Jun 27

Lagarde no more

IMF Confirms Greek Referendum “Irrelevant” After Program Expires On Tuesday (ZeroHedge, June 27, 2015):

If there was any confusion if, as we warned first thing today was the biggest problem with the Greek referendum namely that next weekend there will no longer be a proposal to vote on, the IMF’s Christine Lagarde just put it to rest. As she told the BBC moments ago, the Greek government’s planned referendum on the terms of any new bailout plan will be invalid after Tuesday, when the current programme expires. As a result, the Greek people would be voting on proposals that were no longer in place. Continue reading »

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Jun 27

EU FinMins Admit Real Concern, Will Do ‘Whatever It Takes’ To Avoid Market Unease (ZeroHedge, June 27, 2015):

It is clear from the EU Finance Ministers’ template-like comments to the press what the real worry is in Europe (and the world). It’s not The Greeks (Schaeuble: No other decision was possible, no problem with Greek referendum… need to see what happens next”), it’s something else:

  • *SCHAEUBLE SAYS DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO AVERT MARKET UNEASE
  • *PADOAN: INSTRUMENTS IN PLACE TO COUNTER POSSIBLE CONTAGION
  • *DIJSSELBLOEM: OUR INSTITUTIONS ARE PREPARED TO TAKE ANY ACTION
  • *STUBB: “I DO NOT SEE A RISK OF CONTAGION”
  • *SCHAEUBLE SAYS WE’LL DO EVERYTHING TO FIGHT CONTAGION THREAT
  • *PADOAN: IF INSTABILITY, ECB HAS INSTRUMENTS TO INTERVENE

And then there’s this utter rubbish:   Continue reading »

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Jun 27

Greek Stock Market May Not Open Monday, Greek Officials Warn (ZeroHedge, June 27, 2015):

Despite all the talk of “containment” and “Greece doesn’t matter,” not only are we told by anonymous EU officials that some banks may not open Monday but now, a Greek SEC Official has warned…

*GREEK BOURSE MAY NOT TRADE MON IF NO ELA EXTENDED: SEC OFFICIAL

Greeks just got CYNK’d (or Hanergy’d).

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Jun 27

Varoufakis: Creditor Proposal Offers “No Hope,” Greece At “Historic Moment” (ZeroHedge, June 27, 2015):

As Jerome Dijsselbloem fearmongers all the worst parts of the bible that are about to befall Greece, Yanis Varoufakis is explainiing the Greek decision:

  • *VAROUFAKIS: CREDITOR OFFER LACKED HOPE FOR INVESTORS, CONSUMERS
  • *VAROUFAKIS SAYS GREECE FIND ITSELF AT `HISTORIC MOMENT’

Adding that the decision by the Eurogroup (ex-Greece) to veto the program extension damages Europe overall, Varoufakis defiantly concluded, the Greek government has no mandate to accept a “recessionary” aid offer.

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Jun 27

Dijsselbloem Says Greek “Program” Will Expire On Tuesday Night, Offer Won’t Exist At Referendum Time (ZeroHedge, June 27, 2015):

And just like that, “game theory” has become “over theory”:

  • DIJSSELBLOEM SAYS REST OF EUROGROUP REGRETS GREEK REJECTION
  • DIJSSELBLOEM SAYS `GREAT CONCERNS WITH CREDIBILITY’ OF GREECE
  • DIJSSELBLOEM SAYS REST OF EUROGROUP REGRETS GREEK REJECTION
  • DIJSSELBLOEM: SITUATION IN GREECE WILL DETERIOATE IN BETWEEN

The punchline, which as we hinted earlier, is the biggest problem with the Greek referendum – there will be no deal to vote on since the program will expireon Tuesday night, which means the offer will be pulled.

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Jun 27

“This Is A Sad Decision”: Europe Responds To The Greek Referendum, Which Has One Massive Problem (ZeroHedge, June 27, 2015):

In the aftermath of yesterday’s “nuclear option” announcement by Greece, when in a dramatic after-midnight speech Greek PM Tsipras announced that Greece would hold a referendum next Sunday, the day after the US independence day, the same Greek government made it very clear how it wants the Greeks to vote.

