الاثنين، 31 ديسمبر، 2012
Secret CIA structure disclosed
December 28, 2012
The attack on the US embassy in the Libyan city of Benghazi undermined the prestige of the US State Department, which is now sharply criticized by many for failing to protect US diplomats in one of the world’s most dangerous hotspots. However, this attack also undermined the prestige of the CIA. The reason is that because of this attack, the world learned about a structure within the CIA, the existence of which used to be thoroughly hidden before that. This structure is called "The Global Response Staff," or GRS for short.
A publication in "The Washington Post" says that this structure was formed soon after the terrorist act of 9.11 and is meant for rendering help to CIA agents all over the world. Its employees are mainly former servicemen of special forces, whose tasks are to cover diplomats when they retreat from attacks on embassies, and the like.
Employees of GRS work in practically all the world’s most dangerous hotspots, like Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria. It is GRS agents who worked as security guards in the US embassy in Benghazi and defended the diplomats during the attack on this embassy. Two guards who were killed on the embassy’s roof from mortar-guns during the attack were also GRS agents.
It has also become known that there were GRS agents among those who were killed as a result of an attack on the US military base "Chapman" in the Pakistani province of Khost in 2009.
In total, from 2009 till now, 14 CIA agents were killed in the world. It is noteworthy that 5 of them were GRS employees.
A real scandal broke out when it became known that the family of a GRS agent who was killed during the attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Glen Doherty, hasn’t yet received any compensation from the CIS. The CIS officials say that Doherty was not employed permanently, and, according to the CIS’s regulations, pensions and compensations are provided only to the agency’s permanent employees and their families.
Now, because Doherty’s family has received no compensation, it has to pay large debts.
This story may undermine not only the CIA’s prestige, but also that of the US government. After all, it doesn’t do much credit to the American state that it has chosen the policy of economizing at the expense of paying no compensation to the widow of a CIS agent.
Shootings of Newtown Children Provokes Outrage, Foreign Kids Killed by U.S. Drones Doesn't
By Michael Allen
December 28, 2012Several journalists and commentators have recently written about the different reactions of Americans to the murder of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut and the kids murdered in foreign lands by U.S. drone attacks.
While Newtown has drawn an outpouring of sympathy and outrage from Americans and the U.S. media, there has been a deafening silence for the equally precious children killed by U.S. weaponry in Pakistan and Yemen.
George Monbiot, journalist for The Guardian, wrote this week:
Most of the world's media, which has rightly commemorated the children of Newtown, either ignores Obama's murders or accepts the official version that all those killed are 'militants'. The children of north-west Pakistan, it seems, are not like our children. They have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and flowers and teddy bears. They belong to the other: to the non-human world of bugs and grass and tissue.
Political philosophy professor Falguni Sheth wrote on the blog translationexercises.wordpress.com:
The shooting in Newtown, CT is but part and parcel of a culture of shooting children, shooting civilians, shooting innocent adults, that has been waged by the US government since September 12, 2001. And let there be no mistake: many of 'us' have directly felt the impact of that culture: Which 'us'? Yemeni parents, Pakistani uncles and aunts, Afghan grandparents and cousins, Somali brothers and sisters, Filipino cousins have experienced the impact of the culture of killing children. Families of children who live in countries that are routinely droned by the US (government). Families of children whose villages are raided nightly in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Gleen Greenwald, who writes for The Guardian, noted:
The violence and rights abridgments of the Bush and Obama administrations have been applied almost exclusively to Muslims. It is, therefore, Muslims who have been systematically dehumanized. Americans virtually never hear about the Muslims killed by their government's violence.
They're never profiled. The New York Times doesn't put powerful graphics showing their names and ages on its front page. Their funerals are never covered. President Obama never delivers teary sermons about how these Muslim children "had their entire lives ahead of them - birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own." That's what dehumanization is: their humanity is disappeared so that we don't have to face it.
Progressive filmmaker Robert Greenwald created this video (below) showing the brutal realities of children killed by the U.S. military abroad, while the Obama administration falsely claims how drone strikes are so "precise" and civilian deaths are rare.
Delhi gang-rape: Peaceful protest at Jantar Mantar marred by violence
Published: Sunday, Dec 30, 2012, 15:08 IST | Updated: Sunday, Dec 30, 2012, 17:29 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: ANI
Place: New Delhi | Agency: ANI
The peaceful protest at Jantar Mantar, demanding speedy punishment for the rapists of the 23-year-old girl, was marred by violence on Sunday when a group allegedly belonging to Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) clashed with the police on being denied permission to take out a march.
