Jerusalem, were occupied by Jewish settlers. Silwan is the prize trophy for the settler movement, since it sits right on the edge of the Old City, inside the Holy Basin. The new Israeli push into the Palestinian part of the city was condemned by the international community and stood at the heart of the media coverage during Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S. The settlement effort, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, was carried out "by individuals who are associated with an organization whose agenda, by definition, stokes tensions between Israelis and Palestinians."...

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Harvard Students: US is a Bigger Threat Than ISIS (Dennis Loo) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - The British paper, Daily Mail Online, reported on October 9, 2014: Harvard students believe that American [sic] is a bigger threat to world peace than ISIS, according to a recent survey of attendees at the prestigious Cambridge university. Campus Reform, a self-styled 'campus watchdog' for conservative students, carried out the interviews in the quad at the Ivy League school on Saturday and asked: 'Who is the bigger threat to world peace, ISIS or the U.S.?’ The students featured in the video were overwhelming in their belief that America and its interventionist foreign policy is a greater threat than the group of Muslim fanatics that have gained global notoriety in recent months through a series of video of Western hostages being beheaded.-...

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17 Civilians killed and wounded by Iraqi army's bombing in Fallujah (NINA) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 The medical sources at Fallujah General Hospital announced on Friday the martyrdom of 4 civilians, including two women and injuring 13 others, including two women & 4 kids during renewed shelling on the city of Fallujah. The source told the National Iraqi News Agency / Nina / that the mortar shelling, artillery and military helicopters focused on the neighborhoods of Al-Jughaifi, al-Shurta and al-Golan, north of Fallujah, and Nazzal, and al-Shuhadaa southern it, in addition to al-Askari area east of the city, adding that Fallujah is exposed almost daily to bombardment...

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