First, it was the Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, head of the Left Platform movement of Syriza, who said in comments broadcast on state-run ERT TV that a no vote by the Greek people in July 5 referendum “will open the road for a new future for the country” adding that “the dilemma facing Greeks is “whether to live better or not. Greek people are aware of difficulties of a new starting point, they’re ready to support new national effort.”

Then the alternate health and social security minister Dimitris Stratoulis doubled down telling ERT-TV that Greeks are being given the opportunity to decide the way forward and “I’m optimistic” that they will give a “resounding” no to the “provocative” demands of the country’s creditors. The only issue is the question being put to the people in the referendum.” It got better when he said that “Greeks are being asked to vote whether the country should be a colony, or not, of creditors.” Continue reading »

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Jun 27

Israel-War-Crimes

Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), and is the founder of Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc). Visit his Website.

War Crimes? Us??? (OpEdNews, June 26, 2015):

“WAR IS HELL!” the US general George Patton famously exclaimed.War is the business of killing the “enemy,” in order to impose your will on them.

Therefore, “humane war” is an oxymoron.

War itself is a crime. There are few exceptions. I would exempt the war against Nazi Germany, since it was conducted against a regime of mass murderers, led by a psychopathic dictator, who could not be brought to heel by any other means.This being so, the concept of “war crimes” is dubious. The biggest crime is starting the war in the first place. This is not the business of soldiers, but of political leaders. Yet they are rarely indicted.

THESE PHILOSOPHICAL musings came to me in the wake of the recent UN report on the last Gaza war.

 The investigation committee bent over backwards to be “balanced,” and accused both the Israeli army and Hamas in almost equal terms. That, in itself, is problematic.

This was not a war between equals. On one side, the State of Israel, with one of the mightiest armies in the world. On the other side, a stateless population of 1.8 million people, led by a guerrilla organization devoid of any modern arms.

Any equating of such two entities is by definition contrived. Even if both sides committed grievous war crimes, they are not the same. Each must be judged on its own (de)merits.

THE IDEA of “war crimes” is relatively new. It arose during the 30 Years War, which devastated a large part of Central Europe. Many armies took part, and all of them destroyed towns and villages without the slightest compunction. As a result, two thirds of Germany were devastated and a third of the German people was killed.

Hugo de Groot, a Dutchman, argued that even in war, civilized nations are bound by certain limitations. He was not a starry-eyed idealist, divorced from reality. His main principle, as I understand it, was that it makes no sense to forbid actions that help a warring country [or “party”] to pursue the war, but that any cruelty not necessary for the efficient conduct of the war is illegitimate.

This idea took hold. During the 18th century, endless wars were conducted by professional armies, without hurting civilian populations unnecessarily. Wars became “humane.”

Not for long. With the French revolution, war became a matter of mass armies, the protection of civilians slowly eroded, until it disappeared entirely in World War II, when whole cities were destroyed by unlimited aerial bombardment (Dresden and Hamburg) and the atom bomb (Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

Even so, a number of international conventions prohibit war crimes that target civilian populations or hurt the population in occupied territories.

That was the mandate of this committee of investigation.

THE COMMITTEE castigates Hamas for committing war crimes against the Israeli population.

Israelis didn’t need the committee to know that. A large share of Israeli citizens spent hours in shelters during the Gaza war, under the threat of Hamas rockets.

Hamas launched thousands of rockets towards towns and villages in Israel. These were primitive rockets, which could not be aimed at specific targets — like the Dimona nuclear installation or the Ministry of Defense which is located in the center of Tel Aviv. They were meant to terrorize the civilian population into demanding a stop to the attack on the Gaza strip.

They did not achieve this goal because Israel had installed a number of “Iron Dome” counter-rocket batteries, that intercepted almost all rockets heading for civilian targets. Success was almost complete.