Five people, including some members of the ABVP, were detained following the incident, but were released later and the situation was quickly brought under control.
The incident occurred even as a group of protesters sat on a one-day hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in the heart of the national capital, while others shouted slogans holding placards in their hands.
A group of protesters also painted slogans and graphics on sheets of paper spread on the road.
The hitherto peaceful protest turned violent at around 1 pm when a group among the protesters carrying flags and banners of ABVP tried to take out a march from Jantar Mantar to Connaught Place, but the police prevented them from moving ahead, following which the clash erupted.
While one group went ahead with the peaceful protest, another group tried to break the iron barricades and the police called in more reinforcement.
Protesters managed to break some of the barricades, but the police immediately contained them.
At Jantar Mantar, young and old, men and women gathered at the epicentre of the protest from morning in an outpouring of grief and anger at the rape and death of the 23-year-old paramedical student.
India Gate and Raisina Hill, where violent protests had taken place last week, remained out of bounds for public on Sunday as hundreds of policemen in riot gear guarded the area and kept a hawk's vigil.
“The entire central vista including Rajpath, Vijay Chowk and all roads leading to India Gate will be closed for general traffic. Kamal Attaturk Marg has also been closed. All travellers are advised to avoid these roads,” the police said.
Five out of the 10 metro stations in central Delhi, that were closed down for an indefinite period in the wake of the death of the gang-rape victim, were opened on Sunday afternoon.
The stations which opened are Pragati Maidan, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, Rajiv Chowk and Patel Chowk.
الأحد، 30 ديسمبر، 2012
السبت، 29 ديسمبر، 2012
Villagers join al-Qaeda after deadly US strike
By Sudarsan Raghavan
DHAMAR, Yemen: A rickety truck packed with 14 people rumbled down a desert road from the town of Radda, which al-Qaeda militants once controlled. Suddenly a missile struck flipping the vehicle over. Then a second missile hit the truck.
Within seconds, 11 of the passengers were dead, including a woman and her seven-year-old daughter. A 12-year-old boy also died that day, and another man later died from his wounds.
The Yemeni government initially said that those killed were al-Qaeda militants and that its own Soviet-era jets carried out the September 2 attack. But last week US officials acknowledged for the first time that it was an American strike and that the victims were civilians.
Furious tribesmen tried to take the bodies to the gates of the presidential residence, forcing the government into the rare position of withdrawing its claim that militants had been killed. The apparent target was the senior regional al-Qaeda leader Abdelrauf al-Dahab, thought to be travelling on the same road.
The two survivors and relatives of six victims, interviewed separately and speaking to a Western journalist, said they would be willing to support or even fight alongside al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.
The two survivors and relatives of six victims, interviewed separately and speaking to a Western journalist, said they would be willing to support or even fight alongside al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.
''If we are ignored and neglected, I would try to take my revenge,'' said Nasser Mabkhoot al-Sabooly, the truck's driver who suffered burns and bruises. ''I would even hijack an army pickup, drive it back to my village and hold the soldiers in it hostages.''
''The people are against the indiscriminate use of the drones,'' the Yemeni Foreign Minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, said. ''And more important, they want to have some transparency as far as what's going on - from everybody.''
In January, militants linked to al-Qaeda briefly seized Radda, about 160 kilometres south of the capital, Sanaa. They left after the government agreed to their demands and released several extremists from prison. By the northern summer, al-Qaeda had also been pushed from towns in southern Yemen after a US-backed offensive initiated by the President, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who took office this year after a popular uprising.
Recently villagers in Sabul, about 15 kilometres from Radda, reported hearing US drones fly over the area, often up to four times a day. ''It burns my blood every time I see or hear the airplanes,'' said Ali Ahmed Mukhbil, a 40-year-old farmer.
Nasser Rubaih, a 26-year-old farmer, was working in the valley on the day the truck was hit. He heard the explosions and ran to the site and, like others, threw sand into the burning vehicle to douse the flames. As he sifted through the charred bodies lying on the road, he recognised his brother Abdullah from his clothes. Mr Mukhbil's brother Masood was also dead.
The Yemeni government publicly apologised for the attack and sent 101 guns to tribal leaders in the area, which in Yemeni culture is an admission of guilt. But a government inquiry into the strike appears to be stalled. After a December 2009 air strike killed dozens of civilians in the southern town of al-Majala, the government also took responsibility.
''We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,'' the then dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh told General David Petraeus, then the head of US Central Command, according to a US embassy email leaked by WikiLeaks.
Three weeks after the Radda attack, Mr Hadi visited Washington and praised the accuracy of US drone strikes. ''They pinpoint the target and have zero margin of error, if you know what target you're aiming at,'' he told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars.
Al-Qaeda sent emissaries to Sabul to offer compensation to victims' relatives, in comparison to the government that provided nothing. Some relatives have already joined the terrorist group since the attack, Radda's security chief, Hamoud Mohamed al-Ammari, said. Others may follow. ''If I am sure the Americans are the ones who killed my brother, I will join al-Qaeda and fight against America,'' Mr Rubaih said.
The Washington Post
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
December 27, 2012
Bethlehem (Aramaic for House of Laham, the Canaanitic God of Sustenance) area is decked in colors and the best and most beautiful lights are the smiles on the faces of our children. On Saturday evening, we attended a Christian service that was a joint service with the National Cathedral in Washington DC. The Palestinian children bell choir was uplifting. Children led the lighting of the candles at churches, the singing, and the choirs and they outnumbered adults in most activities. We were blessed by visited homes of poor children of different faiths. On Monday 3500 members of marching bands/scouts (most youth under 18) led parades near the apartheid wall separating Jerusalem from Bethlehem towards the Nativity square. Some of the marching youth were Muslims. The marching band from Gaza (Christian and Muslim) was not allowed to participate by the Israeli occupation authorities. Earlier in the day, children in the square formed a large peace symbol and the words "LOVE ALL" with their bodies in front of the massive Christmas tree in the square. The United Nations Work and Relief Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) had banners asking people to remember the suffering children in Gaza and Syria.
Later in the day, the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement and the YMCA/YWCA Joint Advocacy initiative organized a children's program. Laughing and dancing lasted for nearly two hours and then gifts were passed to the kids by Santa Clause. We all should remember that Jesus was born 2000 years ago in a humble manger. My ancestors, the Shepherds of Beit Sahour recognized the message of hope and acted on it. They and Jesus were Palestinians living under a foreign imperial occupation managed by local individuals who claimed religion and law. Herod killed the Children of Bethlehem to advance the agenda of hate. Jesus advanced the agenda of love. His family became refugees from tyranny (like millions of Palestinians today). Jesus challenged military occupation with non-violent resistance and chastised Pharisees and Sadducees for hypocrisy. He called for peace and helped the oppressed. This important child of Bethlehem is recognized by Christians, Muslims, and most of humanity (including atheists and agnostics) as a great teacher and a saviour. He taught all humanity that it is important to tell the truth and stand with the weak and oppressed of this world. He taught by example. Palestinian Christians believe he became the first martyr for non-violent resistance to foreign occupation of Palestine. He said "let the children come to me" and implored us to believe in goodness in the same way that children do and then to ACT on our belief. Whether we are Christian or not, this is the message coming forth from Bethlehem this season and all the time.
If you are in the Bethlehem area let us get together and plan our actions for 2013 and beyond especially for the future of all children of our shared planet.
Tuesday/Today 4 PM Candle Light march for Palestine in Beit Sahour starting at the Shephetrds' Field followed by festival of Christmas with music etc.
Wednesday 6 PM: Service at the wall neaer Rachel Tomb area
Friday: At Izbet Tabib (near Qalqilia), Bilin, and other localities in Palestine, join marches against the apartheid wall
Bethlehem views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdPjsNpuqCk
Video from the simulcast with the National Cathedral
"do not ask whom for the bells (of Bethlehem) toll, they toll for thee"
Unedited security camera footage shows Israeli officer fired at Hebron teenager after he retreated
by Adam Horowitz
Robert Mackey at the New York Times Lede blog has the story behind the video above. It is security camera footage of Israeli border police killing 17-year-old Mohammed Salayme at a Hebron checkpoint on December 12th. The Israeli military released a version of the video on December 17, and it was clear it had been edited. Allison Deger wondered at the time what had been edited out? Now we know.