If they are brought before the International Court in The Hague, the Hamas leaders will argue that they had no choice: they had no other weapons to oppose the Israeli invasion. As a Palestinian commander once told me: “Give us cannons and fighter planes, and we will not use terrorism.”

The International Court will then have to decide whether a people that is practically under an endless occupation is allowed to use indiscriminate rockets. Considering the principles laid down by de Groot, I wonder what the decision will be.

That goes for terrorism in general, if used by an oppressed people that has no other means of fighting. The black South Africans used terrorism in their fight against the oppressive apartheid regime, and Nelson Mandela spent 28 years in prison for taking part in such acts und refusing to condemn them.

THE CASE against the Israeli government and army is quite different. They have a plentitude of arms, from drones to warplanes to artillery to tanks.

If there was a cardinal war crime in this war, it was the cabinet decision to start it. Because an Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip makes war crimes unavoidable.

Anyone who has ever been a combat soldier in war knows that war crimes, whether in the most moral or the most base army in the world, do occur in war. No army can avoid recruiting psychologically defective people. In every company there is at least one pathological specimen. If there are not very strict rules, exercised by very strict commanders, crimes will occur.

War brings out the inner man (or woman, nowadays). A well-behaved, educated man will suddenly turn into a ferocious beast. A simple, lowly laborer will reveal himself as a decent, generous human being. Even in the “Most Moral Army in the World” — an oxymoron if there ever was one.

I was a combat soldier in the 1948 war. I have seen an eyeful of crimes, and I have described them in my 1950 book “The Other Side of the Coin.”

THIS GOES for every army. In our army during the last Gaza war, the situation was even worse.

The reasons for the attack on the Gaza Strip were murky. Three Israeli kids were captured by Arab men, obviously for the sake of achieving a prisoner exchange. The Arabs panicked and killed the boys. The Israelis responded, the Palestinians responded, and lo — the cabinet decided on a full-fledged attack.

Our cabinet includes nincompoops, most of whom have no idea what war is. They decided to attack the Gaza Strip.

This decision was the real war crime.

The Gaza Strip is a tiny territory, overcrowded by a bloated population of 1.8 million human beings, about half of them descendents of refugees from areas that became Israel in the 1948 war.

In any circumstances, such an attack was bound to result in a large number of civilian casualties. But another fact made this even worse.

ISRAEL IS a democratic state. Leaders have to be elected by the people. The voters consist of the parents and grandparents of the soldiers, members of both regular and reserve units.

This means that Israel is inordinately sensitive to casualties. If a large number of soldiers are killed in action, the government will fall.

Therefore it is the maxim of the Israeli army to avoid casualties at any cost — any cost to the enemy, that is. To save one soldier, it is permissible to kill ten, twenty, a hundred civilians on the other side.

This rule, unwritten and self-understood, is symbolized by the “Hannibal Procedure” — the code-word for preventing at any cost the taking of an Israeli soldier prisoner. Here, too, a “democratic” principle is at work: no Israeli government can withstand public pressure to release many dozens of Palestinian prisoners in return for the release of one Israeli one. Ergo: prevent a soldier from being taken prisoner, even if the soldier himself is killed in the process.

Hannibal allows — indeed, commands — the wreaking of untold destruction and killing, in order to prevent a captured soldier from being spirited away. This procedure is itself a war crime.

A responsible cabinet, with a minimum of combat experience, would know all this at the moment it was called upon to decide on a military operation. If they don’t know, it is the duty of the army [or “military”] commanders — who are present at such cabinet meetings — to explain it to them. I wonder if they did.

ALL THIS means that, once started, the results were almost unavoidable. To make an attack without serious Israeli casualties possible, entire neighborhoods had to be flattened by drones, planes and artillery. And that obviously happened.

Inhabitants were often warned to flee, and many did. Others did not, being loath to leave behind everything precious to them. Some people flee in the moment of danger, others hope against hope and stay.

I would ask the reader to imagine himself for a moment in such a situation.

Add to this the human element — the mixture of humane and sadistic men, good and bad, you find in any combat unit all over the world, and you get the picture.

Once you start a war, “stuff happens,” as the man said. There may be more war crimes or less, but there will be a lot.

ALL THIS could have been told to the UN committee of inquiry, headed by an American judge, by the chiefs of the Israeli army, had they been allowed to testify. The government did not allow them.

The convenient way out is to proclaim that all UN officials are by nature anti-Semites and Israel-haters, so that answering their questions is counter-productive.

We are moral. We are right. By nature. We can’t help it. Those who accuse us must be anti-Semites. Simple logic.

To hell with them all!

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gaza-war-crimes

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Gaza

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Jun 27

action-man-battlefield-casualties-ptsed-soldiers-348-body-image-1435067247

War Veterans Made Some Dark Films to Protest the British Army’s Recruitment of Child Soldiers (Vice, June 23, 2015):

Daniel Campbell wakes up drenched in sweat. Every muscle in his body is tense. The dead child, the one he couldn’t save, is back. He creeps to the bathroom. The child is waiting for him. Its bloodied face stares at him accusingly from inside the mirror. He splashes cold water on his forehead and returns wearily to bed.

Daniel Campbell was a child soldier in the British Army. “I wanted to see the world and I wanted to help people,” he says, remembering the day he stepped, aged 16, into Portsmouth’s recruitment centre. And see the world he did: left with severe PTSD after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army abandoned him as if he were a broken toy. Continue reading »

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Jun 27

money-politics

Almost $200 Million Donated to Representatives to Pass TPA (OpEdNews, June 20, 2015):

Many think our government is for sale. However, by taking a look at the facts below provided by the Open Secrets, it is easy to understand where they are coming from. Looking back at Friday the 12th, the House voted on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the controversial bill that gives power to the executive branch to negotiate treaties. TPA limit’s Congress’ ability to better a trade deal by subjecting members of Congress to 90 days of reviewing the trade agreement, prohibiting any amendments on the implementing legislation, and giving them an up or down vote. TPA passed with a mere 219-211 vote with only 218 needed to pass. The real shocker comes from the amount of money each Representative received for a yes vote. In total, $197,869,145 was given to Representatives for a yes vote where as $23,065,231 was given in opposition.

  • John Boehner (R-OH) received $5.3 million for a “yea” vote and was the highest paid legislator.
  • Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) received $2.4 million for his “yea” vote.
  • Paul Ryan (R-WI) received $2.4 million for a “yea” vote and came in at the third highest paid legislator.
  • Pat Tiberi (R-OH) follows Paul Ryan, coming in the fourth spot having received $1.6 million for his “yea” vote.

The fifth highest paid legislator is somewhat of a “hero” in comparison to others. Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) received $1.6 million for a yes vote and only $282,710 for a no vote. Despite of his high contribution from those in favor of TPA, he still voted a solid nay.

We also have other hero stories. Continue reading »

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Jun 27

Better have the Nastoichivy and the Moskva in your convoy!


freedom-flotilla-activists-palestine-gaza

‘Freedom Flotilla’: Activists set sail for Gaza to break Israel blockade  (RT, June 27, 2015):

An international team of activists has set sail for the Gaza Strip, in a bid to break Israel’s sea blockade with four boats. It comes five years after a similar attempt finished in bloodshed.

The so-called “Freedom Flotilla III” departed from various ports in Greece on Saturday. This is the third attempt to break the Palestinian blockade, which has lasted for nine years, according to a news release on the campaign’s official webpage.

“Our strong determination is to get to our destination despite [Netanyahu’s] threats to stop us,” Arab Israeli lawmaker Basel Ghattas wrote on his Facebook page on Friday. Continue reading »

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Jun 27

Obamacare12Obamacare-screws-middle-class

America’s Obamacare Nightmare Is Just Beginning (The National Interest, June 26, 2015):

This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could continue to subsidize health-insurance coverage through Healthcare.gov, the federal exchanges. An ecstatic President Obama declared that Obamacare is “here to stay.”

No, it’s not.