On Wednesday, a correspondent for Israel’s Channel 10 uploaded what appears to be unedited video of the encounter at the checkpoint to his personal YouTube channel. According to the correspondent, Roy Sharon, the security-camera footage, which includes 19 seconds omitted from the edit posted on an Israeli military channel last week, was "raw material provided by the I.D.F. Spokesperson’s unit."The longer version displays a time stamp indicating that it was recorded on Dec. 12, from 8:09 p.m. to 8:10 p.m. The unedited recording includes about 14 seconds that was cut from the middle of the version released by the military last week and another five seconds that was trimmed from the end of the encounter.The newly released video of the end of the incident appears to show that the Israeli officer fired at least three shots at the Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Salameh, after he had already retreated from the officer he had been fighting with when the first shot was fired. The officer’s final shot, which was omitted entirely from the military’s edited version, looks to have been fired from some distance, after the boy had doubled over, perhaps from the impact of the earlier shots. The boy was not close to any of the Israeli officers visible in the footage.
Here is the edited version the Israeli military released on December 17:
Fourth anniversary of massive Israeli assault on Gaza
Middle East Monitor
December 27, 2012
December 27th 2012 is the fourth anniversary of the Israeli assault on Gaza, known in Israel as "Operation Cast Lead" and in Palestine as "The Battle of al-Furqan'. Many others refer to it simply as the "massacre of Gaza".
It was launched by Israel, the only nuclear-armed country in the Middles East, against the largely civilian population of the besieged Gaza Strip, a small enclave along the Mediterranean coast with an area of 360 km2 and a population of around 2m. The war lasted for 22 days during which Israeli aircraft, warships and tanks pounded Gaza with hundreds of thousands of high explosives, including munitions such as white phosphorus, banned internationally for use in built-up areas. Israel used it against a UN school where Palestinians were sheltering.
The war followed a six month truce between Hamas and Israel which was brokered by Egypt in June 2008. When Hamas refused to renew the truce because Israel was refusing to lift the siege imposed on Gaza, the Israelis breached it anyway on 4th November 2008, killing six Palestinians.
The truce had been due to end officially on Friday, December 19, 2008, and Israel started to bombard Gaza at 11:30 am on Saturday December 27, 2008. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the following three weeks, including 412 children, 111 women, 14 paramedics and four journalists. More than 5,000 Palestinians were injured.
Israel said that 13 of its soldiers were killed, with about 400 casualties, although the Palestinian fighters claimed to have killed around 100 Israeli soldiers.
According to the Israeli government, the aims of the war were to end Hamas control of the Gaza Strip, free their soldier Gilad Shalit who was being held prisoner in Gaza, and stop the homemade rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.
The first day was the bloodiest of the war, with the largest number of casualties since the creation of Israel in 1948. Israeli F-16 fighter jets and Apache attack helicopters struck 100 pre-planned targets within a span of 220 seconds. Thirty minutes later, a second wave of 60 jets and helicopters struck at an additional 60 targets. More than 400 Palestinians were killed and around 700 were injured; most of the casualties were civilian police officers.
The Palestinian Centre for Israeli Studies said that Israel intended to deceive the people of Gaza when it opened the Gaza border crossings on 26th December to allow 428,000 litres of industrial fuel and about 75 tons of cooking gas to enter the enclave. In addition, 105 truckloads of goods were allowed through. On the same day, the Israelis also announced a 48 hour window of opportunity for Palestinian fighters to stop firing their homemade rockets at Israeli targets otherwise it would carry out a massive military operation against Hamas. Less than 24 hours later, Israeli bombs started to hit home.
Israel started the war after its then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni visited Egypt and, during a press conference with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Cairo, threatened to end Hamas control and change the situation in the Gaza Strip. Egypt faced severe criticism and was accused of conspiring with Israel.
All security and police stations next to Hamas offices in Gaza were targeted during the assault and invasion. Hundreds of police officers were killed, including the Police Brigadier in Gaza, Tawfiq Jaber and Colonel Ismail Ja'bari.
More than 9,000 civilians were displaced as their houses were destroyed completely; 27 mosques, 67 schools and 34 hospitals and clinics were also destroyed.
Independent journalists and experts confirmed that Israel used internationally-banned weapons during the war. Some experts even confirmed the use of depleted uranium. Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, who rushed to help in Gaza's hospitals when the war started, told a meeting at the British House of Commons later that he saw the proofs of such banned munitions in the bodies of the casualties. Dr Gilbert also said that he thought that Israel's war against Lebanon in 1982 was the bloodiest he had ever seen until he saw the effects of the Israeli war on Gaza.
In Cairo, Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit blamed Hamas for the violence, telling several news agencies, "Egypt has warned Hamas that Israel is going to carry out such an attack, but as Hamas ignored that warning, it should be blamed for the attack."
Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said that his country was not ready to open the Rafah Crossing to ease the life of the Palestinians by letting food and medical assistance in to Gaza unless PA officers and Israeli and European observers were in place. He also blamed Hamas implicitly for what took place.
On 18th January, 2009, Israeli ground forces withdrew from the Gaza Strip and Israel announced unilaterally the end of the operation. Palestinians claimed a victory because the Israeli army had failed to achieve its planned military goals on the ground. In addition, Israel's offensive provoked massive popular criticism all over the world.
US munitions cause spike in Iraqi infant birth defects
By Eric London
December 27, 2012
Though it has been nearly a decade since the beginning of the US-led invasion of Iraq, a report from the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology released in September reveals the devastating impact that the war is continuing to have on the Iraqi people—particularly Iraqi infants.
According to the study, titled "Metal Contamination and the Epidemic of Congenital Birth Defects in Iraqi Cities," the Iraqi cities of Basra and Fallujah are experiencing an exponential rise in birth defects, allegedly caused by the use of depleted uranium ammunition by the United States and British invasion forces.
The German-based Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicologysurvey reported that half of the infants it surveyed who were born between 2007 and 2010 were born with a birth defect. This figure was less than 2 percent before 2000. In Basra, the southern Iraqi city and site of a massive bombing campaign undertaken at the start of the invasion in March and April 2003, the birth defect rate was 17 times higher than before the 2003 invasion.
"Some [infants] had only one eye in the forehead. Or two heads. One had a tail like a skinned lamb. Another one looked like a perfectly normal child, but with a monkey’s face. Or the girl whose legs had grown together, half fish, half human," Basra children’s cemetery owner Askar Bin Said told Der Spiegel .
Chemist Chris Busby, the co-author of two studies on the subject, told the Guardian that Fallujah is experiencing "the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied."
Hair sample studies performed in 2010 by Bulletin researchers revealed that lead levels were five times higher in Fallujah children than in other children. Mercury levels were six times higher. Diagnosed cases of hydrocephalus, or "water in the brain," are six times higher in Basra children than in children from the United States. Basra is also experiencing the highest ever rate of spina bifida, or "open back disease." In total, over 45 percent of pregnancies ended in miscarriage between 2004 and 2006.
Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a lead author of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, told the Independent that "the massive and repeated bombardment of these cities is clearly implicated here. I have no knowledge of any alternative source of metal contamination in these areas."
According to Dr. Savabieasfahani, there is now a "footprint of metal in the population" and "compelling evidence linking the staggering increases in Iraqi birth defects to neuro-toxic metal contamination following the repeated bombardments of Iraqi cities."
Moreover, the data reported by the study was most likely an "underestimate," according to Dr. Savabieasfahani, on account of many parents’ attempts to hide their children’s defects from public view.
The unprecedented health crisis facing the bombed-out targets of American imperialism is apparently the result of the use of "depleted uranium" ammunition used by the United States and British armed forces during the invasion and occupation. "DU" ammunition contains alloys or cores made of depleted uranium. The added density the uranium gives to projectiles allows bullets and shells to pierce bodies and metal with increased facility.
When the ammunition explodes or hits a target, it releases a chemical dust that is inhaled or permeates through the skin of its victim.
In other words, the advanced weaponry utilized by the US with the express goal of facilitating the destruction of Iraqi towns and cities has achieved its goal: local populations will quite literally be feeling the pain of the invasion for generations to come. Infants born even after the public "withdrawal" of invasion troops are killed as a result of the impact of the invasion on young Iraqi mothers and fathers.
"The war is to blame. The pollution. There were many bombs in our neighborhood," said Sabra Salman, the mother of a 10 year-old child with cancer, to Der Spiegel .
Mohammad Haider, a Basra parent of a deformed child, also told Der Spiegel that he and his wife "both grew up in Basra. I hold the United States responsible. They used DU. My child isn’t an isolated case."
The US Defense Department denied the findings with characteristic callousness. "We are not aware of any official reports indicating an increase in birth defects in Al Basrah or Fallujah that may be related to exposure to the metals contained in munitions used by the US or coalition partners," a spokesperson said.
"We always take very seriously public health concerns about any population now living in a combat theater. Unexploded ordnance, including improvised explosive devises, are a recognized hazard."
The British government also denied the report’s findings, proclaiming that there was no "reliable scientific or medical evidence to confirm a link between conventional ammunition and birth defects in Basra… All ammunition used by UK armed forces falls within international humanitarian law and is consistent with the Geneva Convention."