A judicial victory doesn’t automatically translate into a political victory, let alone a policy success. Once they’ve quaffed their celebratory champagne, the president and White House staff will need to suit up and get ready to play some hard-nosed defense. Continue reading »

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Jun 27

The New “Scariest Chart” For American Citizens (ZeroHedge, June 26, 2015):

For the average American citizen, this may well become the “scariest” chart…

US-Death-By-Police

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Jun 27

FYI.


Police suppressed child sex abuse report ahead of 2010 UK election (RT, June 27, 2015):

Britain’s second largest police force suppressed the release of a report detailing how criminal gangs were sexually grooming vulnerable young girls, over fears its findings would spark racial tensions ahead of Britain’s 2010 general election.

West Midlands Police were informed in 2010 that 139 girls – some of whom were only 13 years of age – were at serious risk of exploitation from groups of men. However, the force failed to issue a public alert or appeal for information. Continue reading »

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Jun 27

The U.S. And EU Will Collapse Regardless Of Economic ‘Contagion’ (ZeroHedge, June 24, 2015):

In order to understand what is really going on around the globe in terms of the collapsing economy, we must set aside false mainstream versions of reality. When it comes to the EU and its current fiscal turmoil, it is very important to, in some respects, ignore Greece entirely. That’s right; forget about all the supposed drama surrounding Greek debt obligations. Will they find a way to pay creditors? Will they default? Will they make a deal with Russia and the BRICS? Will there be last-minute concessions to save the system? It doesn’t matter. It’s all a soap opera, an elaborate Kabuki theater run by international financiers and globalists.

It is most important to remember the fundamentals. Greece will default on its debts. Period. There is no way around it. Maybe Greece makes a deal today, maybe it makes a deal tomorrow; but eventually, the country’s ability to stretch out its resources in order to meet its exponential liabilities will end. It is inevitable, and no last-minute “deal” is going to change the math at the core of it all. Continue reading »

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Jun 26

Greece-Alexis-Tsipras

Greece Invokes Nuclear Option: Tsipras Calls For Referendum (ZeroHedge, June 26, 2015):

Update: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras has announced a referendum in a televised speech to the nation after another day of fractious negotiations with creditors closed without a deal.

The dramatic move comes after Athens rejected a proposal from the troika aimed at delivering some €16 billion in aid to Greece as part of an extension of the country’s second bailout program.

  • GREECE’S TSIPRAS SAYS CREDITORS POSED ULTIMATUM TO GOVT
  • GREECE’S TSIPRAS SAYS CREDITORS PROPOSALS ARE AGAINST EU RULES
  • TSIPRAS SAYS CREDITORS AIM TO HUMILIATE GREEK PEOPLE
  • TSIPRAS SAYS WILL CALL REFERENDUM ON GREEK DEAL WITH CREDITORS
  • TSIPRAS GREEK REFERENDUM WILL BE HELD ON JULY 5
  • TSIPRAS SAYS HE NOTIFIED MERKEL, DRAGHI ON REFERENDUM PLAN
  • TSIPRAS SAYS GREECE IS, AND WILL STAY PART OF EUROPE
  • TSIPRAS SAYS GREECE NEEDS TO SEND DEMOCRATIC RESPONSE TO EU

Protothema now says the Greek parliament will meet on Saturday and a referendum will be called as early as next week. Whether this is simply a last minute attempt to put pressure on EU finance ministers ahead of Saturday’s Eurogroup meeting remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Tsipras is playing a dangerous game with the ECB ahead of a difficult week that could very well see the imposition of capital controls. Continue reading »

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Jun 26

Greece

Greece Rejects Bailout Extension: Tsipras “Won’t Be Blackmailed”, Threatens Snap Elections (ZeroHedge, June 26, 2015):

Update: Protothema is reporting that Tsipras has confided in a fellow EU official that if the country’s creditors insist on sticking to pension and VAT red lines and if Friday’s bailout extension proposal (which the Greek government apparently views as a patronizing stopgap) is the troika’s final offer, he is prepared to call for snap elections.

Update: GREECE SAID TO REJECT EU15.5B BAILOUT EXTENSION PROPOSAL: ANA 

“[I will defend] democracy, solidarity, equality, mutual respect. These principles were not based on blackmails and ultimatum, and especially in these crucial times no one has the right to put in danger these principles. The Greek government will continue decisively to give the fight in favor of these principles, to continue to give the fight on behalf of the European people and of course on behalf of the Greek people.”

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Jun 26

If this is considered a ‘meal’, then let’s put Michelle on a diet and give her 3 such meals per day for one year.

Flashback:

Michelle Obama Urges High Schoolers To Monitor Their Families’ Politically Incorrect Thoughts

Michelle Obama’s School Lunches In Pictures: ‘Is That Photo Taken From Death Row?’

Michelle Obama Accused Of Spending $10 Million Of Taxpayers’ Money On Her Vacations

And here are Michelle’s dogs …


Salt “Black Markets” Emerge in Indiana School System as Students Seek to Avoid Bland Michelle Obama Lunches (Liberty Blitzkrieg, June 26, 2015):

Late last year, a very popular meme emerged related to public school students taking pictures of their meager and clearly unhealthy school lunch options and posting them on social media. I covered one example in the post: This is What School Lunch Looks Like in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Here’s a picture:

Michelle Obama Lunch

Not only are the portions criminally small, but apparently they are also so bland that students in an Indiana school district have developed a black market in salt and pepper in order to make the lunch edibles. You gotta hand it to these kids. Well done.

From Reason:

Kids in a school district in Indiana have created a black market in salt packets, which they trade and sell to help mitigate the disgusting taste of the so-called healthy lunches mandated under federal guidelines.

These guidelines were championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Like so many other clumsy government attempts to make people healthier by forbidding the consumption of things they like, the initiative is a costly failure. Continue reading »

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Jun 26

palestinians-submit-evidence-of-war-crimes
A Palestinian girl stands near residential buildings that witnesses said were heavily damaged by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, in Beit Lahiya town in the northern Gaza Strip May 25, 2015. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem)

‘ICC credibility test’: Palestinians submit first war crimes evidence against Israel (RT, June 26, 2015):

The Palestinian Authority has submitted the first evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes committed during the Gaza conflict in 2014 to the International Criminal Court, seeking to accelerate the investigation of these abuses.

After meeting the ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said that he had submitted the dossiers concerning the 2014 Gaza war, as well as Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian land and treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Continue reading »

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Jun 26

ISIS Terrorism Trifecta: Decapitation In France, Mosque Bombing In Kuwait, Mass Killing In Tunisia (ZeroHedge, June 26, 2015):

As the Muslim world reflected during the height of Friday’s Ramadan prayers, ISIS was busy.

First, as we reported earlier, two men drove a car into the entrance of an Air Products factory in southeastern France triggering multiple explosions. A decapitated head covered in Arabic writing was pinned to the factory’s gate.  One suspect is now in custody. Some reports suggest he was carrying an ISIS flag. The French president promptly announced that “the attack bears the hallmarks of a terrorist attack” which means that ISIS will be blamed momentarily.

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A couple of hours later, Isis militants claimed responsibility for a deadly bomb attack during Friday prayers in the al-Imam al-Sadiq mosque in al-Sawaber, Kuwait, killing at least 13 people. Continue reading »

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Jun 26

drone cartoon

New Snowden docs show how US cooperates with allies in drone killings (RT, June 26, 2015):

New Edward Snowden leaks shed light on the details of US drone strikes in places like Yemen and Pakistan and the tracking technologies that helped them. They focus on a strike targeting an Al-Qaeda surgeon that resulted in civilian casualties.

The documents reviewed by the New York Times and the Guardian deal with the March 30, 2012 attack aimed at killing Dr. Khadim Usamah. The GCHQ newsletter, Comet News, described Usamah as a member of the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and “the doctor who the doctor who pioneered using surgically planted explosives.” Continue reading »

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